“Nowadays it’s quite hard for a windsurfer to compete in the whole tour. We are mostly European riders and I will talk about costs traveling from Europe, as this is my experience.
Let’s start with the Asian leg, Japan and Korea. Average flight Europe to Tokyo one way is around 300 euros if you find a good price with Turkish airlines. With them you have to pay theoretically 90 euros per bag but somehow, many times with different tricks, we manage to pay 90 euros for a couple of bags. I bring 6 boards, 10 sails and different accessories and fins and that means 5 to 6 triple bags. That means I pay from 480 to 700 euros to fly to Japan. Then you have the flight from Japan to Korea, that’s between 100 and 200 euros and then Korea back to Europe, which costs roughly the same as the outbound flight. In total between 1100 and 1600 euros for the flights. Then you have to pay for the registration and accommodation if you are out of the top 16. Let’s say that if you stay cheap, for those 2 events you spend between 2500 and 3000 euros but this can easily go up to 4000.
For Costa Brava I travel by van and it costs around 500-600 euros between gas and highway charges. Around 150-200 euros for the accommodation plus food and registration which costs between 1000 and 1300 euros. This year we head to Portugal! We have never been there before but I guess costs are similar to Costa Brava at around 1000-1300 euros!
Fuerteventura costs around 350 euros for the flight and you can be lucky or unlucky with the bags but I guess you won’t spend less than 700 euros to fly up and down plus the bags. Plus registration and accommodation, I would say 1200-1600 euros average.
Sylt again is by van. It will cost 600-800 euros more or less to get there and come back. With registration and accommodation I would say 1200-1600 euros again. All of this means the tour costs an average of 10000 euros if you make no mistakes and you know how to book flights and accommodation and how to behave at the check in desks around the world.
To train in Tenerife with the TWS Pro Slalom Training is the best option in my opinion. That means that if you want to do one month it’ll cost you around 1500 euros between flights, accommodation and training.
You would need at least three fins per board to compete. That means, with about 250 euro per fin, 2250 euros of fins!
For sails, boards and masts, I hope if you compete on tour you are either sponsored or you pay a special price and you can sell everything at the end of the season for the same price you bought it, so that you don’t spend anything for that.
Now my guess is that if you get into the top 20 and you are young enough and smart enough you can get out of the sport the same money you spend to train and compete and you go back to zero at the end of the year. You can start testing and doing other stuff for the industry to create some value around yourself to get some more return.
If you are top 15 you start earning some more from the industry and from the prize money. Only the top 8-5 make some money out of it and can actually be called “professional athletes”, if professional means that you live out of windsurfing and at the end of the year you keep something in your pocket.
What does motivate all of us (and I’m in this group as well because not so many years ago I was 23rd in the PWA world ranking), is the passion. We do it because we love windsurfing. We love competing, we love travelling and we even kind of love having troubles around the world. If while doing this we make some money too, well, that’s just great and it’s the best feeling ever, but sadly it’s never going to be paid like tennis or soccer.”
“Only the top 8-5 make some money out of it and can actually be called “professional athletes”