Teen Freestyle Sensation Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North) is leading the 2006 Freestyle Tour with one event to go in Sylt. The 16-year-old Venezuelan justified the hype his outstanding freesailing created when he won the Sotavento event hands down.
Isla Margaritas 16 year old hero is a modest yet calmly confident character. There are many that think that Estredo could’ve taken an event win already, even this early in his career. That’s a big call considering the company he’s in at home in El Yaque, let alone on the PWA World Tour. ‘Actually I won the London Indoor, but of course it wasn’t a competition on the highest international level’ he says, regardless that many would say an indoor is harder to win than any other type of contest. ‘But winning Fuerteventura made all my dreams come true.’ For one of an age where dreams are everything, this sends a clear warning shot to any who dare doubt his ambition.
But there’s definitely something different about Gollito’s approach this year. In fact he’s on fire! ‘I’ve just been practising many new moves and always working more and more to improve all those tricks, which is working out now’ he explains. ‘My target for 2006 was simple. To do and be the best!’
Its clear the sport has given him and others a new direction from life as it could have been at home in the Caribbean. To the son of a fisherman who might well have followed in his father’s footsteps, doors have opened up for him world over. ‘Windsurfing’s become my life. It’s a pretty difficult sport that takes skill and dedication, and that’s why I love it so much, and do it every day.’
Estredo’s lucky to be signed to some of the sports more visionary brands. Both North and Fanatic have offered their younger team members superb programmes of mentoring and coaching as they find their feet on the world stage. The extra attention’s not gone unappreciated either. ‘I’m lucky to have people like Fanatics Team manager and coach Tom Brendt, and others like Marco Perez who are helping a lot to get me where I want to be, and I’d like to thank them a lot for everything. These guys are helping me get ready for Sylt, and I’ve been practising a lot in conditions similar to Westerland, especially with big sails since there’s always the chance it could be a light wind competition - I just really want be in the top three again, and bring the world title back to Venezuela!’
What must the reaction at home been when he won in Fuerteventura, and took the tour lead? The world title seems to belong to this country and the Margaritan beaches, with 3 times world champion Ricardo Campello, Diony Guadagnino and team mate Cheo Diaz amongst others being leaders in Freestyle innovation. ‘At first no one could believe it when I won in Sotavento, and were surprised, but also pretty happy for me. So was I, because those people helped me a lot. If I win this year I’m not sure if there will be more pressure on me in 2007 or not. Let’s wait for the competition in Germany, but I think I could win and then I would train even more to do even better next year! I have some strong competitors to deal with first. Taty Frans is dangerous, but Antxon Otaegui is also sailing really well and is hard to beat. I don’t know what happened with Ricardo this season – like many others I thought he would do much better as well...’
As a freestyle specialist what about his other ambitions? Does he have aspirations for greatness in wavesailing competition? ‘Yes, of course I’d like to practise more in waves as well, master other disciplines and be better overall. I’ll also do some more Super-X competitions for sure and I’d also like to do slalom - but that would take too much time of my freestyle and wavesailing! But, like many windsurfers I also dream of riding waves in Hawaii!’ Wow - a Pro who hasn’t been to Maui? We’d better watch this space, as he’s sure to turn heads there just as he does at home and on tour!
Mucha Gracias Gollito. Buena suerte en Sylt!
© PWA / Brian McDowell