Not often you met people who are committed to something as Carolina. We met many years ago on the PWA Windsurf World Cup on Sylt during the release of André Paskowskis movie "Below the Surface" - which she produced with him.
I got the chance to get to know Carolina and she always inspired me with her strength, her power and the passion with which she pursues her goals and dreams.
We are very grateful to share her story with you!
© Fish Bowl Diaries
Who was your inspiration staring windsurfing and how did you push yourself becoming such a good rider?
Windsurfing in Peru is and has been a very small sport, having around 50 regular windsurfers in the whole country. When I started windsurfing at age 13, I trained in a sports club and was only competing in formula (racing), and it was not until 6 years later that I discovered wavesailing. There were not and had never been any women wavesailing in Peru, so I had no local reference. I remember watching windsurfing movies for the first time (Minds Wide Open, Four Dimensions, Windsurfing movie 1&2) and discovering this completely new sport. “I want to do that. I want to learn wavesailing and ride a wave in Ho´okipa”. That’s where it all started. I bought a plane ticket for one year later to Maui, and I had never windsurfed in waves before in my life. Fortunately, I am really stubborn, and one year was enough time to get ready. So I would go every single weekend to Pacasmayo (its a 10 hours night bus from Lima): finish university on Friday and go straight to the bus station and arrive Saturday morning, sail for two days non-stop and come back on Sunday and straight to classes on Monday. Some people though I was crazy (like my family, who don’t windsurf!), I just like to think it was pure passion. One way or the other, on year later I was sailing (or running away from) waves in Ho´okipa.
© Walter Wust
You competed in Formula in Peru and in other South American countries. What was your motivation to start competing?
I’ve been really competitive my whole life: it could be sports, board games or studies. Whatever I did, I took it really seriously and wanted to get better. So when I started windsurfing in a local sports club, which was focused on competitive sports and had Formula as its windsurfing discipline, it was natural that I got into competition. Besides the competitive part, which I loved, there was also a really nice group of friends with which Formula, and we had the support of the National Sports Institute to travel and represent Peru in different contests. It was just a really good deal: do what you love, spend time with your friends and travel to amazing places!
What was the most exciting windsurfing adventure you had so far?
Wow, that’s hard to say. Definitely windsurfing has taken me to amazing windsurf spots, have adventures around the world, meet wonderful friends from different countries and more. But I think my biggest windsurf adventure has definitely been doing Below the Surface with André. This is an adventure I treasure deeply in my heart.
© Si Crowther
What are your two favorite spots to windsurf and why? (maybe one in Peru and one somewhere in the world)
Definitely Pacasmayo is my dream sport, endless waves and side-off, light wind. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing spot in my home country, even though it is not as close as where I live as I would like to! And, as classic as it sounds, if I would have to choose another spot around the world would be Ho´okipa. The waves are much more powerful than Pacasmayo, Paracas or other windsurf spots in Peru. The view, temperature and water color makes everything feel magic. And, although its pretty crowded, for me feels amazing to share waves with so many friends, and specially girls.
In one of our last blog post we were happy to talk to Denise and Betty from the Peruvian Windsurf Girls Camps. They mentioned your name and that you were one of the Initiators for growing and building a windsurf girls community in Peru and building Camps. Why did you come up with that idea and what was the motivation and vision behind that?
My best friend (Alexandra Vernal) and me, started the windsurfing girls camps in Peru in 2010. We just wanted to motivate more girls to get out of their comfort zone and try something new! Windsurfing has given us so much - our biggest passion, discipline, the chance to travel around the world- that we wanted to share this with as many people, specially women, as possible. After some time, Ale and me had less time to organize these events, so we are happy that Denisse and Bettina are committed to keep inspiring more women into our amazing sport!
You`ve been travelling a lot and searched waves in many different countries, but also manged to study and work.
How could you make all of that happen? What is your advice to all the windsurfgirls combining work, travelling and windsurfing? I think the most important thing is to do what you love, and have passion as the main driver in your life. Windsurfing has been my biggest passion since I was very young but I also always wanted to do something “more”, something related to my love for nature, and that’s why I decided to study environmental engineering and later work in the conservation of nature. Now, I have the luck to work in a conservation NGO, and coordinate a campaign to legally protect surf breaks in Peru (if you want more information, you can see the latest documentary in our website www.alamar.pe).
You recently became a mum of a boy (all the best and congratulations) and you still try to get on the board as much as possible. What was your experience surfing being pregnant and now to manage to get time on the water?
Becoming a mum has been, by far, the best wave I’ve ever ridden. I was lucky to have a very easy pregnancy, which allowed me to maintain active throughout the +9 months. I windsurfed (flat water only) until I was 7 months and managed to catch some waves in SUP until 2 weeks before giving birth! After giving birth, I had to wait 2 months until being back on the water (which has been the longest I haven’t surfed - before COVID19), but as soon as the doctor gave me green light, we organize a trip to Paracas (3 hours south of Lima) on the first forecast! There were 30 knots, so Kai had to stay with daddy inside the car, while mommy got some waves :) I also had to get out of the water to breastfeed (still in my wetsuit), as he was eating every 2 hours at that time. It is definitely a challenge to try to juggle windsurfing with being a mum and working a full time job, but I think with the right amount of passion, everything is possible.