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Women/Ingrid Larouche

INGRID LAROUCHE

 See Original article on Boardseeker.com for more pics and credits

At 4:30pm, 2x reigning American Windsurfing Tour women's Champion Ingrid Larouche clocks out of the Hood River Physical Therapy office for her last day of work in Oregon this season.  One of the most decorated windsurfers in North America in the last few years, Ingrid is getting ready to head back over to Maui where she will balance her part-time work with training for the last stop of the AWT, only 3 weeks away. Her sights purely set on one goal, to attain her 3rd AWT title.

Unlike some of the pros that we've come to know over the years, Ingrid hails from a cold part of the North American continent in north eastern Quebec, far away from any environment that drums up the notion of wanting to become a full-time windsurfer.
 
Making her way south to the US through her physical therapy career, Ingrid found the sport of windsurfing and, as with many of us, it quickly became her passion and obsession, leading her to immigrate to the US. Now, with her 3rd AWT title close within reach, Ingrid plans to take her windsurfing to the next level with hopes of entering onto the PWA scene at the forthcoming event in Ho'okipa.
 
"2013 has been absolutely awesome for me! I decided to cut down hours of work, quit racing mountain bikes, and allocate more of my time and energy to windsurfing, and travelling with the AWT. Finding the balance between work and play hasn't been easy; as a Canadian, coming to the US, I had to maintain a full time job for years to remain legal and earn my green card. I am now finally able to step away from being only a weekend warrior and have the freedom to commit to the pursuit of my passion. It's been such a blast, having more time to windsurf and train in the Gorge this summer, getting to go back to places like Baja and for the first time to port tack conditions of Peru."

After spending most of her winter working and playing in the snow or dirt up in Oregon, Ingrid's home base, she ventured to California towards the end of May, a week before the 1st stop of the AWT, The Santa Cruz Goya festival.

"Going early paid off, I scored a great south swell for the days leading up to the contest! Unfortunately, the swell was mostly gone by the time the event started. The competition ran in smaller, and more challenging, on-shore wind-swell conditions. Nonetheless we had a great battle between the ladies and I took first in the single and double elimination against talented riders like Fiona Wylde and Miho Tanaka.  This was my 3rd year in a row winning here at Waddell Creek and I was excited to have such a great start to the season!"

The 2nd stop of AWT, the Pistol Wave bash, in Southern Oregon was in mid-June. Usually, when you head down to Pistol, you bring the smallest gear you own, and the warmest clothes you got. But this year, Pistol turned out to be relatively warm and light, with just enough wind to complete a single elimination. 7 ladies competed, but what was low in numbers, wasn't in skills!
 
"The girls are really stepping it up! It is so nice to have international ladies showing up to these events. This time around, Katie McAnena came from Ireland, Kate Barker from Australia, and once again, Miho Tanaka from Japan. The waves were small and hard to find, and the competition was very close. During the final, Fiona Wylde seemed to catch the best waves out there. I believe she out-scored me on wave-riding and my loops are really what helped me defend my 1st place spot. This was my 4th win at the Pistol wave bash but I can see how holding on to the title will be even harder in the years to come."

"Getting back to the Gorge after Pistol, a mountain bike accident lead me to the ER, and, with 10 stitches through the palm of my hand, put a dent in my windsurfing momentum for a few weeks.  The Gorge season being in full swing, sitting on the sideline for the best part of July was tough. But the hands felt ok enough to compete in the AWT Freestyle Frenzy and Xensr Big air later in the month, and I managed to win both parts of the competition.
 
The conditions were typical of the Gorge during the event and, despite the forecast, we saw 35-40 mph wind the whole window of the contest. I used my 69l quad and a 2.9 for most of my heats to throw high wind freestyle moves!  The event was a real success with tons of great action, good energy and fun!"

Then off to Mexico for the 3rd stop of the AWT, the Baja desert showdown.
 
"It had been over 3 years since I last came to Punta San Carlos, and this trip reminded me how this place needs to be a yearly destination for me.  It is such an amazing spot for wavesailing; long, clean, uncrowded waves. We had unbelievable conditions for the event! Logo+ high waves in the sets and wind!!! Too much wind even for the sails I brought!  This event was especially challenging for me as my brand new 69L Fanatic quad (from a brand new sponsor!) got stolen on the way down to compete.  I showed up without a board and really missed not bringing my smaller sails especially in the final against Fiona Wylde who had been sailing some solid heats through amateur and youth division on her 3.2. It wasn't easy to sheet in and make turns being so overpowered but I managed to finish on top.  Big thanks to Camille Juban for lending me his custom 68L quatro board for this event.
 
After winning Baja, the chances of getting the overall title was nearly a lock. I headed home to Hood River, but couldn't stop thinking about wave sailing.  I needed to make the Peru trip happen.  So I scheduled myself solid at work for most of August and took off for to Peru for the 4th AWT event: the Pacasmayo classic.

Unfortunately, the turn out of women wasn't great despite the free entry, food and lodging offered to female competitors by El Faro resort.  Because of this, I got a chance to compete also in Men amateur, and master (thanks to IFCA rules allowing women over 30 years of age to compete in master division).  I went down there with no expectations, as I was so new to port tack sailing, but was stoked to not only win the women, but also the men amateur and take a 5th place in the masters (losing in quarter finals to Kevin Pritchard and South American Champion Willhem Schurmann).  Port tack sailing was so much fun and Pacasmayo was the best place to learn this new tack!"

"Getting back into Maui and the groove of Ho'okipa sailing is never easy. Ho'okipa is probably the most prestigious of the AWT event, and I am really looking forward to improving on my 3rd place finish from years prior. This event has been drawing so much attention and the talent that shows up here every year is something to watch for sure. I am really excited to be a part of it!"

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