Boardseeker catches up with the AWT tour manager, Sam Bittner, to find out more about her European adventures and what she has in store for the AWT this year...
Occupation: Director of American Windsurfing Tour
Country of residence: USA
You've just come across to Europe for Defi Wind, how was it and what made you decide to enter?
The Defi Wind was an experience of a lifetime! I heard about and ready about the event in mags over the past years and was always intrigued to see so many people on the water at one time. Now that I organise events myself, I wanted to see what it took to get that many windsurfers organised for one event all together! When I booked my flight to go, I wasnt really sure I would race myself, I just wanted to be there and experience it. Lucky for me, fellow Naish teammate, Sarah Herbert offered me a kit and I was able to participate as well!
What was the atmosphere like? Was it scary/exciting/amazing windsurfing with so many others?
You would have to use all those words to describe the Defi Wind. It was scary, exciting and amazing to be a part of 800 windsurfers in the same race. I was incredibly challenged to finish the race in 40 knots of wind. Normally I wouldn't even go out in that much wind, but instead I went 40 km in 40 knots with 805 windsurfers. People were crashing and some were giving up and being rescued by the safety boats. I am happy to report that I finished every race that I started! Happy to have been apart of the event and looking forward to going back for sure!!
Where are you heading next?
I just got into Ireland last night and will cruise the west coast with the spectacular Katie McAnena this week before heading to Wales and back to Ireland for the BWA events.
Why are you competing in the BWA tour this year?
I have a lot of friends to do the BWA events. I was inspired from their stories of how the events are run with "family style". When I organised the AWT I wanted it to have the same feeling for everyone to be welcome. Now, I actually get to attend and see for myself what everyone is talking about.
What are you expecting from the events? And what are you looking forward too?
I am looking forward to sailing in new places and meeting the organisers. I am also looking forward to helping out at an event that I am not in charge of! Loads of people help me a lot on the AWT and now I want to give back some helping hands to another tour.
You have a packed AWT tour this year...what events are you most looking forward to and why?
Shoot. That is really like asking me what child I like best! They are all my favorite or I wouldn't organise them. But they are all special for their own reasons. First up is Santa Cruz and I am happy to announce that I have pulled together $6500 for prize money! Everyone is welcome! Email me if you would like tips on traveling to any of the AWT events!
What sailors will be the ones to watch out for?
Sam Bittner! Haha, just joking. That is another hard question because I love all the riders and they are all working so hard and improving like crazy along the way. Fiona Wylde just spent 2 months on Maui training for AWT so for sure the girls are going to have to watch out for her! On the men's side, Levi Siver won 3 events in a row last year but Bernd Roediger is the up and coming youth on the pro side, so keep your eye on him too!
Do you know who from the AWT is also heading to the PWA? Who do you think could and should cause a stir on the tour?
I was just with Antoine Martin at the Defi who is doing the PWA this year. He has been training hard in Maui this winter and is an incredible sailor. Not sure what Marcilio Browne's plans are this year but he is an incredible athlete and has potential to take home the gold on the AWT and PWA in my opinion :)
Head on over to our sister site Boards.co.uk for heat by heat coverage of the BWA events, starting this Friday the 18th May. Here on Boardseeker we will have a brand new podcast or two from the events courtesy of Alfie Hart too.