Once a professional windsurfer ranked amongst the best in the world, Holland’s Anne-Marie Reichman has had the opportunity to travel and compete around the globe. Her travels took her to Hawaii, which led the pro windsurfer to surfing and standup paddling. In recent years, Anne-Marie has called Maui her home, but for the past few years Anne-Marie has gotten back to her roots, creating, organizing, and competing in her one-of-a-kind event, the SUP 11-City Tour. –SC

Tell us about your athletic background.
In ’97 I started my first worldwide travels to become a professional windsurfer in the waves. My highest ranking was in 2002 when I was ranked 3rd on the world-ranking list of the Professional Windsurfing Association, and I had many years ranked in the top 5.
During some of my travels to Maui, my friend Sky introduced me to yoga. She saw that my body was strong, but not flexible. We did yoga videos and I took a few classes. It was all based on physical exercises which now, throughout the year has switched more to the ‘internal journey’ of body and mind. SUP came by on Maui when Dave [Kalama], Laird [Hamilton] and Sean Ordonez showed me how. It took me a while before I tried; winter 2008 was the year and I was hooked, challenged and excited straight away.

Why do you SUP?
I love being in, on and under the water. In windsurfing I always wanted to do some cross training, but could never put myself in a gym. SUP seemed to be that solution; it was fun, physical (all muscles in the body engaged), outside, required balance (in your body and mind) and most of all, I was in the ocean and got to learn to read her in a different way again. I started trying SUP in the waves and then over the summer I also got into the downwind races in Hawaii. SUP opened up many new experiences, which I love.
The other fun thing about SUP is you can cruise, train hard and take your SUP in waves or in flat water… “all you need is water” and you can SUP. I really like that about the sport.

What’s the SUP scene like in Holland and surrounding areas?
The SUP scene is growing steady in Holland now. In 2009 when I organized the invitational SUP 11-City Tour, I had to explain to everyone that SUP IS a sport, where it comes from and why people like to do it. This year, there’s a pretty full agenda of events in the country. When I took some waves on my SUP, the amount of paddlers had grown and people will come up to me and start telling me about where everyone takes their SUP these days. The age of standup paddlers in Holland varies, but I heard my friend talk that his 8 and 10 year olds that are hooked on SUP. Also, friends my age, older and younger are into it, 24 – 50 year olds. It shows the diversity of the sport and also how accessible it is to many!

Tell us about the 11-City Tour.
I am from Friesland, the northern province of Holland. The 11-City Tour by ice skates is by far the most exciting happening of all happenings. Now, there’s a limit of 16,000 participants being able to enter with millions of spectators coming from the rest of the country to watch and support.My love for Hawaii and SUP connected with my roots and this amazing 11-city event melted together to the SUP 11-City Tour. It is a very personal connection how it all came about and each year it has been amazing to see how participants and supporters ‘click’ with the event with their own enthusiasm. It has been a special journey! Can I announce the 4th annual for 2012?

Sure, tell us about this year’s event.
The cities are built from 1700 onwards and are cute, pretty and authentic. You need to be there to get the picture!
Dates are: September 4 – 8, 2012
You can book accommodation on a ship that will follow the tour (so you don't need a car or lodge your gear from place to place).
For 2012 people can enter in the following categories:
– Solo competition (you compete all 5 days)
– Solo tour (you paddle the event in your own pace 5 days long)
– Team competition (you can join with a team, where each team member paddles 1 entire day; some team members can paddle more days, so you need 2 to 5 team members)
– Day participants (each day people can paddle a single stretch of the tour)
The previous years we made only the last day available as a ‘single day’ option. This year, all days are available to join for “one stage”.

What plans do you have for the future?
I am open to the future when it comes to my next projects. I am always on the go and have my eyes open for projects and opportunities.
My wish is to visit new places in the world with my surfboard, my windsurfboard and my SUP. There is so much to explore and experience. I have seen, competed, organized and traveled a lot and I know there is always more. I do feel a change though within where I get more satisfaction and drive to inspire others than purely focus on my own personal results.
Saying that… when the conditions are right, I am itching to get out there and give it all I have.

Tell us about your favorite experience with SUP.
This is a very hard question! In the NOW, every experience is THE experience and they all offer so much!
My event each year is very special to me: from working very hard to get everything organized to the first start and then 5 days later… the last finish. It is such a personal journey for me and all people involved. Then all my travels; Peru and Fiji have been amazing SUP trips from epic waves, sharing sessions with good friends to amazing local cultures.
And when I hit the water on my SUP with my friends and/ or my boyfriend… we just have so much fun goofing off and laughing our asses off… there’s not much better than sharing the ocean with dear ones.
My hearts desire and personal motto is: “dream of life and live your dream!” I am proud to say that I live my dream even though there are moments when the going gets tough…Then again, the going always gets tough– life is full challenges and the dream on the other side is worth it!

For more info on SUP 11-City Tour:
Twitter @sup11citytour

To read about SUP Woman, Maggie Hogan, click here.