Up in our Spotlight series today: Klaas Voget! From well-decorated competitive athlete to renowned tester, Marketing Manager and father of two, Klaas has forged his vocation in windsurfing through hard work, ability and dedication. Read more about Klaas hereafter!
Let’s rewind to the start of 2017 – how are you looking back on the season?
It’s been a hectic year, but it started off pretty mellow with a trip to South Africa and an amazing family trip to Chile. I just love that place, it’s one of the most chilled places I know and at the same time offers world class wave conditions. After that I’ve been on Maui for the annual Fanatic/North photo shoot and then the surf festival and a few shorter SUP shootings before the PWA season started. The events itself were soso for me, I had the feeling I was sailing good, but got knocked out too early for my taste, against the same hot newcomer in every event. With Maui not happening I had no chance for a come back, so the overall season ranking is not really what I was hoping for. Other than that it’s been a great year with lots of good sailing, very good results of our team and very good feedback on the equipment we develop.
Highs and Lows?
I guess the lows were the moments when they tell you that you’ve lost your heat by a margin. The highs were free sailing in Chile and on Maui. I had one incredible day in Chile in March and I can also recall an unreal session with Victor out at Kuau on Maui in November. I had the sickest Wave 360 of my life that day in a mast high punchy wave, that made my entire trip!
Did you do anything different in terms of training and did it make a difference?
I was not really able to hang out on Gran Canaria for a month prior to the first event this year, so got a bit less prep time as most other competitors for the canaries stops of the tour. I think it wouldn’t have made a big difference for my result, but of course it feels good to have spent some more time in the water there. I came a week early and that week the conditions were not really on. For the training itself my strategy is simple, I just try to catch good days and have fun.
What is your favourite board in your portfolio you would never toss?
At the moment my favourite is the Grip 76. I’m quite light, so for me that board does it all – from 5.0 float and ride to 3.7 maxed out air time. I just tune it a little different in the different conditions, but then I can really ride it from Sylt to Hookipa. It’s the most versatile wave board I’ve ever had for sure!
Who do you look up to and why for inspiration in windsurfing and outside of the sport?
Inside of Windsurfing there is many guys. Kauli for his carves in Cross-Off conditions, Levi & Brawzinho for their Wave tricks, Victor and Philip for their overall sailing in Cross-On and Polakow for the late hits and the big wave stuff. I love all that! Outside of Windsurfing it’s got to be Kelly Slater – that guy is a phenomenon. So much fire and still able to keep up with the top surfers in the world with an age of 45yrs
What advice would you give to young groms looking to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to not take it too serious. You’ve got to have fun and enjoy! Being a windsurf pro is not a job that’s going to fill up your bank account like a tennis pro, but it’s filling your life with priceless times and experiences on and off the water. It’s an amazing life, but be realistic, it’s not going to feed you forever – if it does at all. So make sure you put education first, then try to be a windsurf pro.
Who do you credit as part of your success?
I guess that’s my parents for offering the platform to start and progress. They bought the first windsurfer and drove us to the best places during our school holidays once my brothers and I were hooked.
Where do you see your future in the sport/immediate and long term plans?
I’m already part of the internal Fanatic Team for a few years, so it’s a smooth transition for me from being a full time pro to a mix of marketing, product development and life on tour as a windsurf pro.
Funniest moment on tour from 2017?
The videos of my kids watching me compete on the live stream. Makes you forget pretty quick that you lost your heat.
Turns or airs?
Home or Hawaii?
I love both!
Thrusters or Quads?
At the moment I prefer Quads. But It always depends on the style of the board. In the Stubby I love the Thruster, but in the Grip I prefer a Quad setup.
High boom or low boom?
I think I ride my boom pretty average, somewhere in the middle.
Big winds or big waves?
Big waves for sure!
What do you expect from your winter training and what skills do you want to improve?
I just want to score some good days. If I do, the overall skill level goes up by itself.
Finally, what are you looking forward to in 2018?
We’re moving closer to the Baltic Sea, so I’ll be able to hit the water more often and also live a bit closer to Denmark. I’m looking forward to score more Klitmøller and Hanstholm sessions compared to the last few years then. Also I hope to squeeze in another Chile trip at some point in 2018!
More about Klaas: http://www.fanatic.com/team/klaas-voget/