19 Kasım 2015
Catchup with Cagla
Cagla Kubat on making a rapid return to the competition scene and being in the hunt for a Top 3 finish.
Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Severne) made a prompt return competition after giving birth to her and Jimmy Diaz’s (Starboard / North) first child, which saw the Turk finish 6th at her home spot — Alacati — in 2014. With a full winter of training under her belt Cagla has come back stronger than ever and is currently tied in joint 2nd place with fellow compatriots Lena Erdil (Patrik / Point-7 / AL360 / Mystic) and Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne) heading into the final event of the year, which takes place in New Caledonia between the 24th-29th November with the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup. Just before the grandstand finale to another enthralling PWA Slalom World Tour we caught up with Cagla to find out more about her return and her aim for the end of 2015:
PWA: Last time we caught up with you, you were 8 months pregnant! In 2014 you had your first baby and three months after you raced in the PWA event in Turkey and finished an impressive 6th place with limited training. Now in 2015 you are back to doing the whole tour. You finished third in the 2015 event in Alacati and are currently 3rd overall tied in points for second place with three other girls going into the last event in New Caledonia. First of all, this is quite a remarkably fast comeback to form. How did you do this?
CK: “After the 2013 season I was very motivated for racing in 2014 and I was in quite good shape. But I also wanted to start a family and Jimmy and I decided the time was right so 2014 would be the year. Obviously this meant that I would not be able to compete on the PWA World Tour and instead we concentrated on having a healthy pregnancy. We worked quite hard on it making sure to stay in very good shape and being on top of my diet and exercise regimen. This meant eating better than I ever did before being on a very healthy, and as much as possible, organic diet. I was very strict on this being very careful with even the type of water I was drinking. Exercise wise, I adapted my training as I progressed throughout my pregnancy. Up to the last day of my pregnancy I was in the gym. I think another factor was that I insisted on a natural birth without any drugs or pain killers. I believe this is the healthiest way to deliver for both the baby and the mother and I think this was huge in my recovery. After having the baby I was quite anxious to get back on the board but had to be held back by Jimmy and my doctor’s orders. You obviously need a little bit of time to allow your body to recover, but I immediately felt ready to get back on and go in the water. I listened to my doctor and didn’t rush it too much and it gave me just a little bit of time before the PWA event in Turkey. I knew it would be very difficult to get a good result but I was quite happy getting 6th shortly after giving birth.”
PWA: And for 2015, what were your ambitions coming into the year?
CK: “My goal at the beginning of the year was to be on the podium by the end of the season. I felt that if I could fully regain my form from 2013, then I stood a good chance of doing that. Of course this was going to be a big challenge as having a baby is a major life change and I needed to now catch up to the rest of the girls that had been training non-stop. I finished 5th in Korea which was a good start but I had ambitions for a better result. I have been working quite hard on all aspects of my sailing and focused all summer to do better in the PWA event in Alacati. I used the Turkish League races as a tune up strategically working on very specific things instead of focusing solely on the race result. This was a bit hard to do as you always want to get a good result but together with Jimmy we decided this was the best way to work on all the things that would get me on the PWA podium in August. This meant trying all sorts of new things which is very risky normally during races. In the end it paid off and now I find myself in a better position going into the final event.”
PWA: Having missed most of the 2014 season, did you see any differences in the level of the women on tour?
CK: “The most obvious difference was the number of women racing. The numbers have increased and along with it the level. In the 2015 event in Alacati, we had 31 women competing which is the most I have ever seen at a PWA race. This is great for the sport and for the women. I have been pushing very hard for years in Turkey to promote the sport as much as I can so I was also very proud to see the Turkish numbers increasing not only in the Turkish events but also on the PWA World Tour. It is very nice to see now that 3 out of the top 4 women in the women’s rankings are Turkish. This makes me incredibly proud to see that.”
PWA: What equipment is your favorite to race on?
CK: “This year I am racing on Starboard iSonics and Severne Reflex 6. I love this equipment. This year I registered 87, 97, and 110 and I can honestly say I love all of them. Sail wise I feel I am going quite good on my 8.6, 7.8, 7.0. In Alacati it is sometimes difficult to use smaller sails than this but I am enjoying my 6.2 quite a lot also. My 97 and 7.0 are perhaps the most fun combination. For fins, I am using a combination of Z-Fins and Meanline fins depending on the conditions.”
PWA: You have quite an interesting story with quite a diverse background. If we understand correctly, you graduated from an Italian high school in Istanbul, have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, represented Turkey at the Miss Universe contest, have worked in television broadcasting, have modeled and starred in several television series. And you have somehow managed to win 8 Turkish National titles along the way, an IFCA European Championship along with your PWA results. And now you had a baby and are also running the Cagla Kubat Windsurf Academy in Alacati. How do you balance all this and still find the necessary time and energy to compete on the PWA Tour?
CK: “Jimmy is constantly asking me this. I have always been a very busy person and often have several projects going on at once. Ever since I was a child, I was like this. This has helped me maintain a somewhat balanced life but I also see that it is difficult to excel in all the things you are doing if you are doing too many. With the racing, this is becoming the case. The women are pushing very hard now so to keep up you have to make sure you don’t lose focus and concentration year round. And now with the baby it is more difficult to do everything but it is simply a matter of being motivated and a bit organised. Fortunately, I don’t lack in motivation.”
PWA: There are more and more Turkish sailors on the PWA tour. Windsurfing seems quite healthy there and several of the Turkish sailors are able to secure good sponsorship. What are your thoughts on this?
CK: “There are several reasons for the success of windsurfing here in Turkey. The first and foremost is that we have great places to practice and to race. Turkey has beautiful conditions and spots to learn the sport and to quickly progress. This is helping tremendously. The second is we have had the luck of having Pegasus Airlines support the sport so incredibly well. They have supported not only the PWA event for the past several years, but also our Turkish League. This gives us a great platform to practice and hone our skills for international competition. The third main reason is the PWA event that we have in Alacati every year. This gives us tremendous motivation and you see it specially in our younger athletes. This is such an important aspect for the growth of our sport and it really does wonders to have such an important event like this in your home country to see what the top level is about and allow those aspiring athletes to see first hand the top sailors in the world. All these things combine to the success of the sport here and help create a wonderful platform for companies to promote their products or services. This is the reason several of us are able to gain outside sponsorship here. This year my partner is Zumosol, a natural juice company that is eager to promote their natural and healthy products with a natural and healthy sport. It is a perfect match and goes to show how windsurfing is such a beautiful and dynamic way of showcasing a company’s products.”
PWA: Both you and Jimmy are obviously heavily involved in the sport. Your baby is now 1.5 years old. When will we see her on the water?
CK: “Haha… everybody is asking me this question! I want to give her some time and I don’t want to push her. I feel sometimes parents are too ambitious for their kids and push them into things they don’t necessarily want to do. I don’t want to be like that and prefer to let her choose her path. Of course I will introduce her to windsurfing and many other sports but in the end I will let her choose which way to go. Jimmy, on the other hand, is already designing a sail and board for a two year old He is ready to try next summer!!”
PWA: Last event of the season is coming up in less than one month in New Caledonia. What are your predictions?
CK: “This year is incredibly interesting. I think this is the first time we have had 4 girls tied in points going into the last event. Sarah-Quita [Offringa[ has a nice advantage, but without a discard, she will also have to keep pushing and make sure she doesn’t do any mistakes. Then the next four and five girls…this is going to be very interesting. The level is very close with four of us tied and Marion [Mortefon] just a couple of points behind. Anything can happen so it is very difficult to predict the outcome. My goal before the season was to be standing on the podium at the end of the season. I have been working towards this all season long and it would give me great pride if I were able to accomplish this and share the podium with my training partner, Fulya Unlu, who has helped push me tremendously.”
PWA: Thanks Cagla and good luck in the final event of the year.
Stay up to date with all of Cagla Kubat’s latest news by following her via her Social Media Networks, which can be found below: Facebook: Cagla Kubat Instagram: @caglakubat Twitter: @kubatcagla
11/19/2015 – created by Chris Yates