Windsurf catch up with former freestyle world champion, Steven van Broeckhoven to find out what he has been up to over the past months and all about his new vocation on the Belgium Olympic Programme.
WS: What have you been up to over the past months?
SVB: Before corona lock downs I have spent my Winter months in Tarifa. I had a great time and scored lots of windsurfing, foiling, biking and surfing! It was non-stop action. The months, March April and May I have been working on Yachts. Last month the focus was back on windsurfing training. Mainly on IQfoil, as I’m now in the Belgium Olympic program. It is kind of different world to me, but I really like the new challenge!
WS: How was the lockdown for you?
SVB: Been working as much I could. As I didn’t know for how long it will be so I took all the work I could, and I wasn’t sailing much. But I am glad I did. As professional rider it is a difficult year financially without any events, so glad I have been able to work! I was working on Yacht with good friend of mine who repaints yachts and I am also doing more and more board repairs at home.
WS: Were you able to sail?
SVB: There was a period of six weeks where I was not allowed on the water!
WS: How has the Covid pandemic affected your season?
SVB: The season now is vastly different, no PWA freestyle maybe a few EFPT events nut nothing is certain. At the moment all of my focus is on the IQ foil in Silvaplana, Switzerland!
WS: What are your plans for the rest of the season?
SVB: My focus is the Europeans and worlds IQfoil and then whatever EFPT freestyle events that happened!
WS: What diet do you follow and why?
SVB: I am vegetarian, I never liked meat much and my girlfriend is vegan. I just feel much better and stronger and beside my health I am incredibly sad how the meat industry works with animals. The reality is very sad. Many lives are killed for nothing.
WS: Where do you train and what moves are you working on?
SVB: So far, I have only been sailing in Benelux, mostly on the foil, I have also been practicing some foil style too lately! I learned to land culos and burners on the foil which was cool. For freestyle soon I am going to Lanzarote for a few weeks and first thing on the agenda is to get all my moves back in control. But every session I want to improve no matter if I am freestyling or foiling
WS: Why do you love windsurfing?
SVB: It is the best sport in the world! Nothing else to say!
WS: You had a great season last year any reason for the improved results?
SVB: I think I was focused on the right moments, I felt no pressure and just had fun! I felt I peaked at the right moments. I don’t think it was about the time I spent on the water but more the efficiency in training!
WS: How tough is the level on the PWA freestyle tour?
SVB: The level is only getting closer compare to previous years. Everyone is landing the best moves that is why we have seen more and more surprises.
WS: How do you like foil racing as opposed to slalom?
SVB: I love foil racing like it was the last years. Pure racing on foil. I do not like combo with slalom windsurfing!
WS: Tell us about the GUN foil sail?
SVB: Last year’s I have been racing on the Bow concept. The concept started out of the box by Pieter Bijl. The idea of the bow to have very comfortable sail for weekend slalom sailor or foiler. The sail has a big range, and all fitted on one sized mast. During the early testing we found out that sail is performing very well on the foil. So, we decided to go for the Bow Fly, the foil racing sail. The sail is very powerful and performing well in the very light winds.
Now foil racing been growing a lot and all the brands are going for big sails up to 10m on high aspect. It is quite a challenge to make Bow Fly 9.5m on a 490 mast. The sail was performing very well in light winds but in reality, when we race the 9.5M it was becoming quickly overpowered. Racing these days is a lot about pumping on the foil to gain high end speed, clearly the high aspect performance better for pumping and strong winds.
Gunsails are working on a new foil Race Weapon which will be high aspect on normal mast, the tests are all very promising, but we still needed to wait a bit as everything has been slowed down during lockdowns.
In the future there will be still the normal Bow in production. I still really like that sail as it feels very comfy. The 7.8 Bow is my favourite for cruising around as it has massive wind range, is comfortable and its fast also on a slalom board.
WS: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
SVB: No Idea, I take life how it comes. I hope I am still doing the same passion with windsurfing.