May 26, 2011
Author: Katie Crafts
Tatiana Howard and Shawna Cropas are joining forces where the Butterfly Effect meets Aloha Clinics in Maui and Fiji. The two women have each worked and played on Maui for years, and this year are partnering to create weeks of coaching followed by the celebratory Butterfly Effect. Check out their clinics online here: www.betheeffect.com.
Tell us about how you two met and why you decided to join forces:
Shawna Cropas: I was running Aloha Windsurfing Clinics with Matt where all levels of sailors and sexes were invited to take part. I had a few women on my clinics who mentioned they would enjoy a women's only weeklong clinic. So I put one together and thought it would be great if Tatiana joined us as a fellow instructor as she had been doing so many great things with women via the Butterfly Effect. It was a natural choice as we'd casually toyed with the idea over the last year on the beach already. It was just a matter of putting it into action.
Tatiana Howard: We were both always at Ho'okipa surfing, windsurfing, or just enjoy the ocean. I knew Shawna had a cool thing going with the Aloha Clinics getting people stoked on the water, and I had The Butterfly Effect going doing the same thing. We both discussed it would be fun to collaborate with each other and provide a new experience for water women worldwide!
Why did you choose Fiji for your destination clinic?
TH: I went to Fiji last year and had an amazing time. I came back explaining to Shawna about Fiji being an ideal location for a clinic and she was up for collaborating to provide a great instructional week for women in Fiji. Safari Lodge is a tiny island off the northern tip of the main island and offers steady winds, sandy bottom, a variety of rigged equipment right off the beach, beauty everywhere, and an overall humble feeling.
The Butterfly Effect and the Aloha Clinics both stress camaraderie and the social side of windsurfing. Why do you focus there?
TH: Because it is fun! I got into windsurfing because of friends and having a good time at the beach. It is nice to opportunity to share this fun factor of windsurfing with others and not worry about level, but just to get out there and enjoy!
SC: I think it's great to have the competitive side to windsurfing and event centered around who's the best. It pushes everyone's levels up......... But it may also leave a big percent of people behind. Not everyone wants to risk life and limb to be the best. This example is best showed by the Butterfly Effect itself. It's a downwinder for women to either sail, sup or kite together downwind: a non-competitive fun event with a huge social scene surrounding it. Hundreds of women show up. So it shows they want to be a part of the fun, an adventure, an event, and a lively social scene.... Yet when we run windsurfing competitions you're lucky if 6 girls show up to compete. The numbers speak for themselves. I personally love seeing woman on the water being active and being a part of the fun.
You’re both very skilled windsurfers- why are you focusing on the teaching and clinic side of windsurfing instead of competing? Do either of you have plans to compete? Why or why not?
SC: I used to compete when I lived in Europe. It was a fun way to be a part of everything but I never took it too seriously. I like things that inspire me to do personally better or enjoy the moment. Usually those moments derive from fantastic action photos of other female sailors, a positive conversation with a fellow athlete, a laugh on the water or an encouraging whoop whoop. It's not to say I wouldn't compete for the fun of it should a competition cross my radar, it's just not on the top of my priority list.
TH: I started The Butterfly Effect in 2007 because there wasn't too much happening event wise on Maui, especially for the women. I did the PWA and liked being a part of an event, but since I was creating the event I decided to make it a little different. I dreamed up my ideal event and it turned out to be non-competitive, free, for fun and with all water girls! I still like to compete once in a while and think it is beautiful to see advance sailors come out and perform in a contest!
If you were given a job to double the number of women who windsurf (and had an endless amount of money to do so), what would you do? Where would you focus your energy?
TH: I would sign them up at the Aloha Windsurfing meets Butterfly Effect clinic weeks, and have them start learning at great beginning locations like Maui and Fiji.. and Shawna recommends Greece too! I think it is important to start learning the sport in a comfortable, easy area, with good instructors to make it the best experience. Once they got it down they can join for downwinders around the globe with The Butterfly Effect and give back to local communities they visit at the same time!
SC: I spend my money on events like the Vass Class. It's a weeklong event in Greece for the whole family with fun competitions, windsurfing instruction for all levels of sailors, crazy social night out where they dress up in something wild every night including a tux and gown night. There's something going on for everyone and it's a week of wild windsurfing antics and social delights. There was a jump contest here this summer with the best photograph winning (everyone had a chance to vote on the pics). I thought that was a new fun way to run an event. People came dressed up in a sorts of silly gear. Maybe some workshops on how to compete and guest instructors to teach all different levels of sailor something new. Keep it light, keep it fun kind of thing.
Tatiana, you’re just coming off the first ever snow Butterfly Effect in Switzerland. How was it?
TH: It was amazing! We had 40 women come for the event from several different countries. We had skiing, snowboarding, and telemarking clinics in the morning of slope, park, or pipe, and then a down-"hill" (instead of downwind) run. All the girls were stoked and haven't seen a event like this one in the snow, so it was great. We had leis from Hawaii and did a yoga/warm up stretch on the mountain in snowboard boots too! It was amazing to see everyone improve their sport throughout the day, meet friends from around the world, and have so much fun on the mountain.