Brouwersdam's Freestyle Queens: Meet Maaike Houverman and Sterre Meijer

These two dutchies share not only the same homespot but also their passion for freestyle sailing. One is 23 the other is 15 years old, but on the water both are ripping. We wanted to know more about them and also how they are able to relate to each other.

@Maaike you’ve been stepping up the female freestyle game big time in the last few years and are the only person to have beaten Sarah Quita in a heat for 10 years! With Sarah being such a strong competitor what do you focus on in the competition to give you an edge? Are you also training with Sarah sometimes?

Something that really helps me is that I don’t feel any pressure when I’m competing. Of course, I want to land my moves, but it’s not that I have been training all year just for that 10 min. Every minute I’m spending on the water sailing is a gain for me and I want to enjoy it as much as possible. And when the buzzer goes, I also have a really strong desire to win, so I think that combined with me just being very relaxed helps me to land my moves.

SQ and I don’t train together often, probably because there is an ocean between me and the Caribbean, but when we do I always have so much fun! I was going to go to Aruba in April to have a few sick weeks of training there with SQ and Oda, but it got canceled.

@Sterre, we noticed there is a new girl on the Brouwersdam Block who’s doing synchronized moves with Maaike!!! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Sterre from Holland and I’m 15 years old. I’ve been windsurfing since I was really young.

I started when I got my swimming diploma. My home spot is Brouwersdam, I learned to windsurf here with my brother Tijmen.

My heroes are especially Maaike and Sarah-Quita. Maaike and I are surfing together a lot and I want to be as good as she is.

I’m still going to school and in my 3rd year of A-levels and still have 3 years to go in high-school.

When it’s not windy I also really like do skateboarding, surfing and inline skating. Last 2 years I have been working at the Surf Centre Brouwersdam in the shop and taught the little ones the beginning of windsurfing. In the last few years, I have learned to do Vulcans, Spocks and grubby’s

I’ve competed in the EFPT in Brouwersdam for three years in a row. I had a lot of fun and it was really nice to see so many other girls doing freestyle. This year I was 5th in the woman freestyle EFPT, 2nd in the girls and I won the Dutch Nationals. These competitions motivated me to learn and compete more.

@Sterre Does it feel different when training with your brother then when training with Maaike?

Yes, it is a little bit different. I see my brother all the time when I’m at home. When I’m sailing with Maaike, we have some breaks to chat. Also now because of Corona, the only moment when we can talk to each other is on the water. I also want to show Maaike some of the progress I made when we sail together.

@Maaike do you see your own past in Sterre? Are you just sailing having fun together or do you also try and coach her a little bit when possible? What kind of advice are you giving her?

Yeah, definitely. I’ve known Sterre for years now and seeing her go from planning and jumping around to doing all these freestyle tricks in crazy conditions reminds me of myself. It’s also been amazing to share the sessions with another girl that shares this passion, so whenever I can I try to help her with her moves. This past winter there were a few sessions in which it was too windy to do regular sliding moves, so I tried coming up with other moves that are easier in high-wind conditions. For example, shove-its are great to start when it’s howling and you can’t do anything else!

@Sterre what have you learned from sailing with Maaike that you could share that would maybe be useful for our other MyWindstories readers?

That I just need to go for it, even if it’s a little bit scary or I’m not sure. That whatever the conditions, you can still have fun.

@Maaike you are currently at University. What are you studying? How do you imagine your life after studying? Will you go into windsurfing full time or are you planning an alternative Career?

I’m studying Business Administration and Psychology at the VU in Amsterdam. I still have about 2-3 years to go to finish both bachelors and I might also want to do a master after that. I haven’t really given my life after studying too much thought, but I definitely want to have a career on the side. There are so many interesting things to work on/learn about, so having a career on the side sort of gives me an extra challenge.

@Sterre what are your windsurfing ambitions?

To compete in the PWA and to travel. But also to be able to sail in all kinds of different conditions, big waves and strong wind. And learn as many tricks as I can.

@Maaike we saw you launch yourself into wave competitions as well as freestyle for the last couple of years. Do you plan to get deeper into wave sailing and perhaps follow Sarah Quita’s path?

Maybe! I really like the waves, it’s a nice challenge and a very different feeling. But because of uni and the conditions, I don’t really get the opportunity to train for both wave and freestyle in Holland. And whenever it is windy, I always gravitate towards freestyle. So for now I will stick with freestyle as my main thing.

@Sterre which moves are you practicing at the moment and whats your windsurf advice for girls who want to get more into windsurfing?

I’m practicing clew-first spock, flaka, eslider and shove-it’s. My advice that whatever the weather, just go for it. Believe in yourself and don’t let other people talk you down.

@Maaike what is your favourite windsurfing memory? And what's your best windsurf advice for our MyWindstories readers?

Picking one memory is really tough! But if I need to pick, doing my first solo trip to Bonaire has got to be one of my top memories. It made me feel really badass that I was traveling by myself to go to my dream windsurfing location and then made it to the podium for the first place.

Especially because of the recent events, it’s made me realize that there are some things I was taking for granted. So, my advice would be to enjoy every hour you get on the water.

Click here to find out more about Maaike

Or follow her on Instagram @maaikehuvermann

187 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All