SUP Women: Sarah Hauser
Sarah Hauser was born and raised in New Caledonia, but made the dream move to Maui, HI in 2013. It was well worth it for the water lover. In this installment of SUP Women, Hauser tells us about island life, her love for riding waves, the challenges of being a SUP surfer, and what it’s like competing in a male dominant sport. —Rebecca Parsons
How did you first get into standup paddling?
I started to get into water sports by doing freestyle and slalom windsurfing.
I grew up in New Caledonia, where the waves are far from the shore. We had to reach the outside reefs by boat. It’s only at age 15 that I rode a wave with my windsurfing gear. That was a revelation! Five years, later I tried an 8’ SUP in waves and I had feelings similar to wave sailing. Three years later I did my first race.
Tell us about your move to Maui.
I moved to Hawaii in October 2013. Before that, I visited two times for a few months. I don’t know all the islands of Hawaii, but I love Maui! For me, going to waves has always meant loading all of your friends and gear in the boat, getting a lot of gas, food and water for the day, driving the car for an hour, the boat for 45 minutes, and there you are. Sometimes the waves are crap and you did all that for nothing. On Maui I feel like people just built a town on the reef. I can walk to the waves!
What’s it like balancing your training between windsurfing and SUP?
It’s not always easy, especially when competition dates are close. That means I have to give my best on training at both sports at the same time. It makes me go to bed early.
What’s the SUP scene like in New Caledonia?
In New Caledonia, SUP is getting really popular but the closest spot for beginners (Dumbea) is a sick reef wave. Sometimes people put themselves in a situation they cannot handle and it’s dangerous for them and for surfers.
Do you train with other women?
I have friends in every sport and we go on the water together, but it’s not really training, even if we inspire each other to push our limits farter. I do the training part by myself.
It’s good to hang out with other girls when you practice a male dominant sport. This spring we made our own video: Girls Want to Get Wet. It’s full of women in action: windsurfing, SUPing, and surfing, with a bunch of girls from Peru, England, Maui, and New Caledonia. Here is the teaser:
What are some noteworthy races or competitions you’ve participated in this past year?
My third place at the French National Championship in the beach race and the long distance race! I trained by myself for two months while some of the other competitors had their own coaches. I wasn’t far from the first two women at all.
What are you currently training for? What big races or contests do you have coming up?
I think 2014 is a bad year for me. I’ve struggled a lot to find a board to train on and I had ankle and shoulder injuries before the IMUA and OluKai races on Maui. I want to concentrate on the waves events. I went to Oahu in February for the first stop of the Standup World Tour and learned a lot. When I came back on Maui there was a local competition that I won! I’ll be in Huntington Beach for another event of the World Tour, and I’ll see how I improve. I’d like to go to the French Championship, but this time to compete in waves.
Do you prefer standup paddle surfing or racing?
Surfing! Since I surfed my first wave with windsurfing gear, a surfboard, and an SUP, the only thing I wanted was to surf another wave and be better. I think I’m not the only one who feels that! It’s like true love; it’s hard to explain.
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