Girls Who Rip: Amandine Bouhour
Where do you live or consider your home base?
I’m currently living on my sailboat and cruising in the Caribbean!
What do you consider to be your main sport/passion and how did you get started in it?
Windsurfing, specifically wavesailing, is my main sport, but I love water sports and outdoors sports in general. I started windsurfing when I was very young, I come from a family who loves to sail! But I didn’t keep it up because I was learning with my cousins who were all guys and could hold on to heavier sails than me. We’d never end up rigging small enough gear, and I got discouraged. When I met my partner Tom, I got access to gear and a motivated instructor, so I started it up again. He pretty quickly introduced me to wavesailing and I’m hooked!
What motivates you?
I love being challenged and being outdoors. Sports that require collaboration with nature and its ultra powerful elements, like wind and waves, I find challenging and rewarding to a whole other level, and that motivates me. I used to be a gymnast, which was a mental and physical challenge. Later, I started rockclimbing, whitewater kayaking, and then sailing and surfing. These sports have another level of complexity because you’re out in conditions that change constantly. Also these sports get you out to the most spectacular places, even if the conditions aren’t great, it’s always worth the outing!
What do you fear most and how do you overcome it?
Lately, since living on the boat, I’ve been dealing with much more fear on a regular basis. The fact that our home floats and is subject to harsh elements and could potentially sink freaks me out! But the way I deal with this is trusting our preparation, for example the extensive research we’ve done on having proper equipment (like our oversized anchor), and trusting our capacity to avoid bad situations and deal with them if they arise. We still make mistakes, but we learn so much from them each time and are improving!
What’s one of your 2021 goals?
I’ve recently started a YouTube channel called Postcards From Bagheera to share our adventures on our sailboat. It’s been a great creative outlet and a fun way to document our journey. One of my goals is to build the channel and I hope to eventually make it a source of revenue for us to sustain our sailing plans. If you’re interested in travel and sailing, check it out and let me know what you think!
What’s your top tip for a beginner looking to get into your sport?
Be patient. Windsurfing is one of the toughest sports to learn. There are so many factors that will get in your way of making it easier for yourself, such as gear or conditions not being adapted to learning. If beginner gear and conditions aren’t available in your backyard, you might want to consider traveling. If you’re able to go somewhere warm, with flat water, and consistent wind for even just a week you will improve SO MUCH! And you’ll then be able to enjoy your home conditions that much more with your improved skills.
What do you do to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly?
We try to make our life on the boat as eco-friendly as possible. We’ve installed a large solar system with which we can power all of our daily usage in electricity. It powers our fridge, electronics, lights, navigation equipment, etc. We have limited water storage on board, so are very very careful with our water usage. And we try to move around by sail as much as possible, for one because we love sailing, but also to avoid using our diesel engine. We’re usually not in a hurry and can pick and chose our weather to go places so that’s been key to sailing rather than motoring as much as possible
Who or what inspires you?
People that push the limits of what’s possible! For example, Laura Dekker, the youngest sailor to sail around the world solo at just 15 years old, and Clarice Crémer, who just completed the Vandee Globe and beat the record for fastest woman to circumnavigate single-handed. These feats seem so out of reach to me and these women are just going for it, it’s so inspiring!
What are your tips on overcoming bro’s and bad vibes in your sport?
Support each other! There can be a lot of pride and competitiveness when it comes to performance. Some competition can push you to improve, but at the end the of day, supporting beginners and boosting their confidence is the best thing to promote the sport! We’re all out there to have fun!
Do you have any sustainable travel hacks or tips?
I use period underwear, and they’ve been a game changer for me travel-wise. They’re so practical and comfortable, so I always pack them combined with my menstrual cup. It’s made traveling less stressful and easier as I have less to lug around. And it reduces waste a ton! On a boat particularly it has double the benefits; first because waste can be difficult to store and manage, and second because it’s eco-friendly!
What is your day job, and how do you manage work/fun balance?
I used to work part time as a nurse. I had an abnormal schedule (working weekends and evenings), which meant I could group my work days and then have a few days off in a row for outdoor ventures ! It was a great work/life balance, and I was still able to save up for this sailing adventure. As we cruise, I’m currently not working, although putting time into our YouTube channel, and the plan is to find a job at the next place we stay put for a while to save up again for another adventure!
Have you experienced any traumatic or scary events in your sport and how did you overcome it?
I’m kind of stubborn, and push myself out into tough conditions. I’ve been rewarded for it by improving really fast, but have also had my share of scary times. I find that when I get really washed by a wave or lose my gear, I tend to panic and over-react at first, and the situation is usually not as bad as it feels. I try to take deep breaths and relax even in those scary moments, so I can best handle them. Mind centering, meditation, and breathing exercises off the water can be great practice for this!
How do you cross train in your down time?
This is something I’ve had to adapt to living on a sailboat. I’m usually a very active person, I used to bike to work, have an active job (I worked at the ER), rockclimb indoors and do yoga regularly in between sailing sessions. On the boat, our space is more limited and conditions for exercise aren’t always available. I’ve started doing some yoga on our bow regularly, and am working on adding some exercises to stay in shape even with this new lifestyle!
What are you currently struggling with?
We’ve recently moved onto our sailboat Bagheera, she’s a Morgan 32. It’s not a big boat for two people, a pup, and a lot of gear to live on. We have a long list of projects we want to do to make her more comfortable as a live-aboard. My environment being organized and clean is a huge factor in my general happiness (true for everyone, I think). We haven’t gotten the boat to a state that I feel at ease and homely in, and it often gets to me. But I need to be patient, it’s a work in progress and it’s getting there!
What are your favorite books?
Recently I’ve read and loved: -The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Marie Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows -Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng -Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens Not sailing related but they’re great reads, with some strong female characters, would highly recommend them!
What's something you're really proud of doing or accomplishing?
I would say, what I’m achieving with this sailing adventure. We’ve done an enormous amount of work on the boat, have managed gear and engine malfunctions, have braced ourselves through rough weather, and we’ve made it such a long way already ! I’m very proud of what we’ve made out of this opportunity and all that we’ve learned through this so far.
What are your favorite Sensi Swim pieces?
So many! I love the different colorways and that I can mix and match all my pieces, even from different collections. My favorite pieces at the moment are the Colleen top, Emma bottoms, and Laura Leggings!
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