Harnessing the Power of the Wind with Surfer Tatiana Howard
It’s safe to say that Tatiana Howard is happy pretty much anywhere she can see the ocean. She calls herself a Maui mermaid who loves surfing, kiting and windsurfing. She’s also the founder of The Butterfly Effect, a worldwide movement meant to empower and inspire women around the globe through water sports.
The first Butterfly Effect event took place in Maui, Hawaii in 2007, in which a dozen women participated in the event. Nine years later, The Butterfly Effect has turned into the BE ALOHA World Tour that takes place in 17 countries around the world with more than 30 different non-competitive events.
Tatiana Howard is an inspiration not just to women everywhere, but to surfer lovers in general. BookSurfCamps.com sat down with Tatiana and chatted about windsurfing, surfing and The Butterfly Effect.
Windsurfing is an awesome but undoubtedly a niche sport, how did you first come across it? And what or perhaps who had inspired you to pursue it professionally?
Growing up on Maui, the windsurfing mecca, I was bound to learn it. My father moved here to the island just for it. My 3 older brothers hung out with the Siver brothers, who were young professional windsurfers at the time. I was the baby sister always watching, when I was 15 I finally learned to do it all by myself. I was hooked instantly and loved the challenge and constant progression of doing the sport.
It is more than evident that you are passionate about windsurfing. What aspects of it do you enjoy or love the most?
I love surfing and windsurfing equally. They complement each other, and they give me more time on the water depending on the conditions, and both are amazing sports to get into. Though windsurfing is very special. To catch wind in your sail, glide across the water in whatever direction, be in the ocean when most people run away because of the wind, and be able to catch waves far out while the swell is building, and to see it form, and ride it down the line while still having power to launch into the air is truly amazing.
In terms of techniques and skills, how does windsurfing compare to conventional ‘surfing’?
Both sports are a lifestyle sport. You can’t just pick it up when you want. You have to live it, wait for the conditions, put time into it, and let nature control you. You have to learn to work with nature rather than fight or muscle against it. The more you can relax into it the better you will be… relaxed, yet mindful and conscious. The difference of windsurfing over surfing is that you throw another element into the mix, wind! Just imagine harnessing the power of wind while you surf and you learn to power up and depower to make it a smooth ride. It is indescribable, just like surfing, so you will have to try both.
You’ve been competing since you were 16, are there any past competitions that you are particular fond of? And why?
Sure. I loved competing in Peru because I won the water woman award. I was competing in windsurfing, stand up paddling, and kitesurfing. I also love competing at my home break on Maui because Hoʻokipa is one of the best places in the world to line up the wind and waves in the right direction.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the ‘Butterfly Effect’ movement that you founded? What is the mission behind it?
The Butterfly Effect is a non-competitive event to inspire and empower women in water sports. It is the event of aloha. We strive for positive vibes, promote health and happiness, and give back to local communities. It is about having fun and sharing the passion with others.
What would be the single most important piece of advice you would give girls and women around the world who are looking to carve out a career in surfing?
Follow your passion and enjoy every moment. Stay positive and spread ALOHA.
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