In Japan I made a losers final and the top 16 which was awesome. I was in a semi-final there with all the big guns and that was so much of a thrill. At whatever level you are at it is a new challenge. In freestyle I have climbed right to the top echelon with the likes of Gollito Estredo and Adrien Bosson, so to beat those guys now and compete for the title is a battle of the highest order. You have to start somewhere. In windsurfing there is no way to start in any area and be the best already on the PWA tour. You need the experience. Even foiling took a lot of races to understand the tactics whereas some of the guys who used to do Formula and course racing knew a tonne more about the courses than me. Slalom is largely about tuning the sails, knowing what combinations to take and the correct fin for the conditions. You don’t just rock up and know automatically how to get the best out of the gear. It takes time to rise to the top and that is what I like, the challenge!
All the different families within the disciplines are totally different. The slalom guys are older and wiser. They are all friendly guys and everyone will help you out with tuning to a certain degree. Slalom is a whole different vibe to all the young guns in freestyle where the atmosphere is much more relaxed. The freestyle guys are there to have fun until you reach the very top seeds who are chasing down titles and have big money bonuses on the line.
Foiling I think is great for windsurfing. I am curious to see in which direction it is going to head. Costa Brava was a great example, if we didn’t have foiling we would have just done one elimination in slalom over seven days. It helps keep the event active and is much better for the organizers. I guess next year we will opt to go foil only over slalom, let’s see what happens.