Hello Nimet, you’ve been competing on the PWA slalom world tour for some years now but you are also working freelance as a Data Scientist and have a Master in Mathematics/ Physics. How do you manage to combine competing, training with your career as a Scientist?
Working remotely, of course, makes my life much easier. I can work from everywhere which means I can travel during the year. Of course, combining these two is not as easy as it seems. I am very systematic and plan everything. I am dividing my workload smartly and in my free time, I am enjoying windsurfing.
In the world of mathematics and the world of windsurfing women are still a minority, how do they compare to each other in this aspect?
Definitely! Unfortunately also in science women are not the priority, there is more men scientist than women same as in windsurfing.
I think the windsurf - and science world are the same. As a woman doing a career both paths require a lot of sacrifices, dedication, and hard work. As a woman during your journey sometimes you don’t have a lot of support so sometimes your priorities become something else. As a result, unfortunately, both these worlds are populated by only a few women.
You used to swim in Turkey's national team before starting to windsurf. Were you able to transfer the skills you learned from swimming competitively onto your windsurfing?
Competing in swimming is different than competing in windsurfing. In swimming you are alone, you just need to put all your effort to perform best and that’s enough. However in slalom, you don’t race alone, you are with a group and there are so many variables that you cannot control. Even if you perform your best most of the time it is not enough. From a training perspective, my past as an athlete thought me a lot about how to train, recover and so on. I am able to apply this knowledge I gained from swimming and I see how it helps me during my windsurf competitions.
What made you want to take windsurfing from just for fun to the next level of competing nationally and then on the PWA world cup? How did you manage to do it? Do you have some tips for girls who want to take the next step but don’t know where to start and are perhaps also intimidated by the financial aspect of slalom windsurfing?
I was lucky because my home spot is Alacatı. Almost every Turkish competitor trains here and we used to host a PWA event every year as well. So I guess we can say I was in the right place at the right time. I joined my first PWA in Alacatı and from there and that gave me the confidence to also start going to other places.
The financial aspect is difficult as it is hard to get support when you're a girl, I tried for a long time to make money from windsurfing but didn't succeed. On the upside as slalom girls, we have a very good community. The ability to train with each other is a great way to progress a lot. My advice would be to find ways to join the community and all of us will show you the right path of how to do it. The best way to improve is to get involved and learn with other girls. I think the MyWindstories webpage has great potential to reach a lot of girls around the world and connect everyone.
What do you like most about windsurfing?
I love nature. I believe that windsurfing makes you feel and understand nature.
What is the hardest part for you and how do you deal with it?
Unfortunately, there are many spendings; every year you need to change the gear, you need to travel for training and for the competitions. All of them require money. Organizing yourself financially is not easy. But over time you learn how to manage and prioritise in a way that will allow you to do what you love.
Anything you want to add?
Thank you for the interview . I think MyWindstories is a great opportunity for all of us girls to connect with each other and to grow our community.
You can follow Nimet on Instagram @nimettulu .