Nik Baker Interview
Q: How does it feel to be competing after that year out due to your foot injury?
NB: It feels great; I was a bit rusty at the Maui and Leucate events. I need to find my competition attitude but it’s coming.
Q: Is your foot back to 100% now?
NB: It feels pretty good, although it does get sore after a good hard sailing session but I think this is going to be the case for a while.
Q: What was it like getting back into the waves in Maui?
NB: The first day was bloody scary. It was solid mast high people were going on the rocks and I had my foot to think about. Every time I headed towards the lip I was thinking oh please god let me get this timing right. I remember pulling of a sick air 360 on one of my earlier waves and thought this is why I windsurf.
Q: Did you enjoy competing in the PWA Hawaii Pro?
NB: Not the first round when I got knocked out straight away but the second elimination was great fun. I sorted a few things out before that round and I was sailing a lot better and felt more comfortable. Considering I had not sailed Hookipa for 15 months and then only had about 4 days sailing there before hand I was quite pleased with my performance…Not my result but my improved contest sailing compared to the first round.
Q: It seems like the first round is a big hurdle for you in Maui?
NB: It seems like I either get knocked out in the 1st round or I go on to the top few places. If you looked back to my results there in a four-year stretch I got knocked out in the 1st round then the next year I won the single elimination but lost to Bjorn in the double. The next year I lost in the 1st round but then in 1999 I won the single and the double. A bit weird! I’m hoping for another Hookipa contest and hope the same thing happens. Maybe I could win the next won.
Q: How was the Super X in Leucate?
NB: I had a lot of fun doing it. I did not go to the Fuerte event so I had no real idea of what to expect. I did not have a chance to practice for it, as I have been flat out this last 3 months doing the testing for Mistral and North, I was not really sure as to what gear to use so it was a good experience.
Q: How were the conditions?
NB: It was perfect Super X conditions, slightly off shore so it was flat with winds form about 25 up to 40 knots. I used my 4.2 most of the time and sometimes my 3.7. The only hard part was that is was about 8 degrees with a wind chill of about 2 degrees. It was bloody freezing!
Q: Do you enjoy competing in the Super X?
NB: I loved it. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. I think it is so much fun not just because your doing really close sailing and jumping and freestyle tricks and going over the obstacles but because you have a chance of going form last to first in one run or even 1st to last in one run. Every one fell off on spocks going over the jumps and it’s amazing how hard a duck jibe is when you in a race flat out over powered and there are 7 other guys breathing down your neck!
Q: Were there any scary moments out on the race course?
NB: Definitely. I went over the handlebars on the 1-meter high jump and once I surfaced I looked up and saw two guys flat out at the jump. I lifted my rig up so they could see me and they managed to jump either side of me, missing me by about 2 feet each side.
Q: Do you think the guys with race experience had the edge?
NB: If you look at the results it was mostly racers in the top. Also the really good contest freestyle guys can do really well because they do all the tricks so consistently.
Q: Did you think you could win it?
NB: I think I have a good chance. I won two rounds in France so that was encouraging. I do think it is something that will be closely fought. There are at least 10 guys that could win an event.
Q: What set Albeau aside from the rest of the fleet?
NB: He knew the conditions really well plus he had been sailing there a while training. Also his experience in Fuerte must have helped. Matt and myself were not in Fuerte and Swifty only did day one there before he hurt himself. So with some practice I think we can give him a run for his money.
Q: What are your plans for the rest of the season?
NB: I am in Maui right now testing again and doing photo shoots and some training. I am planning on doing all the Super X and wave contest this year plus some promo events. I am also heavily involved with the testing of mistral and north so that takes up most of my time these days but the main thing is to get back to the position I was two years ago in the competitions.