I only had a really short stay in Tenerife this year because I hadn’t actually planned to come to Tenerife this winter. It was Pierre who really motivated me to go on this trip with him and a photographer friend of his. Also seeing the pictures of the pro guys training together online really made me want to join in so I booked my ticket last minute. My goal for the training was starts, jibing and general racing. During the training I was trying to put myself in difficult positions that would push me to find the best possible racing solutions to come out on top rather than trying to get a head start and jibe in first place which is always easier. Retrospectively I am really glad that I made this short trip as it has given me the chance to see how my performance compares to some of the other pros. The riders doing the training in Tenerife are mainly part of a new generation of younger pro’s who are pushing the level a lot and it was great to sail in the same place together with a good ambiance amongst the riders and without bad rivalries. It’s a great thing to come together to train for events and the proof of this is that there are more and more training camps like this one being initiated for example in Tarifa, on Lake Garda or in Marignane in the south of France.
The training camps here in Tenerife was a vision I had and I was able to share and have it supported by Sparky, (Mark Hosegood from the PWA). In the past as a pro rider I always suffered from the fact that training meant only testing and tuning gear, but that is only one part, the other is to actually train on a race course. This is what you do in racing, and this is what you need to practice. Otherwise it is like trying to teach mathematics without a blackboard. We made all our Point-7 black team and some friends come join the training camp. It meant we finally had a full pro PWA slalom course on the water at all times. You might think that is an easy task to organize and set up, but it took time, as well as getting everyone to be willing to train together as a team. All the costs were shared between the riders and Point-7. The results in 2013 spoke for themselves; the riders who took part, like Alberto Menegatti, went from 15th to 2nd. Matteo Iachino from top 20 to top 10, and many riders outside of the top 30 were actually making it to the top 20 that year. While this group was obtaining amazing results, the other pro riders were making excuses of being rusty from not racing the whole winter. Over 40 pro-riders came training this year, and it’s now run by one of the rental schools here in Tenerife. I’m proud because the vision was right and proud of my riders who took this opportunity. It was an outside project to give more support to the racing scene. There is a lot more that can be done to improve the professional side of this sport and with Point-7 we are working on it. Unfortunately there is no national federation which gives any kind of support to the slalom scene, nor to the riders. Everything has to be organised by the rider himself, or by brands who have the motivation to do so. As a brand we feel like we need to do more activities to promote the sport, help the racing movement, and not just develop and sell products. We need to help out young riders to improve and this training was a big support for this group.