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FINN MULLEN – BALANCE

23/08/2017
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 “ Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde.

Words  Finn Mullen  //  Photo  Tam Mullen

PHOTO Finn Mullen balances his toes on the nose in county Donegal.

It’s sunny, windy and conveniently, our lunch break at work. If I skip sandwiches and anything else vaguely possible to postpone, I have a one hour window to sail. I live on the coast, but not near enough to today’s spot of choice to mean for that one hour, I will likely sail for maximum 10 minutes by the time I’ve drove, rigged, changed and kept well within the speed limit. Clearly this is not a very well balanced equation, or is it? The end result of this formula of diesel, rope, monofilm and foam will be one very happy windsurfer. That seems a good balance to me. Remember, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

It’s a gusty day with a few waves; years ago for those ten minutes I’d have probably been happy enough to get one ride. Not because of some past enlightenment from a hippy but because that’s how much my gear would allow! Modern equipment balances board volume, sail range and performance in a much fairer fashion these days. My 4.7 and 93 litre thruster will allow me to cruise through the lulls and plane for those precious high wind minutes. My short but sweet session done, I sprint up the beach for a F1 style pit stop to pack up. To the unobserved, it probably looks like I’ve the motions of a man who’s just remembered he’s left the gas on at home! What makes it worth it? Easy, everything. From the banter on the beach to that first spray of salt as your board pierces the sea, it’s these moments that we live for as windsurfers. No gym, court or pitch can better it. Hooking in, I’m happy to be hooked on our sport. My gloriously long 32 inch lines take the pressure of both my body weight and the day away. It’s not a quick fix, it’s a long term investment in good health. I’m balancing the wind, I’m balancing my rig, I’m balancing being a husband, father and editor, even if it does look like all I’m doing is having a criminally good time. There’s nothing illegal about being a windsurfer though; we all maintain that delicate balance of staying on the right side of the laws of work and play and not falling on the wrong side of the sail. Balance, is everything in windsurfing and this issue is dedicated to the theme. From the physicality to juggling important relationships and a career around our sport, we explore the art from the very finest practitioners.

“The massive plus to windsurfing is that I vent the stresses of life when I am on the water.” says UK Slalom Champion and consultant anaesthetist James Dinsmore in his interview this month as he discusses mixing racing with a demanding occupation and his tips for success in slalom. When you think of slalom training, it’s time on the water that traditionally was felt to make the difference. Think again, says Lena Erdil as she introduces us to ‘Slalom training 2.0’ in her feature this issue. With an emphasis on structured training on the water balanced with land based physical and psychological preparation, it’s a distinctly new approach and the brainchild of PWA judge Mark Hosegood who describes it as “the forefront of what I see as training ‘technology’ in windsurfing and what Lena sees as “Windsurfing’s road to ever greater professionalism.”

Ex-professional windsurfer, South African Craig Gertenbach, sits at the helm of Fanatic and provides one of this issue’s most interesting reads as he gives insight into running a top brand whilst still sailing at a high level and balancing it all with precious family time. Read just why he thinks “people badly underestimate how good the current PWA format is.” and “Why is everyone always pushing the brands to show less radical images..do you really think that attracts people to a sport?”

Kate Hollis is a name you may not have heard of but that doesn’t matter as she also gives us plenty to think about this issue with the balanced perspective of a windsurfing wife! “If you think windsurfing is hard work, try being married to a windsurfer!” she exclaims! Even more refreshing perspectives are provided by a group of new windsurfing mothers this month in our ‘Circle of life’ feature. Four famous windsurfers reflect on their pregnancies, adapting to the physiological and lifestyle changes of making a new human and how windsurfing fits into motherhood. “It was a special feeling to jump with a baby inside me” says Eva Oude Ophuis. Are talented windsurfers born or made? Do you consider yourself at a disadvantage as you are “Naturally unbalanced?” “No such thing.” says Harty as he encourages us this issue to “learn to balance properly”, while Jem Hall provides the tips for a balanced setup on our freestyle wave boards. This month we’ve garnered contributions from the broad spectrum of our sport. We hope you enjoy the variety; like windsurfing, this issue is all about balance!

 

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