Plans cut short.

Norwegian Severne rider Martin Møller Hovda has had a great 2019 season and was preparing for another full year on the competition scene. But as with many others, his plans were cut short by COVID-19 and he had to leave the ideal training grounds of Tarifa to head back to the Norwegian Winter. That didn’t set him back and he has kept up his training schedule on the western coast of Norway. Check out his story below.

Photos by Oscar Andres

Martin explains

2019 was a good year for me. I took big steps and had the best season of my life. I finished in the IFCA worlds, became IFCA European champion and made several losers and winners finals on the PWA world tour. Some key factors behind this results was more physical training combined with gear that was better suited for me.
But what made the biggest difference from the 2018 season was that I started to use my head in the races. Since I was young I had this all or nothing mentality. I always went all-in in everything I did. It did not matter which sport or what I was doing.

I was winter training in Tenerife and sailing as aggressive as if my life was depending on it. I was not holding back on anything. I was also doing alpine skiing in my younger years and it was always a 50/50% chance if I would get a podium or if I would crash. 

With that mentality I got some really good results, but I also burned a lot of great chances to good results. I was taking way to big risks compare to what was necessary. I evaluated the 2018 season and found out that my biggest improvement potential at that moment was to calm down a few steps and turn on the brain. I focused a lot on that in 2019 and it for sure made me a better and more stable sailor.

I have spent my four last winters in Tenerife, but this year I felt like doing a change. I decided to go to Tarifa this winter. I love Tenerife, but because of the new format in the PWA(foiling and slalom combined), I wanted more varied conditions and more opportunities to go foiling. I was a quite unexperienced to this foil-slalom thing, so what is better than train together with my team mate and head foil developer for Severne/Starboard Gonzalo Costa Hovel. The speed machine Gunnar Asmussen and a bunch of other top PWA riders was also there, so I got top matching every day.

The COVID-19 was growing in Asia when I flew to Malaga mid-January, but than we still had no knew cases in Europe. PWA Japan and Korea got cancelled. It was a sad call, but correct and I think most of us saw it coming.  Things in Tarifa was at this time still going as normal and my focus was 100% dedicated to the PWA opening in Marignane. The weeks flew and suddenly we got some COVID-19 cases in Europe. In the end of February, I decided to go home and continue my training in Norway. That was a good call. I just got home before the “chaos” started. I was lucky….

I got home safely and continued my training where I live on the west coast of Norway. The change from 20 degrees short arm wetsuit to 2 degrees and 6mm full wetsuit is always rough, but my motivation against the first PWA world cup in Marignane was strong, so I jumped straight into it.

Than the Marignane event got postponed! It was a bit hard for me to find motivation straight after that. It felt like I had nothing to work against and I knew Costa Brava was also in a critical position. I had some days with no motivation what so ever. But life goes on and sometimes you just have to force yourself back on the horse. I tried to stay positive and see possibilities instead of limitations.

My friends in countries like Spain and France are pretty much stuck in their houses. I am lucky to live in Norway where we can still go outside, train and do different kind of sports but with strict restrictions.

Now I am looking forward to get back on the racing course and to meet all of my windsurf friends again. Fingers crossed for the season to start in June with the PWA Portugal, but I in this situation we have to be prepared for more cancellations and postponements.

Take care of each other, stay positive and follow the restrictions. Better times is ahead of us. See you on the water!

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