MALLORCA, BALEARIC ISLANDS — Laura Quetglas has been dominating the Spanish SUP racing scene over the past two years and shines at international level. We met the athlete from Mallorca who made Stand Up Paddle not only her sport but also a new professional venture and a lifestyle…
TotalSUP: When did you start paddling?
I started doing SUP in 2011 and became a real fan of the sport gradually. Before paddling I had never done any sports in particular, just a bit of everything. Sports have always been part of my life but I never got hooked on any like I did for Stand Up Paddle.
Can you remind us what your achievements have been so far?
In 2011, I took part in the first Balearic Islands championship. I hadn’t paddled for long and did have some good results so I decided to take part in the first Spanish Championships where I ranked 2nd. That pushed me to keep training. I wanted to see what I would be capable of if I put more commitment into it.
> 1st IN 12´6” ELITE, CABRERA SUP 25K (EUROSUPA**)
> 1st IN 12´6” ELITE, CANAL OLIMPICO DE BARCELONA.
> 1st IN 12´6 ELITE, GRAN TROFEO MAKOA.
> 1st IN 12´6 ELITE, SANT PERE PESCADOR.
> 1st IN 12´6 ELITE, TROFEO BELLINI.
> BALEARICS CHAMPION 12´6 ELITE.
> SUP 11 CITY WINNER, HOLLAND.
> SPAIN CHAMPION
> WINNER OF THE BEACH RACE EUROPEA TORO LOCO ( EUROSUPA**)
> BALEARIC CIRCUIT WINNER (MADE OF 6 TESTS, WON ALL 6).
> 4th AT THE PADDLE ROYAL, SAN JUAN DE PUERTO RICO.
> 4th – 12´6 ELITE, LONG DISTANCE ISA WORLD CHAMPION PERU.
> 4th – 12´6 ELITE, CARRERA TECNIC AISA WORLD CHAMPION PERU.
> 1st – 12´6 ELITE, II COSTA NORTE SUP RACE
> 2nd – 12´6 ELITE, PORT ADRIANO SUP RACE 2013 (EUROSUPA****)
> 1st – 12´6 ELITE, HONDARRIBIA SUP RACE (EUROSUPA**)
> 1st – 12´6 ELITE, III DEEP SUP RACE VILLA DE NOJA (EUROSUPA**)
> 1st – 12´6ELITE, III DEEP BEACH RACE VILLA DE NOJA (EUROSUPA**)
> 3rd – 12´6 ELITE, BILBAO WORLD SUP CHALLENGE.
> 1st – 12´6 ELITE, SUP RACE SUANCES 2013 (EUROSUPA**)
> 1st – SPAIN CHAMPIONSHIPS 12´6 ELITE, LONG DISTANCE
> 1st – SPAIN CHAMPIONSHIPS 12´6 ELITE TECNICA RACE.
> 2nd – SPAIN CHAMPIONSHIPS SUP WAVES
> 1st – 12´6ELITE, SUP CONTEST PLAYAS DE CADIZ 2013.
> 2nd – SUP SURF, SUP CONTEST PLAYAS DE CADIZ 2013.
Which event are you most proud of?
That would be the 11-City in Holland. It was such a huge challenge. I had only been paddling for a year and I really wanted to take part in that event. I spoke to my coach Manuel Simoncelli about it and he felt that it would be tough but also that I was capable of doing it. That was enough to help me make up my mind and I started to train for it.
What is your best SUP memory so far?
I remember my first race with the team. For most of us it was our first race ever and the first time we had to paddle for 8 kilometres… we thought it was just crazy to paddle that long a distance.
But to be there on the water and competing individually and feeling that the whole team is paddling with you is a priceless feeling. And it felt like that at every race afterwards. The truth is,what has most motivated me in this sport, is the team spirit.
You have recently received some support from the brand Roxy (Quiksilver), what does this mean to you?
That’s true. This season I can count on the help of Quiksilver/Roxy though the Mallorca shop and it feels great. We didn’t have that brand on the island until recently and now not only have we got a shop but I also have a new sponsor.
Who/what are your other sponsors?
Sic Maui, Xavi Masde, Wind paradise, Quickblade paddle internacional, Air Europa, Má Canudas, Naturlife, Prolimit, Fisio planet, Mallorca, Deep surf skate shop, Mar Balear sup center.
Economically, does this support allow you to take part in all the important races you want?
I do receive a lot of support and most of these sponsors provide equipment as well as a small sponsoring budget. This is not enough to pay for many costly trips and registration fees so this year I have decided to invest a bit more of my own money in order to take part in more international events.
I have to admit I can’t complain though, as I have received support right from the start and notably through the import company Wind Paradise and its owner Xavi Masde who has put various SIC MAUI boards at my disposal.
What races are you preparing in 2014?
I would like to do some World Series races, a few Eurosupa ones and some national ones too. My goal for this year is to take part in more international races as I want to measure myself against the best riders in the world and compete at the highest international level possible.
But for budget reasons, I need to plan carefully and right now it is all in the air still.
What will be your objectives in Nicaragua?
That’s right, this year I will be representing Spain again at the ISA World Championships in Nicaragua – if the Spanish team can attend, that is…
I am hoping to play a good role there although it is going to be hard to do better than my 4th place last year in Peru given that the level is increasing every day.
I promise to give everyting though !
You have opened a SUP school in Mallorca, can you tell us more about your work there?
Mar Balear SUP Center, was founded by Manuel Simoncelli, Silvia Canudas, Javier Sanchez and myself, with the aim to live off what we like to do most, be connected to the sea everyday and start our own SUP team.
The first year I thought it would be very hard to get a group of young paddlers together that would be brave enough to spend the winter in the water. And we managed to do it ! We started with a tiny group and the club now has more than 30 athletes, boys and girls. It is such a fantastic experience to see our club growing. And what I find even more enticing is the number of girls who have joined.
Mar Balear is a water sports center where you can do sup, kayak, sailing and pretty much all-things diving.
This year we will be celebrating the PORT ADRIANO SUP RACE 2014, on May 16, 17 y 18. We are opening registrations soon and will publish more information about the event on www.marbalear.com
Mallorca is the perfect island to practice Stand Up Paddle, you can find flat water, waves and some very good downwinds here.
Any tips that you would like to share with us?
GO FOR IT GIRLS ! There are not enough girls in this sport and I think a lot more girls should take on SUP as their new sport, whether for Racing or Surfing.
With a bit of practice and training, I know that many girls could do really well, especially those who are into sports. But competition apart, SUP is also a sport that brings you peace. You get out with your board and empty your mind. It’s you and the sea and nothing else, it’s just perfect.