Photo by Alan van Gysen
Is it just me or do all Windsurfers look good? 😉
Greta Marchegger happens to be a pro windsurfer but also a model. I saw her windsurfing photos mixed with modeling photos and thought this would be a great story. Here it is…
How did windsurfing start for you?
Windsurfing has been part of my life since day 1. My dad is a former athlete and let’s say that I was born in this crazy windsurfing circus and the whole lifestyle with it. Lucky me, I grew up between the most beautiful beaches of this world and my homespot Lake Garda.
When I was 8 years old I stepped on the board myself, started competing when I was 11 years old and did that for 10/13 years. Nowadays I switched my focus from competing to working in the windsurfing industry. My dad does the distribution for JP and NeilPryde in Italy and I’ve been working with him, for almost 3 years. I’ve been working as Marketing Assistant in the NeilPryde office in Barcelona and recently I got an upgrade as International Marketing Manager for NeilPryde and JP. Furthermore I’m also part of the directive member board of the Circolo Surf Torbole in Lake Garda. Hence, it’s all about windsurfing in my professional and private life.
Are you a pro rider? Tell me more about that.
I have been competing for many many years, got sponsored and got several opportunities such as photoshootings, trips etc. thanks to it. So yes, but I have never made a living from windsurfing alone but always studied and worked on the side. We all know how hard that is, (especially as a Women). I am still a rider – but nowadays I actually am a professional in the windsurfing industry.
Do you have sponsors?
My sponsors have been NeilPryde and JP. Well, they actually still are but in a different way nowadays. Obviously I’m riding those brands.
Do you have a “regular” job? I see you are one of the models for an Italian agency DI MODELS. Tell me about that.
As already mentioned I recently got an upgrade as International Marketing Manager of JP & NeilPryde. A position I’ve been working hard for during the last years. I also have a Master degree in Marketing and Sales and I’ve been actually always working on the side. Last year I got the chance to join a professional model agency Di Models, so every now and then I also do some photoshoots, hostess – and speaking jobs during windsurfing competitions. I really love it as it’s so much fun and you get the chance to meet interesting people.
Do you have a family,... you know, husband, kids...?
No, I don’t. Or let’s say not yet haha :D. I’m single, no kids, no husband, no family on my own. But I have amazing parents, friends and people in my life. I’m a very romantic person, so if possible I would definitely like to get the full package one day: marriage, kids, etc. But atm I’m focused on my work and other things.
I see you are windsurfing “all the time” – how does that work with the rest of your land life?
I’m trying to spend as much time as possible on the water. Especially when I’m back home in Garda I windsurf actually every day. Since my upgrade as Int. Marketing Manager of NeilPryde & JP I’m also partly based in Munich to be close to the headquarter – therefore it’s not that easy anymore. People always think that if you’re working in the windsurfing industry you’re on the water every day, whole day long – but the reality is it’s not always like that. During the winter months I usually travel to warm places to be able to windsurf as much as possible. In the end, as everything in life it’s all about finding the right balance and making time for the things which are important to you.
I can hear in your interviews that you are German speaking,.. but you have "Italian windsurfing number" ITA193. Tell me about that.
I am fully Italian but grew up in the most northern region in Italy which due to historical reasons has an autonomy status (a bit like Catalunya and Elsaß) and therefore I grew up bilingual with German and Italian. The German language is still present in this region called “Trentino – Alto Adige” and I believe that is the biggest luck I had in my life to grow up with such two different languages.
So yes obviously I have an Italian sail number as I’m fully Italian
(Besides German, Italian and English I also speak Spanish and French fluently.)
Do you have a coach?
In our Windsurfing Club the Circolo Surf Torbole we have a coach who is doing training sessions and for example starting procedures for us. When I’m home in Garda I’m always joining these training sessions. But I don’t have a coach as the athletes have in the Olympic class for example. In Slalom / Slalom Foil the training system and the training itself is way different and most of the time you train on your own or with other athletes.
Do you also train on land,.. specifically for windsurfing - running, gymnastics, etc.?
Yes, I’m obviously also training off the water. I’m trying to hit the gym 3-4 a week and combine strength and endurance as best as I can. Obviously with the focus on important windsurfing body parts as the back, legs, core etc. My workouts need to be as fast, intense, interactive and variable as possible otherwise I get bored very quickly at the gym. That’s why for example I really like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Tabata etc. But I still prefer any kind of sport activity outdoors such as hiking, SUP etc.
Any other “wild” Hobbies and Interests?
I definitely have a lot of interests – nothing too wild tough I would say 😀
Besides all kinds of watersports such as surfing, SUP etc., I really love traveling, longboarding, photography, hiking and dancing. In general I would say that I love to spend as much time as possible outdoors and I would consider myself a very active person. However, I also like very much classical girls things, such as shopping for example. Besides, I like to enjoy the little things in life, such as having a good coffee in a nice café or a glass of wine in good company. Cause in the end life is all about that – appreciating the beauty in the little things in life and enjoying these to the fullest.
What are your windsurfing plans for the future?
I’m very lucky and grateful to be able to combine my job with my passion. Because if you love what you’re doing you will never work one day in your life – quote by my dad who has been working in the windsurfing industry for 40 years. My real life goal is to be able to continue exactly this: to combine windsurfing in my daily life as my passion, my job and my lifestyle. And obviously to be able to spend as much time as possible on the water besides the office hours. 😀 Furthermore there are still many windsurfing spots who are definitely on my bucket list to travel to.
Describe your major highlights and achievements in the sport in the past.!!!!
Some highlights are definitely that I won several times the title of Italian female Slalom Champion and Female Vice European Champion Youth Slalom. There are also some other big competitions which results I’m very happy with like for example winning the Womens division during the infamous One Hour Classic, as it’s a very tough competition and first of all a challenge with yourself. But also taking part in the Defi Winds several times has always been a huge highlight just as the HIHO in the Carribean. In the end every windsurfer wants to be the best windsurfer he can be regardless of the actual results.
What does your daily windsurfing routine look like?
My home routine looks like this: Usually I train with the afternoon Ora wind in Lake Garda. Depending on the conditions sometimes also windsurf in the morning with Peler, the wind coming from the North side. Usually in the morning I work, hit the gym or go for a SUP session. Later I go to the Circolo, get my gear ready, have lunch and as soon as the wind kicks in and is stabilized we go on the Water. Usually it’s a mix between training by myself and some starts or sessions organized by our coach. The afternoons on the water pass usually too quickly. Afterwards I stretch, work again and then I would say that it’s time for a sundowner aperitivo and dinner. That’s basically it – my “home” windsurfing routine.
Do you have some favorite pro windsurfers that you look up to? Why?
Thanks to windsurfing I have met so many incredible and inspiring people around the world. It’s hard to name only one because there are many amazing personalities who are all inspiring me in their own kind of way: in windsurfing but also as a person. One name I would mention over and over again is definitely my friend Sarah Quita – as I believe she’s such a powerful woman, a role model on and off the water. Besides being super humble, she is intelligent and simply an amazing human being.
I see you also windsurf on a foil? How do you like that and how does that compare to windsurfing on a regular windsurfing board?
My main discipline is and has always been Slalom. I still believe that nothing beats a full power windy Slalom session with your friends. It’s just so much fun and so much adrenaline. But I really like Foiling and the fact that you can fly around with so little wind. That is definitely a benefit of Foiling compared to windsurfing on a regular board. I like the sensation of flying high above the water which Foiling offers and the angles you can reach. It’s simply an ideal discipline for European lake spots and there is no longer waiting around at the beach for the wind to be enough. Moreover it is crazy how exhausting one hour of full power Slalom is and how “fresh” you feel after one hour of foiling compared to it. I think they are just two different disciplines with their own advantages and disadvantages. But I definitely love both of them.
What about Wind Wing? Have you tried it? Do you like it and how does that compare to Windsurfing?
Yes, I started winging last summer and have to admit that I like it more than I expected to be honest. I have been very skeptical in the beginning but I was curious obviously and had to give it a try. Besides, you cannot work in the industry and not know the discipline or gear you’re actually selling. 😀
I still need to learn and improve a lot but I definitely like it and it’s a different, additional sensation compared to windsurfing. But for me personally it will never ever replace windsurfing.
Do you also teach windsurfing?
I’ve been teaching and coaching kids from the age 8-15 years at my Windsurfing Club, the Circolo Surf Torbole in Lake Garda for one season and I honestly loved it. Because teaching someone your passion is simply wonderful. And seeing how kids are improving step by step and falling in love with your passion made me really happy. In general I love kids and working with them but unfortunately I simply don’t have the time to do it anymore.
Any last words for people that love the wind and wind sports?
First of all, thanks to all the lovely people who took their time to read this interview all the way through. I appreciate it very much. I would definitely say: Keep sharing the passion. Do what makes you happy and do it a lot – and it doesn’t matter which kind of watersport it is in the end as long as it makes you happy. And BTW, don’t forget to “hit me up” for a session if you’re in Garda!