Windsurf Magazine catch up with PWA all-rounder, Taty Frans who has been at home in Bonaire during the Covid crises, keeping the Frans Paradise school open and training hard both on and off the water!
Photos: PWA /Carter
WS: Has the Covid-19 situation had a big impact on Bonaire?
TF: I believe we are lucky to be part of Holland, that most of the island companies, that are strictly working and depending on tourist is receiving financial support from the government until things ease up. Of course, you see there’s less traffic, less people on the island but things could have been worse if it wasn’t for the $$ support by the government.
WS: How is the Frans Paradise centre coping with less tourists on the Island?
TF: I really believed that this year would be the peak for our Windsurf Centre! At the beginning of the year Tonky and I had a busy three months of working seven days a week 9-6pm, things were flowing nicely and suddenly Covid19 happened and most of the tourist left Bonaire! It was not what we expected but nobody could have predicted that. When all three other windsurf, centres closed their doors for their customers we stayed open and provided windsurf and wind-foil rentals and lessons for the last tourist that took the very last possible flight home! We have stayed open and we do have local customers who do windsurf. So, things are really slow, but we are open for whoever who wants to have a go on the windsurfing gear. Funny as it may sounds but we have been teaching more and more girls to windsurf than ever before.
WS: Have you been allowed in the water all the time?
TF: Yes, lucky we didn’t have the Lockdown as bad as everywhere else in the world! The airport got shutdown before the Covid 19 exploded, so that made it safe for us here on Bonaire.
WS: What will your season be like with the possibility of no events?
TF: I still have high hopes that the PWA in France will happen and hopefully I will be able to travel to Silvaplana this year for the Engadin windsurf event. If nothing happens then I guess I will just be home, and hopefully we are allowed to travel between the islands so I can visit Ethan Westera and make a windsurf video in Aruba!
WS: Does that make a difference to your sponsorship?
TF: Yes, I believed the whole windsurf industry was already suffering and now with the Covid 19, sales are going down less people could be buying equipment, the company needs to safe and of course they are cutting off riders pay cheques. That I to understand, so I don’t take it hardly.
WS: Are you happy to be home on Bonaire?
TF: It’s a mix feeling to say the truth., I haven’t stayed on Bonaire for so many months in the last 18 years of my windsurf career, so it is strange to be home knowing that I am normally competing or traveling at this time of the year. It is mixed between happy to be home and the wanting to fly away!
WS: Are you still doing the same amount of training both on and off the water?
TF: The amount of training in the gym is the same, personal coach, training three times a week for one hour and lately we have been lifting heavier weight, bulking the body up for the summer. Who knows when an event might happen so, I feel I need to be ready! On water I am training more or less the same depending on the wind forecast. I have mostly been sailing on the freestyle equipment, but I had a few weeks with loads of slalom training with 7.1m sail on my 97 and 117 litre boards. For a time, I really thought Fuerteventura would happen but then all that hope went down to drain. I did a few sessions on the south side with some nice wave riding, together with the Island Boyz. Other than that it was just hard to accept and receive emails with news that events have been cancelled so it kind of un-motivates you, but in the end I just keep training and still have fun on the water
WS: Tell us a typical day in your life on Bonaire?
TF: On a typical windy day let is see:
9:00 Drive to the beach, open the windsurf Centre and wait for customers which most of the time during the week is pretty quiet but busy during the weekend!
10:00 first meal.
12:00 second meal
14:00 third meal
16:00 fourth meal
On a normal day, I will try and have two windsurf session a day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, on some days I do only one long freestyle or slalom session, depending on how many customers at the windsurf school.
18:00 Close the windsurf school
18:30 Drive home
19:30 Eat something light, while at the same time update my social media!
20:00 I am already showered and ready to sleep.
WS: Why do you love windsurfing?
TF: I found peace in this sport and there’s never a day when you are windsurfing that is the same! Each session is different, every day is a challenge, no matter how good or bad the session there’s always a thing or two that can be improved and that’s the beauty of it. Self-improvement and the challenge is all up to you. I love it!
WS: Three words to live by?
TF: Live, work, grow!