In our new series of Aloha catch-ups we plan to keep you in touch with the guys and girls that rock the windsurfing world. What do they get up to in the low season, what are their plans for the coming year and can the reveal any insider information on pro-gossip, moves and/or new gear…
First up, the sweet and stylish Yoli de Brendt. One of the female veterans in freestyle windsurfing, de Brendt has always been a strong contender on the PWA World Tour. Sadly for her the 2014 to 2015 season didn’t get off to a great start. With a crippling case of Tennis Elbow kicking in right before the first PWA World Tour event in Bonaire, which then proceeded to worsen heading into the highly anticipated PWA Fuerteventura event, she was unable to compete properly and ended up spending most of the next nine months sitting at her homespot in El Yaque watching the freestylers rotate through ever more radical moves.
With this in the past the winter of 2015 through to 2016 could only get better. Back home, back to El Yaque Beach and the wind has already been howling, pretty rare for October. After sailing many years at the main spots of El Yaque, Yoli decided to go for a little change and make more use of the downwind beaches of El Manglillo and Punta Carnero, where you sail completely free, without any boats or kiters bothering you. The wind is even more consistent and there are a few scattered ramps for some more airtime. Competitions were over and for 2016 there is only one contest scheduled, that meant time for lots of freesailing, much less pressure and a chance to get a bit more into wavesailing. People in El Yaque started to wonder what had happened to the curly blond local freestyle lady, meanwhile she was having the time of her life just a few kilometers downwind. Months later, in February, Yoli rigged her Fanatic Skate and North Idol Ltd, for the first time this season, at the main beach of El Yaque for some freestyle practise again. Since then she’s been seen out there much more frequently, enjoying her main discipline, but still with less pressure than in previous years.
How has your winter been so far?
My winter has been very nice, I always enjoy being back home, with my family, my dog, sleeping in my own bed after travelling for many months during the summertime. When I arrived back home it was already very very windy, it was great to be on the water, enjoy my windsurfing, do what I love to do and spend a lot of time at different spots. I tried some more jumps, which made it even more exciting. The rest of my time I spent with some beautiful yoga moments and mountain biking on the really nice trails we have around our island with my dog. I cannot really complain about my winter so far. The only tough time was after Christmas when I got infected with the Zika Virus and suffered from an eye infection that made me stay home for almost six weeks, I was not allowed to go into the sun, to the beach and even less onto the water, it reminded me a lot of some depressing times last year when I couldn’t sail for many months.
Have you been busy working on any new moves?
So far I have not been practising a lot on new tricks to be honest, the wind was very strong and I really love that and love to do my moves in strong winds, so I just enjoyed myself a bit too much, but now I am back practising some more konos, switch and regular stance moves.
Which gear were you on mostly?
I am pretty much always using my Fanatic Skate TE 94 and the North Sails IDOL Ltd. 4.0, sometimes 4.4, and could have used much smaller on many days as well.
Are you following the other ladies, their moves, stories, travels?
Yes, of course, as there is so much in the social media and it is always nice to see how much women’s freestyle has progressed and this can only be good for all of us
What do you think about the 2016 season?
So far there is only the Fuerteventura event on the calendar, so my main focus will be on our Windsurf Clinics with Windsurflabor.de, which we started more than ten years ago in cooperation with our sponsors Fanatic, North Sails and ION. Our Schedule is growing, we do have more and more clinics and we just love to teach and see windsurfers progress and get more fun windsurfing.
We look forward to seeing Yoli in Fuerteventura. You can follow her on Facebook here.
Stay tuned for our next Check-in, rumour has it Gollito Estredo will be under the spotlight.
Photos by Tom de Brendt