Hélène Noesmoen, three-times windsurfing World Champion
How did you get into windsurfing?
"It was something we did together as a family. I tried out various sports and realised my passion for adrenaline. I was born by the sea and my family life was governed by the tides, and by water sports. So windsurfing was a natural choice for me. The water is definitely where I belong! I began sailing in Les Sables-d'Olonne, at the local sports and water sports school. I started in an Optimist class vessel, before turning to windsurfing. As early as my secondary school years, I had dedicated time off to practice my sailing. In Vendée, water sports are extremely popular and people practice these activities all year round, even though the weather can be challenging in winter."
What competitive honours have you received?
"I'm a three-times windsurfing World Champion! I won my first World Championship in 2007, in the junior category (under 17). I won in the same category again the following year. I then moved into the RS:X Olympic class, and the international senior circuit. A few months before the London Olympics, I put in a great performance at the 2012 World Championships, coming 15th in the senior category and winning the title in the youth category (under 21). I'm currently preparing for the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020."
What's the best place for visitors to try out windsurfing in Vendée?
"There are lots of place you can go sailing in Vendée. The best idea is to try out various beaches and find one with the right wind direction. It all depends on the weather! There are plenty of options to suit all abilities and tastes. Weather conditions are very important when it comes to water sports. When it's windy, our beaches have great waves for surfing. However, during warmer, calmer weather, the beaches are a great place to relax and soak up the sun!"