Doing sports and catching waves: this is the dream life of Andrés Tapia, a Mexican windsurfer. We have had the pleasure to interview this talented athlete and let him tell us about his journey in this extreme practice and about his life’s philosophy.
Hi Andrés, tell us who you are and where you come from.
Hello, My name is Andrés Tapia López and I am 28 years old. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico), and I have been a sportaholic since I was a kid.
What is your educational background?
I studied Civil Engineering at ITESO, the Technological Institute of the state University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
When did you approach the world of sports?
Definitely through my childhood. I guess I have always been an active kid because of my dad, he made my siblings and I love sports.
Is windsurf the only sport you are practicing now?
Not really, I have always been involved in many disciplines such as like ball sports, martial arts and of course boarding sports. I’m surfing a lot at the moment, but I also keep kitesurfing and wakeboarding from time to time.
Where do you usually go windsurfing?
My favourite locations right now are Bucerias, Nayarit and La Ventana, in South California, so I’m wandering around that area, but I am constantly trying to discover new spots on the road.
Have you ever windsurfed outside your country or city? What differences did you find?
Apart from Mexico, I have windsurfed in United States several times and explored new spots around. Every place I visit has its own magic, rules and dynamics that make it unique and different from any other spot. Most of the times I get the chance to travel outside the country is to visit some of the most renowned windsurfing locations, full equipped with specific launching and landing areas, beginner areas. You have to follow an infinite number of protocols to get in and out of the water and even respect some local rules for the waves and parks.
Do you think it was difficult to join the professionals?
Reaching a professional level is super hard and keeps getting harder wave after wave. First of all, you have to perfectly master all the basics, then you should find your own style and finally give to your moves that extra touch that makes the hardest thing looking easy like a piece of cake. Windsurfing is an extreme sport so we suffer tons of crashes, injuries and ripped gear on the way. We completely depend on the weather and season, which means timing is everything; this is the reason why I usually travel in search for the right wind. Anyways, after all the difficulties I just mentioned, I have to say the hardest thing is to get yourself into a competition.
What message would you give to the new surfers joining the windsurfing community?
Have the most fun time out there and make the best out of it. Every time you try new moves and tricks, do it with a smile on your face.
When did you first get on a board?
I think I was probably 6 or 7 years old. I remember my first board was actually a skateboard.
What do you feel today when you windsurf?
It is a bittersweet sensation, because every time I windsurf I feel something different, from the purest joy to the deepest despair. Sometimes when I get on a board it is the happiest day of my life, but sometimes it turns out to be very frustrating, especially when I try to achieve something and I constantly keep failing.
What about women in extreme sports environment? Do you know many of them or is it a mostly male sport in your country?
There have always been more men than women in this sport and I think it is probably due to its risks and dangers. Now, more and more women are willing to join and being a part of the windsurfing community. I am very happy about it and I consider it to be a very positive change in this environment: thanks to women we will get bigger and, most importantly, stronger.
Do you think the windsurfing culture to be the same in Mexico as in the rest of the world?
I do think so: there are so many different cultures and personalities around the world, but in the end we are the very same bunch of crazy people trying to feel free and have fun while acting reckless.
Is there any interesting story about windsurfers from your city you would like to share?
I usually practice kite board in the bay: the wind blows on a specific angle from the north and bounces in the hill, returning to the shore from south, and this peculiar dynamic gives you the chance to surf one of the biggest bays in the world, but it is very hard to find the right time and place. An old friend of mine tried to do that crossing once but ended rescued at some point near the sunrise in the middle of the bay for some fisherman.
Are you involved in any kind of windsurfing project?
I have been working in a kitesurfing school for years: we started building a competition level crew which at the beginning had to be formed by some of the school instructors, because they already reached a good kitesurfing level. We conceived it as a project to encourage people towards this sport and show that anyone can get into kitesurfing and even reach a competitive level with our program and crew. Our team counts on different skilled specialists..
What do citizens think of windsurf?
They like it a lot because with the nice weather they can enjoy a good show on the waves. Besides, we are always hanging around spreading the good vibes.
Wind surf apparently is an individual sport but really it is based on important values such as support, cooperation and friendship. How important is the community for a windsurfer?