Karo van Tonder is one of the very few windsurfing women in Cape Town, and she’s working hard to make a name for herself in the local and international scene. She was kind enough to test some of our gear while we gathered content for the 2016 Summer release. Here’s what she had to say in a quick Q & A session:
What got you hooked on Windsurfing?
Seeing my dad blasting across the lagoon inspired me to take up the challenge and join him on the water! I have been a sports fanatic from a very young age; anything that looked somewhat like a physical challenge caught my attention. I got hooked on the speed, energy and all the elements involved in windsurfing. It is literally the closest I can get to feeling like I am flying.
And how long have you been on the water?
14 years. My dad started teaching me when I was 12 years old.
What have you been up to these past few months?
Since we moved to Langebaan, my windsurfing has improved significantly as I spend hours out on the water pushing my limits. This year my dream came true and I became a Severne Team rider and brand ambassador for Severne sails and Zulu fins. Raffaello Gardelli, the founder of Surf’n’Curve and agent for Severne Sails and Zulu fins in South Africa and Robbie Bense, creator of Zulu fins have opened the door for me to take my windsurfing to the next level with the best sails and fins. Zone & Dermasure Skin Care and Gypsea Swimwear became my sponsors for skin care products and the most beautiful beach wear. I have been at work on and off the water and through social media to promote my sponsors and windsurfing as a sport. It has also been an epic experience to fly across the water with the best racing sails and fins and giving the male racers a hard time on the water!
Plans for the year ahead?
Every day I do my best to promote my sponsors on and off the water. I am training hard for the upcoming Freeride Attitude slalom event in Mauritius at the beginning of August where I will represent South Africa. I will also participate in various local races including the Langebaan Kite and Windsurf cup in January. I am also in the process of organizing a windsurfing clinic that will be held in January 2017 during the event. There is a big need in South Africa for pros and recreational windsurfers to get together and learn from one another and this would be an exciting opportunity for all.
Sounds like a great initiative. What would be your ultimate achievement?
To be the best brand ambassador and windsurfer that I can be and an inspiration for others on and off the water
Can you talk about your training; who/what keeps you motivated?
When I am out on the water for hours racing, free-riding or challenging myself in the 40knt storms, I feel at my best when I am strong and fit. Being the only female slalom racer in South Africa, I compete against big men; therefore it is very important for me to work hard. I do various forms of training on and off the water. Mountain biking, tennis, running, wakeboarding, kayaking and swimming distances in the lagoon are at the top of my list when the wind is not blowing. My family and friends motivate me and I get a tremendous amount of support from all my sponsors and fans on social media! The most important aspect of my training is that I am practically addicted to windsurfing and being out on the water training feels like second nature to me! I basically live in my wetsuit!
There are little to no women in the South African scene, it would be great to see this grow! What about something most people don’t know about you/ favorite cheat food/ what else are you really into at the moment?
When the wind is not blowing, I love to make exclusive wedding cakes that include a lot of art and creativity. I studied food science and culinary arts and have my own wedding cake business called KaroCatering https://www.facebook.com/Karocatering/. I am absolutely useless at “city life” and shopping and try to avoid going to malls at all cost! My favourite energy fix is by far toasted, salted nut mix and cranberries! I love listening to music and to sing out load when no one is around! My two dogs are my best friends and I love to spend time alone with them.
What’s in your quiver?
Severne Reflex racing sails: 7, 6.2, 5.6 & Severne Blade Pro wave sails: 4.7 & 4.2
Severne Nuevo wave board, Patrik race board: 87L, Isonic Starboard: 107L (Borrowed), Tabou Dacurve Wave board: 73L, 3S Tabou Board: 86L and Tbou Manta: 100L
Zulu Fin range
Gypsea swimwear: 2016-2017 collection
Starboard Apparel favourites:
I got to use the Paddle Jacket, Training Lycra and Welded Visor on shoot and loved them. My care package is on the way with more awesome technical apparel!
What is your favorite Windsurfing location in the world?
Definitely my home town, Langebaan: The Kraalbay speed strip, to be specific.
Where would you love to travel to next?
Thailand, Koh Tao.
Meat or Veg? Veg.
Facebook or Instagram? Facebook.
Dogs or Cats? Dogs.
Local or International? International.
Winter or Summer? Summer.
Flatwater or Waves? …..mmmm both!!
Wake up early or party late? Early.