How I got into windsurfing - by Margareta Engstrom

“Life is like a book, and those who don't travel only read the first page
A statement taken from the infamous Sipping Jetstreams” by Taylor Steel. I like to slightly rephrase this statement to “those who don't try, only reads the first page”. To me, life has never really been about “what you have”, but rather “what you do with it”. My initial contact with windsurfing was back in 2003 while moving to the west coast of Sweden, a lot of my friends were right in to it back then, but I struggled to understand the beauty of an ice-cold stormy day at a grey beach, when you could be perfectly warm at home.

one of my early tries, somewhere in Sweden

So, windsurfing didn’t really appeal to me until I moved to Western Australia back in '05. That's when I decided to give it a proper go. The critical point was probably when I bought my own gear, without really knowing how to rig it or what to expect from it. The first few times was a challenge to say the least, but luckily the learning curve is quite steep.

Every time you go you learn something new. I never forget the first time I was planing, it was such an unreal feeling, almost like the board gets a life of its own underneath your feet, and you are only lucky to hang on to it and enjoy the ride. After a few months I noticed I spent more time windsurfing than anything else, which kind of struck me by surprise as I never expected that to happen.

This picture shows me carefully venturing in my first waves

We basically lived on the beach at the time so any kind of water sport was very accessible to us, but the rewards from a windsurf session was simply so much more than the others. The dynamics between wind, water and your own movement blends into some form of harmony that made my passion grow rapidly. About a year later I had upgraded to a slightly bigger car and started started to go in to the waves. Western Australia is an amazing place in many respects; not the least for learning to windsurf. The wave breaks exactly the same every time and the steady sea breeze is usually expected after lunch time, almost by the minute.

Honing my skills in some more advanced conditions

The few years spent in WA thought me not only how to read the wind and waves but also how to fully live and enjoy each day. Every summer we lived pretty much in our cars, working at pubs or tomato farms, earning just enough money to get by, and surf as much as possible. You got to take an Aussie by the words when he says “No worries”.

A setting sun, salty hair, and a rusty caravan. All smiles. Australia 2007

The search for perfect waves away from crowds continued after the summer breaks, and on good weather maps we usually drove a day or two, just to find a moment of perfection. Its almost like you refill your energy at these times. Everyone I’ve met along the road speaks the same language, and they are just as passionate as the crew back home on the snowy beaches in Sweden. I’ve learned a lot from them and I can only hope I get to keep my health so that I can do this for many years to come.

Margareta Engstrom has been an in-house photographer at Starboard for several years now. She travels the world on the lookout for the perfect shot

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