AWT Rider of the Week — Ingrid Larouche


This week caught up with Ingrid Larouche, the woman who dominated the AWT in 2011 and 2012. IMG_3331And may do so again this year.

Sail number:  CAN 66
Nationality: Canadian
Residence: Hood River, Oregon, USA
Started Windsurfing: at 22 years old
Home Spot: Hatchery, Columbia Gorge
AWT Debit: 2010
Favorite Gear: Love my MauiSails mutants and custom Quatro board

Weendy: What’s the windsurfing scene like where you live (the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon)?

Ingrid: The Gorge is so much fun! On a windy day (which over there, is 3.3 or smaller), the parking lot will be full of people boosting air and riding swell. Most of the people are into high wind only. That’s when the swell gets big and provides nice ramps. The freestyle scene is awesome too for high-wind maneuver and with guys like Bryan Metcalf-Perez who competes on the tour and Tyson Poor who throws down the latest move, it’s pretty inspiring!forward

Weendy: What’s your background in windsurfing? Did you get straight into wave sailing?

Ingrid: No, but I took my first trip to Maui when I was pretty new to windsurfing. I was still working on my jibes then and learned getting in the waves the hard way. I loved it and came back a few years in a row, but living in the Gorge, I was all about freestyle for a while, spending my vacation time in Jericoacoara, Brazil, learning moves instead of choosing a wave spot. I really got into wavesailing when Sam announced her first event in Pistol River in 2010. I came to Maui before the event to train a bit and I haven’t look back since!

Weendy: Does living in Oregon mean you always have good conditions for training, or do you need to travel in order to find waves?

Ingrid: The Gorge is good for jumping. The Oregon Coast can be great onshore wave-sailing and in a three- to six-hour trip, you can find good, punchy waves and strong wind. It’s freezing, and I never go because of work or other fun activities that the Gorge has to offer. I usually only wave sail when I come to Maui or for the AWT.

Weendy: You’re a physical therapist, right? Sounds like a great job for a aerialwindsurfing lady, as you can practice it pretty much wherever you are. Does it enable you to be flexible and spend some time in places with good conditions?

Ingrid: My job is flexible now because I work for a temp agency and get to make my own schedule, although, I do work quite a bit when I’m not traveling. I hold a PT license in Oregon and Hawaii and can work in those states, allowing me to stay on Maui longer when I come.

Weendy: You dominated the AWT 2011 and 2012. What are your goals for this year?IMG_4337

Ingrid: humm, well, I’d love to win it a third year, but the AWT is gaining a lot of popularity and the women’s level is rising fast. My main goal is to have fun! The last couple years I tried to do the tour in both windsurfing and enduro mountain biking and that was a lot and a bit stressfull. This year, I just want to compete in windsurfing, have fun and get to enjoy hanging out with friends!

Weendy: What does your ideal heat look like, condition-wise? (strong/light wind, offshore/sideshore/onshore, wave size, etc.)

Ingrid: I guess I like head to logo high. I tend to sail pretty conservatively in bigger waves. I like when I’m on my 3.8 or 4.2, just barely planing, although I do like when they count a jump in the heat. Starboard tack of course!

Weendy: What kind of move(s) did you want to work on since last year? Have you achieved your goal?STK_4091

Ingrid: I really wanted to get aerials. I’m inconsistent still, but I’m making progress.

Weendy: Which 2013 AWT venue are you most looking forward to competing at? Why is it your favorite one?

Ingrid: I think I’m gonna make it to San Carlos this year! I haven’t been there in three years and I’m looking forward to sailing a long, side-off and mellower wave. I feel like I can really work on my technique when I’m there.

Weendy: How do you feel when you first go out on a big day?

Ingrid: Nervous and excited When it’s really big, I can’t look at it too long or I spook myself out. I gotta rig and go! It gives you such a high during and after sailing huge stuff!

Weendy: Did your lifestyle change since you took up windsurfing competitively?

Ingrid: I guess it has ’cause I’m planning a lot of my trips and work around competition schedules. I’m definitely working less than I used too, traveling more, and I’m putting less time and importance in things like house renovations or career.

Weendy: Which places has windsurfing taken you to?hatch1

Ingrid: I’ve been to Brazil and Barbados only so far besides the U.S. and Mexico.

Weendy: Have you always been competitive in sports, or did it happen with windsurfing for the first time?

Ingrid: I competed a lot growing up. But in sports like judo or badminton. Guess I always did some competitions in one sport or another. I started with freestyle windsurfing during the Gorge Games in 2004. I’ve been racing my bike a lot over the last few years and competed pro for the enduro series last year.


Photo Credits (from top): Berthuot Visuals, Jimmie Hepp, Bogo Trepka, Jock Bradley, Richard Hallman