A miss, a beautiful model, a talented tv star, a caring mother, a supportive wife to our PWA president, and a windsurfing champion. Are these enough qualities to welcome Cagla to be part of our Point-7 Black Team? Well, there is a lot more to add, and we are more than happy to have her join our Girls’ Black Team.
Two years ago we had friends complaining about our team having only men members. They were right. Therefore, the last two years we worked in building a successful point7girls’ team. Today with Cagla joining, proves that we have not been static on the subject
Let’s discover more about Cagla and her multiple life roles’!
Cagla, you are covering a lot of roles in your life. You run a windsurfing academy in Alacati, you are racing, you have to take care of your family, modelling and tv. How do you manage to do it all in one day?
First of all, it is great to be a part of the Point-7 Black team. Point-7 is doing a great job with the sails and promoting the sport and I am very happy to be able to be a part of it. Thank you!
My life has always been very busy. I started modeling in University as a means to make some money. This lead to some jobs which lead to the opportunity to represent Turkey in the Miss Universe contest which then lead to jobs in television. I have not done all the jobs at the same time but I have always juggled different ones and always trying to get my windsurfing in somehow. The last television series I did was the most challenging in terms of time management as it was extremely intense and often I only had one day a week to go windsurf. This meant flying from Istanbul to Izmir to go sailing and then flying back immediately after. This went on for several years which was quite challenging for both windsurfing and acting.
Right now Jimmy and I are running the windsurf academy and working on numerous projects for that. I am also working on some television projects which I hope come to life soon, racing, and of course raising our baby girl…and making sure Jimmy has enough to eat!
Which of these roles do you prefer?
Having Selin is by far the most rewarding role of all. I could never before imagine the amount of love and emotions she would bring to us. It is really indescribable and as must as you see your friends and family with children, it is impossible to imagine how beautiful it is. It is really an incredible blessing. Next in line would be racing. I love to race but I also love the process of training, learning the equipment, preparing for races, testing, traveling, etc. I am absolutely addicted to windsurfing and racing and it is really one of my greatest pleasures in life.
Tell us how you got into windsurfing? We are confused. We know you studied mechanical engineering university in Italy, then we saw you winning the Miss Turkey contest, and then on a windsurfing podium…
I learned to windsurf in Alacati. I have been going to Alacati since I was a small child as my grandmother had a summer place in Cesme. One year we heard there were some Germans windsurfing in Alacati Bay and we went with my parents to have a look. We managed to rent a board and sail and started trying by ourselves without any instruction. It was quite comical since we had no idea what we were doing but I became immediately hooked on it. After that, whenever I went to Cesme, I would try to be on the water as much as possible.
I went to an Italian high school in Istanbul and afterwards I got my degree in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University. It was at ITU that I started doing some modeling jobs which eventually led to me participating in the Miss Turkey contest. Although I was never into this kind of thing, I saw that it was a way to get into television which was raising my interest. After being selected to represent Turkey at the Miss Universe contest in Puerto Rico, I came back and started getting offers to do television jobs. At first I did some news presenting, then some sports shows and talk shows, and eventually some television series. Throughout this whole process I always managed to make time to windsurf even though it meant taking a bus for 8 hours from Istanbul to Alacati and in the later years taking the flights back and forth. I always tried to compete whenever I could and managed to get some Turkish national titles along the way. I pushed in this aspect so much that it was actually a detriment to my television jobs.
Did you have more satisfaction to have won the Miss Turkey title, or to be winning a title in windsurfing?
Winning in both is of course incredibly nice…but winning a title in windsurfing is much more fun!!
You are married to Jimmy Diaz, president of the PWA. At the PWA, are you the wife of the President, or is Jimmy the husband of Cagla Kubat?
Ha ha! At PWA events I am for sure the wife of the president. In Turkey… 🙂
Now that Jimmy is married to a professional windsurfing girl, is the PWA taking more attention to the girls’ class? We have seen some new PWA events only for the girls’ slalom. Tell us more about them.
Yes! I have been pushing him like crazy!! Just kidding… I think if you look at the PWA and windsurfing competition in general, it looks like women’s slalom is experiencing a renaissance. There are many more women racing now than 3 or 4 years ago. In 2015 in Alacati we had the largest women’s fleet we’ve ever had since I have been competing. And now we are seeing the potential to have women’s events stand on their own as this year we hope to have women’s only events in Turkey and France. We see that there is this energy in women’s slalom that is just gaining more and more momentum. In Turkey we see it is contagious and we see the young girls showing up to races and the numbers are getting closer and closer to the boys participating in the events. This is a dream for me to see this as we have been pushing so hard to increase and promote participation in Turkey. I hope to see in the near future out of industry companies taking note and supporting the women’s side of the PWA as we have seen for example in the ATP with tennis.
You have a small girl. Are you the only one between the girl division who has a child?
When you travel to the events, do you manage to bring your daughter with you, as both of you parents are racing? I am not the first and certainly not the only one. Valerie has been competing for years since she had a child and she was really an inspiration to see how well she managed to keep her level up. We take Selin with us to the national events in Turkey as there it is more manageable for us since I am the only one competing. The international events have been difficult to bring her as we are both competing. But I believe this year she will be traveling with us as she is a little older now and we know a little better what we are doing 🙂
Not many years ago you have opened the Cagla Kubat Academy. A beautiful windsurfing centre in the bay of Alacati. We know you have been promoting a lot of youth activity. What are the main events and objectives from your windsurfing academy?
Alacati is a great place for windsurfing and perhaps one of the best in the world for learning. I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to increase participation and the popularity of the sport in Turkey. One of the biggest objectives we have at the school is focused on youth. As everyone says, the youth are our future, and this holds incredibly true in windsurfing. In a lot of the parts of the world we see windsurfing more as an older generation sport. There is a big need to bring the young kids into the sport and this is one of my biggest focus. Every year we organize events for kids only. Last year we had almost 100 kids. It was awesome to see how into it they are and also how excited their families are about the racing. There is a tremendous energy with them!! This is something I want to continue doing and do it not only for Turkish sailors but also for international sailors like we did a couple of years ago organizing the IFCA slalom youth and junior worlds.
How do you compare the environment between the people working on tv, compared the environment with the professional windsurfers?
It is quite a different environment in one sense but quite similar in another. Both windsurfers and actors are very passionate people. They love what they do, they are emotional, and for the most part, they have very fun and alive personalities. Acting in my last tv series was very fun as I played a police woman and was part of a special team from the police force. It was also quite an active role always chasing the bad guys around. I also had a great team of actors and support crew which made the long hours very fun. Windsurfing is of course tremendously fun but at events it can also be quite stressful, and since it is a competition, it is sometimes difficult to relax with it all.
How is it seen between your tv star colleagues, that you are competing at high level in windsurfing, in what can be considered an alternative sport? To be honest, I am not sure what they think. Some of the cast were very supportive and happy for me to represent my country at events. Others a bit less as they saw it as me getting time off when they didn’t. In my last series I had it in my contract to allow me to take time off for events. Eventually this became a bit of a resentment to some of the crew and it became complicated for my bosses and scriptwriters as they had to have me on a training mission or injured or some other excuse to not be present. But for the most part, Turkish people are very proud of their teams and athletes and try to support as much as possible.
Windsurfing in Turkey is appreciated, especially in some areas of the country is highly developed. There are lot of great slalom riders doing the PWA from Turkey. What was the reason of this growth?
Yes, it is great to see how many Turkish riders are doing the PWA and especially on the women’s side of slalom. I think this growth can be attributed to several different factors. For one, we really have nice conditions for sailing in Turkey. Alacati is the most famous, but there are numerous other places that are less known that have a good number of sailors. The second factor is that we have had the luck of good support from companies like Pegasus Airlines that have really believed in the sport and supported not only Turkish National events but also the PWA event in Alacati. I think having a steady, strong national tour is what allows sailors to develop their skills and talent on a consistent basis. Having the juniors be a part of this tour allows the talent to grow and now we are seeing this in Turkey with the great success of some of our young sailors like Fulya Unlu and Poyraz Akay who have achieved great results in the PWA and IFCA respectively. The third factor is having a PWA event in Turkey. This does wonders for the popularity of the sport and serves as a great motivator for our national sailors. Getting the opportunity to see the very best windsurfers in the world race right in front of you is a tremendous motivation and you can see the look on the young windsurfers eyes how they want to be a part of it in the future. I think this has helped us tremendously.
Objective for your windsurfing centre and your racing for 2015?
Very easy. For the windsurfing center we will continue pushing our youth programs and continue having youth events that help motivate and cultivate talent. We plan to do a series of races over the Summer and hope to make them bigger and better than ever before. As far as my racing is concerned, I want to be on that podium as much as possible and especially at the end of the year.