The women’s freestyle scene across the UK is growing, we are seeing more women competing and a higher level in heats too. The likes of Jo Wright, Lara Johnston, Emily Hall and Julia Slack are rising through the ranks, but it is PWA competitor Danielle Lucas that took the title in 2012.
Name: Danielle Lucas
Sail number: K825
Years competing: 18 months
Best previous results: PWA 7th place overall 2012
Title you have won this year: UK Freestyle Ladies 1st, PWA Freestyle 7th
Why and when did you first start competing? And how did you get involved with competition?
I actually helped host two events in Egypt, entering those and also the Dahab festival in 2011. Then in 2011 I was travelling to Fuerteventura with my partner, Phil Richards, who was to enter the mens PWA Freestyle, and as my sailing standard was good enough I decided to enter the ladies event. I really enjoyed the event, and hoped to do the whole PWA World Tour for 2012, but unfortunately all but one ladies event were cancelled this year, so once again I only got to compete in Fuerteventura, which is a shame as I feel I would have had really improved on my results at the other spots!
As a kid did you dream of becoming a champion?
I didn’t start windsurfing until I was almost 21, and when I did I never imagined getting to where I am now!
Did you love competition straight away? What has helped you progress from learning how to compete to winning a title?
I loved organising the events in Egypt, but to be honest I found Fuerteventura really hard. It’s a very difficult sailing area and super windy, 3.3 is too big most days, so training is hard. The competition was great though as the other ladies all supported me and at the end of the day you can only do your best!
This year was much better as I knew what to expect, had a better understanding of judging and how to try to plan my heats. The UK competition has been harder as there are not enough girls, although sailing with the boys is great and good to push me.
What equipment have you used on the UK tour this year?
Severne S1 sails 3.7-5.0, Severne Blade 3.3 for mega windy days, and F2 Rodeo 90 litre with 16.5 B72 Choco fin.
Why do you use this equipment?
The board is amazing, super fast and rotates so fast I landed new moves straight away when I got it as I had no choice but to rotate! 90 litres can be big for me in strong wind but I am lazy so it works for me most of the time, 80 litres would be ideal though at times!
The sails, I have used Severne for three years now, they are super light, but powerful, and easy to handle.
The fin makes a massive difference too, when I first got a decent fin I didn’t know if I would notice it, but immediately I could feel it was faster, I experienced so much less spin out and it just felt so good!
Who else would you recommend a set up like this?
Everyone! Especially ladies and smaller people for the lightweight sails! The fins are amazing and make a big difference, and the boards is sweet for getting extra rotation and speed!
How and where have you trained for the series this year?
This year, we have been working loads in the UK having relocated our business, Getwindsurfing, to the UK, so training has been hard. I had three weeks in Egypt before the Fuerte competition, but the wind wasn’t so great sadly. Other practice has mostly been in Eastbourne, which is not flat at all, but a great way to improve.
Have you just trained on the water, or what do you do off the water too?
Other than windsurfing, I am trying to get more into running and also I do loads of SUPing. I really feel the difference if I don’t get regular exercise and variation of exercise too. Also, it’s vital that I eat a good diet and adapt it for when I am sailing, as well as keeping myself hydrated, which is vital too. It makes a huge difference to my energy levels when I am out windsurfing.
What are your plans for winter? Sailing here in the UK? Or heading abroad anywhere?
I wish we were going to Cape Town to train but sadly we can’t go this year (unless we win the lotto!) but we plan to do coaching and training in the UK as much as possible, as well as really promoting next year and expanding our coaching sessions both in the UK and abroad.
What are your aims for competitions in 2013? UK and international events?
I am really not sure for 2013, as I am working hard to push our business forward even more in the UK market and expand our teaching locations abroad so we’ll have to wait and see whether I can take the time to train and compete or not! I will definitely try to be around the UK tour, I would really like to enter the BWA next year as I am loving getting into the waves too!