Aruba's Queen of the Waves-Sarah-Quita Offringa

Though Aruba has become well known for great windsurfing, not many people know that the island also has a trailblazing figure in the sport well worth noting who has been quietly killing it in the windsurfing world for over a decade! Her name is Sarah-Quita Offringa, and she’s well known on island, and a famous figure in windsurfing circles. She currently holds eight back-to-back freestyle women’s world championship titles, and has also garnered two PWA slalom world championship titles. And she’s only 25-years-old!
 
I’ve been following Sarah-Quita’s incredible career since I met her at a Bonaire Kid’s Windsurfing championship when she was just 16. Even then it was easy to tell she was going to be the one to watch. Her grace and style on the waves is thoroughly captivating- it's as if she and the board are one in an intricate dance of defying gravity while still remaining aligned to the sea. But surprisingly, Sarah-Quita initially didn’t take to the sport like a duck to water!
 
Sarah-Quita’s parents were firm believers in keeping their children active, so she and her older brother Quincy were always enrolled in some type of sport. When her brother started windsurfing Sarah-Quita thought she would give it a go, too. She was only 9-years-old then and found the sail too heavy, and eventually quit. But when her brother started doing very well in competitions - and she noted the great camaraderie he had with fellow teammates and competitors at the tournaments- she wanted back in. Now determined to learn the sport, Sarah-Quita gave it another try, and this time, something clicked. And she’s never looked back!
 
Since then, Sarah-Quita has literally taken the women’s windsurfing world by storm, and now has her sights set on also competing in “wave” tournaments. Her dream would be to win a hat trick of all three in the same year- freestyle, slalom, and wave.  She's also been knighted by the Queen of Holland – inducted into the Royal Order of Oranje- for her contribution to sports on Aruba, and for being such a great role model for Aruban youth.
 
But though it’s fabulous to win so many titles, what Sara-Quita appreciates the most is the opportunity to travel the world and meet so many new people. She says, “ I'm just a girl from a small island with a skill for a sport, but many never get the chance to do the travelling I’ve done to compete, and it’s addictive! The more I see of the world, the more I want to see! And the big family of new friends I've made from all over is a gift. You just can’t put a price on that.”
 
Chronicles of "The Curly Gem”
Recently, Sarah-Quita has also been the subject of a unique documentary chronicling her travels to compete in far-flung spots like Australia, the Canary Islands, Turkey, and even Iceland. The movie is entitled “Cabeibusha” meaning “wild hair” in Papiamento- named for her trademark unruly “do”. (She's also been dubbed "The Curly Gem”.)
 
The movie is the first windsurfing film that doesn’t concentrate solely on the sport itself. It’s also the first-ever windsurfing flick to have a woman as the lead character. "Cabeibusha” is a lovely look at the journey of a young world-class competitor – the trials, tribulations, and the joys of discovering other cultures - not to mention the stunning scenery. You can view a trailer and download it here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cabeibusha
 
And when you're on Aruba, watch for Sarah-Quita practicing on her favorite reef at Fisherman’s Huts; it’s impossible to miss her big beaming smile... even out on the water!
Visit: https://www.facebook.com/SarahQuitaOffringa/?fref=ts
 
Note: The prowess of Aruba's local windsurfing and kiteboarding athletes have brought the island the annual Aruba Hi-Winds event. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it attracts thousands of visitors and competitors from all over the globe for a week long of parties and activities on the waves. See highlights from this year here: http://hiwindsaruba.com .