Talking Turkey with Finian Maynard
‘I’ve always felt comfortable racing in the Aegean Sea whether it was Paros (Greece) or Turkey but it does seem very clear that Turkey is a real favourite of mine with three wins in three starts, including the IFCA Europeans last year. To be honest, I have no idea why, but it’s superb!’ explains Maynard.
A seasoned campaigner now, Finian has in some peoples eyes, especially perhaps his own, made too many mistakes, had mixed fortune, and failed to live up to his incredible potential in the past. I wonder what’s been the difference this year for him in performance terms over previous season? If you know Finian, you know he’s always contemplating something, but he doesn’t think for long on this one. ‘This year I’m definitely more relaxed, with less pressure to perform - although you wouldn’t know that by watching me race or hop around the beach if something goes wrong! I credit more time on the water tuning my gear than last year, and generally having a great team of guys with F2, Neil Pryde and Deboichet fins helping me get the gear that I need for my best possible performances on the water’.
But apart from understanding sponsors, and practice, who’s behind the scenes providing support? Where has he been? It surely can’t have been Turkey can it? ‘No not Turkey’ laughs the current and dual world speed record holder! ‘Since April I’ve been sailing in France. Then it was on to lake Garda for two weeks, and then Fuerteventura for 10 days at the end of June before sailing in Gran Canaria for one week before July’s Pozo event. Everywhere and anywhere really. I don’t live in Maui anymore so I just do what I can to get my hours on the water. My girlfriend Sandra has been instrumental with my mental preparation, which has probably made the biggest difference of all’.
Those constant, deep thoughts you see Finian having are not self-indulgent or daydreaming, and just looking at his face you can see performance matters to him more than most. I wonder what this latest victory means to him, especially for one of the heaviest guys out there at a lighter wind venue like Alacati? ‘Ha! Funny thing you ask, and the word on the street really is that I’m better in lighter winds than heavy winds when it comes to slalom; to be honest I have no idea why. In terms of how I feel about this victory I’m just very pleased and content really. It would have been nice to battle with Antoine for a few more races, but we’ll be sailing in contests together for years to come, and I’m just happy that I could take one major event from him this year, because he really is on form this season’.
Just one event from Albeau? What about the final showdown in Sylt for the Slalom 42 world title? To wear the crown Maynard must win and also hope Albeau comes 8th or worse, which is a pretty tall order, but I get the impression winning in Germany might be worth a lot more to Finian than just winning the psychological battle for the start of the 2007 season. I have to ask what this 115kg speed monsters personal targets really were this year in terms of results? ‘My main priority is always the quest for 50-knots, a painstakingly slow process that requires patience and endurance. Outside of that annual dream, my first priority this year was to win the ISA speedsailing world title, which is an important carrot for me. At the beginning of the year I wanted to obviously do well at Slalom 42, and I was thinking that I’d be happy with Top 3. At the moment, that looks possible, so smiles all around really’.
So what has motivated someone like Finian to attain his dreams and reach his targets? I quiz him on his background as I heard his big brother is responsible for Finians lust for winning! ‘I just love to sail and race, and I’m not doing anything much different than years past, but perhaps being a racer is a bit like being a bottle of wine - with age comes a higher grade of product! I also have a background in yachting, being from the Virgin Islands, and so tactics and tuning have been drummed into me from an early age. Yeah, I‘m lucky in that I‘ve always been very driven internally, and playing a wide variety of sports with my older brother definitely developed my competitive spirit at a very young age. I was sure there was a conspiracy because I could never beat him...’
Someone this driven must have some pretty long term goals and plans, and despite feeling like I’m prying into his private life, I probe Finian about his plans for the future inside windsurfing, and what might lie ahead when he chooses to retire one day. ‘I often dream of getting another ‘big day’ on the Canal. I really feel that I’m ready to take the world record to the next level. What that level is, I have no idea but I feel good about being with my current sponsors in the quest for greater speeds. Outside of windsurfing and looking into the future I’ve been thinking about going back to school and getting my degree, something that being a professional windsurfer hasn’t promoted very much…. All I really have to say is that I think it ‘s prudent for all windsurfers to sincerely enjoy how wonderful this sport is, and I highly recommend reading a book called ‘The End of Oil’ by Paul Roberts. If you thought your alarm clock was an eye-opener then you're in for a real surprise’.
Congratulations Finian, and thanks for giving us some fascinating insights into your success.