Windsurf magazine chat with Lena Erdil who has been busy putting together a new community for girls in windsurfing called: MyWindstories. We also here about her life in lock down and why she has switched to a German sail number GER-33!
Photos: 7pixels, Kai-Nicolas Steimerand and PWA/Carter
WS: Tell us how you are doing and where you are right now?
LE: When we heard that Spain was imposing a full lock down, I booked the next flight to get off the Canary Islands and back to Hamburg. Lock down is pretty intense and reminds me off my injury days and not being able to windsurf and being tied to one place. But at least I am healthy, so all is good so far. I am trying out different styles of body weight exercises and staying as fit as possible till we are allowed to sail again. I might try and get a special permit to go windsurfing if restrictions don’t get loosened soon.
WS: What have you been up to?
LE: Working on the computer quite a bit, keeping busy with projects and of course staying fit. It has also been super fun to do some virtual chat rounds with groups of friends and family! In this time of less social connection, I actually feel very well connected. Due to all the windsurf related travelling, I do not usually see my friends and family from around the world all that much anyway.
WS: Tell us all about the new women’s project you have set up?
LE: www.mywindstories.com is a project I set up together with a good friend of mine, Katharina Seelack. It is an online platform for wind girls all about sharing, connecting, supporting and inspiring each other. The name MyWindstories was born out of our belief in the power of sharing stories as a means of building a community amongst women in our sport. Windsurfing and the stories created through the process of learning to windsurf, travelling, exploring new spots, meeting new people and most importantly sharing this common passion are very powerful binding aspects. A common love for windsurfing deeply connects us to each other without even knowing it.
Through windsurfing I have met and become friends with so many inspirational women, while also having witnessed a lot of discrimination against women. During my career as a professional windsurfer I have become a bit tired of constantly being in a minority. So, the idea for MyWindstories has grown out of the need to do something to get more girls onto the water and help build a stronger community amongst the girls who are already windsurf addicts.
At the same time, I had the desire to connect all the amazing women athletes that keep inspiring me on my own path and be able to share their stories all in one place. Our windsurfing camps and future events should make the circle complete in that they give our community real live events where we can meet, connect and learn from each other. I think there is something very empowering about the feeling of belonging to a community and I hope that MyWindstories will be able to create this feeling especially for those girls who maybe are missing it when they are in an environment surrounded mostly by men. I love windsurfing with my partner, my dad or training with other guys, but windsurfing with other girls pushes me on another level and it would be amazing if with MyWindstories we achieved to share this feeling amongst more girls and help to grow our community.
WS: How is your injury, at least you have some more time to rest?
LE: My injury was feeling really good now! Actually, I was really ready and fired up to compete again, so I am not really enjoying this time of rest!
WS: Are you allowed to windsurf in Germany?
LE: Yes, in most places in Germany I think you are theoretically allowed but I live in Hamburg and since the sea is in another province and no ‘tourism’ is allowed I can’t actually go at the moment. But I am hoping that measures will begin to ease soon.
WS: We heard you now have a German sail number, why the change?
LE: Yes, I am officially Ger-33 now, after having moved to Germany and started MyWindstories here, this was the next natural step for me. I am German and Turkish and have obviously sailed for Turkey for a very long time, so now, I felt it is about time that I also sail for Germany. Still not many people know that I am actually German and when they hear me speak German they are always totally surprised. Changes and new beginnings are always good for progress, so I am looking forwards to representing Germany from now on.
WS: Are you looking forwards to competing again?
LE: Yes, I can’t wait to be able to compete at the top of my game again!
WS: Are you missing the windsurfing family?
LE: Yes, for sure we are so used to travelling together all year round. But the good thing was that I have seen many people in Tenerife this winter, I was there form January until mid-March, so the total disconnect hasn’t been for too long.