How did you start windsurfing?
Actually I started with kite, but after exercising few times on the beach, somehow it didn`t seem exciting for me. In summer 2005 there was the opportunity to by super old windsurfing board and even older sail. Meanwhile I saw old Robby Naish movie and realized that there is something to strive for.
I wasn`t informed about possibilities to get windsurfing instructor or rent equipment, so first day was pretty tough. Three together we tried to understand basics of windsurfing that was more swimming than surfing.
Real windsurfing for me started in winter, when I bough T2 hi-board and in few days I finally got the right feeling of windsurfing and what it`s all about. Everything I learned in winter helped me a lot next summer, when I even started to participate in competitions. Rapid development of skills was following however I understood that races are not too exciting for me. Also I found out my favorite disciplines – wave riding in summer and freestyle on ice.
What was the most catching aspect of windsurfing in the beginning?
I was excited about level of complexity. Windsurfing is not like bicycle – take it and ride. If you want to do it, you have to spend many hours of practicing. Windsurfing is easier in winter – technically and also physically. But the most I like, that I can “block my ears” with great music from iPod and enjoy surfing in winter.
When winter is over, I added wheels to my board and all free and windy moments I was riding in aerodrome or not busy parking places.
Do you have any sponsors for your equipment?
As we are talking about winter windsurfing, I would like to mention Hiberna as sponsors and partners. But The Loft is ensuring me sails for good price already for second year. In summer I`m surfing with RRD boards that are available in Surfpro shop in Latvia, who is also taking care of outwear of mine.
Tell us how did you become an instructor?
Instructor job in more serious level started last summer, but some years before and still I have been participating in organizing Surf seminar in Latvia. I found out that I have great feeling of satisfaction, when I`m teaching someone, so I started teaching also in winter.
What do you think of safety aspects of winter windsurfing?
Winter windsurfing – fast and sometimes painful falls. In the beginning it sounds frightening, but I think it`s only psychologically. In comparison with summer windsurfing winter windsurfing is easier – you are on the flat surface, standing position is more stable, so many falls are excluded immediately. Also any kind of protection gear – knee, elbow, helmet, back etc. – is very useful. I have seen winter windsurfers even in ice hockey clothing. I always use combined knee and shin protector and helmet. If you have any protectors you can easier fall on these places without stress of getting trauma. Keep in mind that harness also works as protector of lower part of back. Also remember that some of falls you don`t feel hard, as mostly you are only sliding on the ice.
You should become much more careful, when ice is covered by snow, when there are some small drifts of snow. If you have higher speed, it can stop you very fast or in the worst case – “catapult rider”. That is why I would suggest to go around drift of snow or to bend backwards on the board.
Finally – check out strength of the ice before going on any of frozen watercourse.
What should be kept in mind for any beginner?
First of all safety aspects mentioned in previous question. Then I would suggest find instructor, who will teach basics of winter windsurfing in few hours. You shouldn`t also worry about physical condition, age or risk. Winter windsurfing is easy to learn for everyone, who is willing to do active sports in winter.
Tell us any funny story about winter windsurfing?
Well, there has been one funny conversation with ice fisherman two years ago in the end of season. I went to Kisezers in Riga, Latvia to ride for a while, but ice seemed too thin. However I wasn`t giving up, because there were many ice fisherman on the lake. I went to the closest fisherman and asked him opinion about ice conditions. He gave me wonderful answer – yeah it seems that ice is not strong enough for winter windsurfing, but don`t look at us, we will later come here with skis J.
How do you see development of winter windsurfing recently?
I would like to point out Latvia, country, where I`m from. Despite of not very good weather conditions for winter windsurfing, there are people who are really into it. Especially Hiberna is showing outstanding contribution to winter windsurfing industry this year trying to promote winter windsurfing as a sport in Europe and worldwide, also ensuring option to buy stylish and technically high quality hi-boards finally. I suppose it’s a milestone for winter windsurfing development to become popular hobby in winter and serious sport with different disciplines. I`m waiting for freestyle competitions on ice!
If you need advice of instructor contact Dagnis Bricis LAT 129 firstname.lastname@example.org and check out his stories about summer and winter windsurfing in dagnisb.blogspot.com.