This is how Małgorzata Cieplińska ended up as the winner of the Planet Baltic SUP Race 2018 in Kołobrzeg where I saw her for the first time. I had the opportunity to see her in person. She was absolutely concentrated during both the warm – up and the competitions. She took the fore position leaving all opponents in the first seconds after the start. She won all 5 stages in women’s competition. She was 9th in men’s downwind race.
I don’t know where such person hides so much strength.
It took me a month to overcome my shyness to contact Gosia on Facebook. She accepted my offer to meet in Gdańsk.
Floating together on the SUP boards on the Baltic Sea – this was how I imagined an interview with my idol. I suggested Drukarnia café – my favorite place in Trójmiasto. I hoped that familiar whereabouts would encourage me. I was nervous because I had never met a SUP competitor before. Finally I caught Gosia at her office, during a break between patients.
Engineer on High Heels: You have a strong grip while handshaking. Years of trainings on the water?
Małgorzata Cieplińska: Really? Active lifestyle since childhood is probably the reason.
EoHH: How did it happen that you decided to start in SUP competitions?
MC: Completely accidentally. I was invited to a friendly race organized by my friend from Baltica. I took part in it. I liked it. As a result, I decided to start at least in one competition a year.
EoHH: It is hard to push you down from the podium when looking at your achievements. Your results speak for themselves. Do you feel rather an amateur or a professional in this sport?
MC: Floating on SUP board and taking part in competitions seems to be my hobby whenever I have time. This is my way of getting rid of stress too. Certainly there are people who would easily push me down from the podium.
A good start is a matter of equipment, preparation and experience. People who train on the sea, which is more challenging, are better prepared comparing with people practising on still water even if they use the same training patterns. Frequent floating on the water, as well as the diversified training with strength and stamina exercises, plus the regularity increase chances to win.
I don’t feel professional at all. I just like what I do and I’m happy with my achievements. I think everyone is proud of their successes.I’m a bit lacking to be called a professional yet. I know that I still have a long way to achieve professionalism on the world level.
EoHH: What is your ‘price’ of having such results?
MC: I’m not a professional. I train from time to time so it is hard for me to reach it at any price. There is no sacrifice in my case what I have to give up or lose due to training because in reality I don’t practise much. I only devote my private time to my hobby. I do what I like so I don’t treat it as dedication.
I try to float on my board at least once a week. It is more difficult to me to find time during summer season due to my work. So this one day a week on the water is really nothing considering the whole training. I would like to put more attention to this but it is impossible now.
EoHH: Do you add any physical activities if you are on the water so seldom?
MC: Yes. I’m aware that training on the water once a week is definitely not enough. That is why I try to combine different sport activities. This year I have started skateboarding. It is great to practise balance coordination. I spend a lot of time developing my skills mostly in surfing than competing. Training on the skate park made me get up earlier. I usually give up sleeping to do more. In addition, I try to do strength training or jogging at least twice a week to improve my physical efficiency.
What is funny that I manage to do everything what I plan during in one week and doing nothing in another one. So this is not a training that can lead me to something quickly.
I try to go abroad once a year to a place where I have waves all the time, which allows me to develop my surfing skills every day during my stay. Of course, the Baltic Sea offers the possibility of floating on waves but quite often you have to wait long for favorable conditions. I mostly choose the Canary Islands to surf in more difficult conditions – bigger waves, stronger currents. I see my progress during such trip.
EoHH: How do you keep fit out of season?
MC: Paradoxically it is easier for me in Winter than Summer. My job involves less time so I’m more free to SUP.
EoHH: But conditions to float are worse.
MC: Conditions don’t bother me. I got used to them. I float in the same wetsuit as in Summer. The only change is that I wear neoprene shoes. I managed to train on the water four times a week in January this year because of my preparations for the competition in France. It was a big success for me. Unfortunately I got bad flu that time which made me give up the challenge. The illness exhausted me so much that now I am actually starting to build my fitness from beginning.
EoHH: What when you fall into the water?
MC: If you want to be good at what you do, whether you SUP or ride a horse, you have to be ready to fall. It is unavoidable.
I floated very securely at the beginning, avoiding getting wet. I was so tense that I couldn’t practise anything, I couldn’t do anything right. I knew that it makes no sense so I changed my approach, thanks to which my trainings became more effective. I put my wetsuit on and fall into the water as it happens. I don’t feel cold. Of course, the first wetting is the most difficult. It is not a nice feeling when cold water is getting under your wetsuit. This is definitely the worst moment. Later it is only better as body warms up. Because I don’t use a dry suit I prefer early contact with the water. Therefore, first I get wet to be used to conditions before I start training.
EoHH: SUP is the only sport for me which practising puts my weight on. The reason is huge hunger that comes to me after floating. I’m starving regardless of the distance I cover on my board. I literally sweep everything out of the fridge, ignoring that I bite sweet stuff with spicy flavors. How about you? What kind of food do you devour after exhausting training on water?
MC: My weight has not changed for many years, so I don’t have any problems. You surprised me with this question. I rather don’t have any desire for something special. I don’t feel like having anything sweet after training. Because I don’t eat meat or dairy I usually prepare pasta or rice with vegetables – dishes that can be quickly cooked.
EoHH: A question often asked during women’s interviews is about the number of shoes pairs in the closet. But I would like to ask about the number of surf / SUP boards you own?
MC: My own collection consists 2 surf and 5 SUP boards.
EoHH: Seriously? I’m jealous!
MC: Years of collecting …
EoHH: Do you prefer hard or inflatable boards?
MC: Definitely hard. They are better for me, although the fall hurts more. I have more fun floating on a hard board.
EoHH: So it means that you haven’t any problem with transport?
MC: Transport of my equipment is not a problem for me at all. I have a large car to my disposition adapted to my needs. Two hard boards easily enter. The rest of equipment goes on the roof rack if necessary.
EoHH: Which preferable activity on a SUP board is your favourite?
MC: I like surfing best, although I know I still have a lot to do. This activity gives me the greatest pleasure. I am always full of energy seeing waves more than calm water.
In addition to fun, floating on the sea teaches a lot. These are more difficult, unpredictable conditions, but develop best sense of equilibrium. I think that training on troubled water is necessary to be good at SUP.
EoHH: How does your starting program look for this year?
MC: So far, I’m planning one event. Taking part in Planet Baltic SUP Race in Kołobrzeg is my 100 % sure.
However, my appearance at competitions that I take under consideration may be updated. I will start if I have time.
EoHH: Which are your favorite competitions?
MC: I think that I don’t have any. I generally like to start. I don’t make fuss. My favorites are those on waves. At the same time, they stress me the most because my skills aren’t at a super level. I always try to be as good as I can. I am aware of my limitations. Being better in surfing is my plan for the next 2 – 3 years. I intend to follow my graphics consistently and achieve my goals in surfing.
EoHH: Start in a dream competition is?
MC: My dream start is a typical wave competition, where I can use my skills in making tricks and improve technical approach to wave. This is probably something that I would like to achieve most. I hope that one day I will be able to compete with international competitions, although I know that the first starts will be treated as an adventure and reconnaissance. The world level is very high, so I have to put a lot of work to gain it. It doesn’t mean that it is not achievable.
EoHH: I will keep my fingers crossed for your success. Thank you for the meeting. I’m very pleased that you found time for me. I can’t wait till August. I hope that we will meet in Kołobrzeg. Good luck.
MC: Thank you for the interest. I hope we will be able to float together one day. Maybe in Kołobrzeg. I convince you to take part in the event. It’s really great fun and unforgettable. So see you?