VIDEO: Meet Mauian Windsurfers Mark and Elena Angulo
By Madeline Ziecker
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q9o_dXU488 /] Mark and Elena Angulo are the windsurfing power-couple of the North Shore, often seen ripping waves at Ho’okipa together.
Mark Angulo is considered one of the best and most innovative windsurfers in the world. He lives in Haiku with his wife Elena, who is also an avid pro-windsurfer and is a huge fan of her husband.
The couple are professionally sponsored by Naish, Powerex, Dakine, and Black Project Fins.
Maui Now met with the Angulos to discuss their lifestyle as professional windsurfers and water-sport gear entrepreneurs.
MN: Do you consider yourselves a team out in the water and on dry land?
Mark Angulo: Marriage alone is a team sport. You try and keep certain things for yourself, but that eventually changes.
Making boards was ‘my thing’ until I realized I wanted to start working together, and I ended up with a better product.
Elena is very good with colors and I’m horrible. I can build a great board, but when it gets to the painting process I know to just ask her to pick some colors for me and it always comes out great.
Elena Angulo: We love to be together in the water because it’s a passion we share in common. Some of the guys at Ho’okipa – you never see their partners because their partners aren’t in to it.
We cross one another out in the water and amp each other up when either of us makes a good move. It’s a lot of fun.
MN: Since a great deal of your life is involved with windsurfing, what do you do when conditions are too rough to go out or waves are small in the summer?
Elena Angulo: We always make the best of it. We work, I with my bikinis and he with his boards, or at our property.
It is hard to stay away from the water too long though.
Do you do enjoy any other types of water sports as much as windsurfing?
Mark Angulo: Well, windsurfing is great. I’ve been doing it so long and I’m comfortable.
Surf here is great too, but it’s just a lot harder work than it used to be because it’s so crowded and it takes so long to catch waves.
The nice thing about wind surfing is that even if it’s crowded you’re really alone and free out in the ocean. There could be a million people around you and you can still jam in and out.
Do you think surfing or windsurfing has changed on Maui over the years?
Mark Angulo: I love Maui but the population keeps growing and several communities now focus on those three North Shore breaks, all in the same spot around Ho’okipa.
Elena Angulo: Over the last ten years, Jaws went from being just a few people, including Mark, to a giant jumble of helicopters and not finding parking.
The original Jaws guys did it for the passion and the thrill. It was so raw, and now you see people who go to Jaws to update their profile on Facebook.
Mark Angulo: Well it was a lot different back then. No one had done it. We had sat there and watched Jaws for years and then a group of us decided to attack it years ago, in the late 90s. It’s a whole new world now.
Do you still get scared out in the water at times?
Mark Angulo: One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can have everything work out and the ocean will always throw you a slider. Just when you think you’ve got everything perfect, something bad can really happen.
Have fun, scare yourself a little bit, but not too much.
Would you say you were always pretty reckless in your windsurfing career, Mark?
Mark Angulo: Oh yeah, we all were. We were out at Jaws jumping off the rocks without jet skis. We didn’t have flotation.
We were actually the ones who started introducing that idea because our friend Todd Chesser drowned. One of the main factors of his death was that he kept sinking and his friend couldn’t hold on to him.
I have been very fortunate not to have had any major injuries from windsurfing.
Elena Angulo: Everyone always wonders how he is in one piece because he is the guy who came up with most of the moves that everyone does today.
What are some of your most accomplished moves?
Mark Angulo: I came up with moves the 360 and the ‘Goiter,’ which is two 360 rotations, one going clockwise and the other counterclockwise on the wave.
My most recent is the ‘Mutant,’ which is just a really complex version of a 360 that’s about two years old.
What’s your process in designing a move?
Mark Angulo: When I started no-one was even doing flips or loops, so it was easy because I just experimented with what people hadn’t done yet.
It was a big threshold that got broken through. If it wasn’t me it would have been someone else, it was just the natural progression of the sport.
What do you say when surfers criticize windsurfing as a completely different, lesser sport for “kooks?”
Mark Angulo: If you reject one of the wind sports on Maui, you just get more bitter and salty because it’s so windy here, it’s always windy, and it keeps getting windier.
A surfer wants to go out and have a nice session and then the wind starts blowing, and here come those damned windsurfers again. It’s just salt in the wound every day so give it up, man. Just become a kite surfer.