Trying to “make it” as a Girl Windsurfer

I love Young athletes. So inspiring. I don’t remember being that focused when I was 19. Whenever I check Ashley’s Facebook, Instagram or YouTube she is windsurfing all the time.
Not easy to do when you are a teenager.

I love Young athletes. So inspiring. I don’t remember being that focused when I was 19. Whenever I check Ashley’s Facebook, Instagram or YouTube she is windsurfing all the time.

Not easy to do when you are a teenager.

How did windsurfing start for you?

My name is Ashley Veenstra, I am nineteen years old and live in The Netherlands. 

I was 12 years old when I began windsurfing. My dad is a windsurfer and he taught me and my sister how to do it. I also had some lessons from Jordy Vonk. I did my first competition in 2014 and won. I really enjoyed it so from then on, I wanted to do more competitions. For a limited time, I trained at RTC (“regional trainings centrum”), but because of the distance it wasn’t possible anymore, so I have to train by myself. 

The spots where I windsurf the most are: 

  • Makkum 
  • Lauwersmeer and 
  • Eeltjemeer

Are you a pro rider?

I am not a pro rider (not yet hahaha) in the future I want to compete in the PWA or improve my foil skills and compete in the IQFOIL class.

Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra

Do you have sponsors?

Yes I have, I am very happy to have some sponsors. 

My sponsors are: 

It’s a very expensive sport so all the support is very nice, without the sponsors it isn’t possible to compete. So, I am very grateful to have them.

You are very young so I take it you are still in school? Tell me a little bit about that.

I have finished my school this year, I did a sports education, now I have a “gap year”. This year I want to work a lot to save some money for the competitions and for new stuff. I also want to train more. After this year I want to continue with my education. I think something to help me become a personal coach.  

Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra

On FB I see you are windsurfing “all the time” - how does that work with the rest of your land life?

I work a lot, when I am free and there is wind, I go for a good windsurf session. I now have a driver license so I can drive to the water by myself when I want to. This week I bought a new car so I can drive with our surf trailer. From now on I can go to the water whenever it is windy. 

Do you have a coach?

Unfortunately, I do not have a coach. I would love to join the national team to have a coach. But then you need the lQFOIL set, and I don’t have enough money to buy that set. So, I must improve my skills first.

Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra

Do you also train on land, specifically for windsurfing - running, gymnastics, etc.?

I train a lot on land.

I go 5 times a week to the gym to become stronger and fit. I also sometimes do soccer, mountain biking and golf surfing.

Any other “wild” Hobbies and Interests?

I have a hobby which I share with my dad, ICESURFING. It’s so cool to do, we made an icesurf together with my dad and we bought one so we can do it together. It’s a weird feeling surfing on ice. It goes really fast, and you can jibe and tack easily. In The Netherlands you must be lucky to have some ice to skate on but when it’s freezing enough we love to go for a session. 

Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra
Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra

What are your windsurfing plans for the future?

My plans are to train a lot. I want to compete in the IQFOIL class or/and the PWA.

I want to train a lot on my starts, jibes and foil skills. I want to improve my speed. It would be amazing to go one day to Luderitz for the Luderitz speed challenge

Describe your major highlights and achievements in the sport in the past.

  • In 2015 I won again in the kids category by realtrip in Makkum. 
  • In 2016 I won again at the category kids and I became 3th at the GPS speed challenge in Makkum in the category womens and youth. 
  • In 2017 I became 3th at the GPS speed challenge in the category womens and I became 3th at the dam-x. 
  • In 2018 I became first at the realtrip this is a longdistance race where you surf 4 kilometers make a jibe and surf 4 kilometers back this was my first time doing his long distance competition with 250 competitors and I finished 70 overall. I had this year an injury on my feet so couldn’t/t surf a lot, I did a competition the dam-x and finished second. I could walk 1 day before the races, I decided to try, and I did good. With over twenty competitors, I pushed myself really hard and became second. I did my first national championship and became 6th. 
  • In 2019 I did more competitions and get more prizes:
    • Regiocup Noord dames 3th place
    • Dam-x 15/18 jaar 3th place 
    • Netherlands championships 5th
    • The realtrip long-distance 2th 
    • Regiocup north 1th ladies 
    • Regiocup north 3th youth
    • Regiocup south 3th ladies 
    • Gps speedchallenge women 2th 
    • Gps speedchallenge youth 3th place 

In 2019 I did my first world championship, unfortunately the whole week there was no wind. I bought a foil in 2019, and did 2 competitions. I want to improve my foil skills. It would be cool to compete in the IQfoil class but it’s very expensive…

And ever since the “Corona situation” there were unfortunately not much competitions.

Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra

What does your daily windsurfing routine look like?

I wake up, make some breakfast, pack my car, drive to the spot, rig my gear and it’s surfing time!! 

Do you have some favorite pro windsurfers that you look up to? Why?

Sarah Quita, because she can compete in all the disciplines.

Do you also windsurf on a foil? If yes,... how do you like that and how does that compare to windsurfing on a regular windsurfing board?

Yes I have a foil, you need more balance with foiling. I really enjoy the feeling that you fly above the water. No sounds, only you flying. 

What about Wind Wing? Have you tryed it? Do you like it and how does that (for you) comapre to Windsurfing?

No, I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe in the future. It’s not something I really want to do. It looks fun but not a daily thing for me.

Do you also teach windsurfing?

Yes I do, I teach windsurfing in the summer, and I also give sail lessons! 

Photo courtesy: Ashley Veenstra

Any last words for people that love the wind and wind sports?

When it’s windy, enjoy the day, you don’t know when it’s going to be windy again! 

Do you have social media ?

Yes I am trying hard to get a lot of followers on my social media! I really enjoy making videos with my gopro while surfing. My parents take a lot of pictures of me and I post this all on my facebook/Instagram and youtube. 

If you want to follow me on my windsurf journey you can follow me!

By Matjaž Hrovat

Hi, I’m Matjaž. I love windsurfing. I also love to design and make fun things. I wanted to do more windsurfing but I ran out of time for whole day trips to the sea. Every time it’s windy I get butterflies in my belly. I just had to figure out something. If I only have an hour an a half… how can I do some windsurfing? So the Urban Breez was born...

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