A champion in waiting
A champion in waiting
2020 has been a different year for everyone. How was it for you?
It was an unexpected year for everyone, but I felt like I was lucky enough to find myself in places where I could keep training and pushing my windsurfing throughout the year. I definitely missed competing but it felt really good too at the same time to just focus on training, testing and enjoying my time on the water.
How was getting "locked in paradise"?
I just arrived on Maui a few days before the whole world went on lockdown, so I was stuck on Maui for 4 months. We were extremely lucky that we were allowed to practice water sports and cross the beach to go windsurfing and surfing. It was “funny” because with this Covid situation you wouldn’t find the casual photoshoot vibe and crowd that you get in spring, instead it was more local people that didn’t used to sail that much anymore that were on the water. So, it was actually quite busy considering there was no one travelling to the island. I felt a bit of the same thing happening when I got to the Canaries, people were definitely trying to enjoy more outdoors and sports. I guess it’s a good way to escape from all this Covid mess and do what you love while keeping social distancing.
With the PWA Tour getting cancelled, how did you organize your year?
My original plan was to travel to the usual places for winter and preseason training and after that to go full swing into the competitions. I was definitely fired up to compete and try to get good results, which is what I had been training for. So, it definitely felt weird when I suddenly found myself stopped from it. But even without events I travelled to the Canaries right after being stuck on Maui for four months and then went to Denmark for a Team trip for some testing and filming. So, it almost felt just like following the Tour in a different way.
It was good to just spend some more time with my teammates sailing together, testing and enjoying some more relaxed training sessions with “less pressure”. At the end of the day, I windsurf because it’s my favorite thing in the world to do, so I’m just happy to be on the water as much as I can, trying to learn and improve.
While road tripping and training around Europe during last summer, did you sail any new spots?
When we were in Denmark, I sailed a couple new spots for me that had really good potential and were super fun. One was starboard tack down the line and the other one was cross-off port tack.
Denmark is just a prime place to be during the European autumn. It gets hit by all those big storms offering really good windsurfing conditions with a lot of variety. The particular shape of the stretch of coast in Thy combined with all the little reefs and beach breaks is what makes it so special. In one day, you can sail from side-onshore jumping conditions to super fun playful down the line waves.
You have been pushing super hard the last few years and your rankings were pointing to the top. Right after announcing you were moving to Fanatic and Duotone and training full time with your friend and multiple times World Champion Victor Fernandez, we could see and feel that you were ready to hit a podium on the PWA! How did you live this break/postponement of the season when you were ready to give it all?
It was weird mentally as I have been doing the tour since 2014 and always trying to improve, but I took it as a chance to get my gear dialed-in and to train harder in conditions where I was normally less comfortable, like Maui.
If the PWA gets to celebrate some events in 2021, which one are you most looking forward to?
To be honest, at this point any event is welcome and I’m excited to compete anywhere. I think it’s going to be hard to put on the lycra and go under pressure again, but definitely a lot of fun!
How is it when you are back home sailing with friends and locals, now that you are windsurfing super star?
It’s rare for me being home and I’m always travelling and on tour, so I guess it’s cool for them to share a session with someone that is from there and that now competes on the PWA (at least I remember loving it when it was happening to me when I was younger!) and I think it’s even cooler when you show up at your home spot one of the day together with the legend that Victor Fernandez is!
It’s always awesome to bring one of your best mates and World Champion to your local beach. Conditions weren’t amazing that day, but we all had a blast and I think the other locals enjoyed us sailing there at a time of the year when we are normally in Northern Europe competing in Sylt.
From outside we can see that Victor and you are close friends and motivate each other. What is Victor for you? How important is it to have a close friend on the team?
Victor is someone really special for me, we have been friends for a long time now and it feels awesome to be on the same team now and work alongside him. I’ve always looked up to him a lot as the amazing competitor, windsurfer and humble human being that he is. It’s been a big influence for me growing up as a person and as a competitor next to him and he’s taught me more than one lesson for sure during this time! We also push each other a lot on the water, for example our first stalled doubles we learned them together a few summers back after the events on the Canaries!
But, overall, it’s just freaking awesome sharing a team, gear, sessions and work ideas with one of your best friends, it just makes things much more exciting and fun.
What keeps you motivated?
Just windsurfing and general makes me motivated, especially when it’s about pushing your limits or sailing epic conditions with friends. But I have to say a big part of my motivation is in the gear too. I love testing gear; I love trying new stuff and I love thinking about how to improve something or what I could change to make it better. I guess it all comes from all the racing in my younger years and my dad and I trying and changing set ups and masts, etc. to go better and faster.
Any wish for 2021?
To keep windsurfing as much as I can and hopefully seeing some events again!
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