The beginning of the year never fails to throw up interesting activity as riders change brands and top manufacturers acquire new talent.
Here’s a round up of the hottest news so far:
North sails and Fanatic boards
Fanatic have bolstered their strong freestyle team by signing German Freestyle talent Andre Paskowski from F2, and Swiss lady Laure Treboux who’s left Naish.
Fanatic Brand Manager Craig Gertenbach stated that ‘With Laure onboard, our girls team with Nayra Alonso and Yoli De Brendt is stronger than ever…Andre is one of the world’s best Freestylers and a close friend and training partner with our 2007 PWA Freestyle Vice Champ Gollito Estredo.
‘At the moment the two of them are training together in El Yaque and are planning lots of new projects together. Laure and Andre, both fit really perfectly into our team and show the youthful enthusiasm for windsurfing that our sport thrives upon’
Andre Paskowski commented that ‘At Fanatic the atmosphere between riders and management is very good. They’re famous for their young team, plus of course excellent wave and freestyle boards, so all in all I thought I would fit perfectly into the set-up.’
An excited Laure Treboux, who finished 3rd overall in Freestyle in 2007, has been training hard in Western Australia during the off-season. She said ‘Fanatic simply make awesome boards, and have a great image and a young dynamic team that I'm really proud to be part of.’
Rumour has it Andre will be trying his hand at some PWA Slalom events too this coming season and that Laure will also be entering the Women’s wave tour in 2008.
Laure, 24, has also signed onto North sails after a successful few seasons using Naish rigs. Alexander Hasch, the North Sails Marketing Manager spoke positively about the deal, which is a great sign of the growing importance of the women’s sport.
‘We are truly excited to have such a world-class sailor on our team. Laure’s a good character and shows a lot of potential in waves too, plus of course she’s definitely a hot candidate for the freestyle world title too.’
Douglas Diaz (North) and Remko de Weerd (Gaastra) will be leaving the Fanatic team.
You can also view Laure and Andre’s profiles at the North and Fanatic websites.
Other whispers indicate that Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet) has left Naish sails and will ride with Simmer sails on the 2008 Slalom and wave circuits.
Simmer have also sealed a deal with promising youngster and freestyle specialist Edvan Souza of Brazil.
Souza has also penned a deal at Board brand Mistral alongside the brother of 2007 World freestyle Champion Marcilio Browne (Gaastra / Mistral) - Gabriel Browne (Mistral / North) who at just 15-yr's old is a promising Slalom racer and already the Brazilian National Champ.
Quatro boss Keith Teboul has left the camp after many years of quality wave sailing service.
MauiSails also report that Kevin Pritchard (Starboard) has left the company.
Kevin, the 2006 Wave World Champ and 2007 Slalom runner-up commented on the departure. ‘Well, I guess it is officially and end of an era. After 15 years of working together with Barry and Phil it’s time to take on new challenges and take the other side of the road’.
‘It’s disappointing to say the least, but it’s time to move on and go into the brave unknown. As for now, I don’t have a new sail sponsor and I’m currently looking at all the other brands’.
‘I have some offers, but at the moment I’ve not committed to anything. I’m going to go out and test all the brands that will loan me some sails and we will see what happens.’
‘I think it will be fun to get out on the Prydes, Gaastras and Norths. Severne also look to have a good range this year so it’s all kinda up in the air. I just hope to get some gear soon as it looks like the wind is going to come. I guess I better go down to HiTech and get out the credit card…’
Phil McGain, the MauiSails President gave his thoughts on the on the new direction for his sailing partner of the past fifteen years. ‘We honestly wish Kevin the best of luck. We’ve all enjoyed working with him over the years, and it’s always challenging to end long partnerships, but sometimes change is invaluable and must be accepted with gratitude and appreciation’.
Designer, Barry Spanier commented, “Working with Kevin and helping him to become a World Champion has been very satisfying and personally rewarding. His participation will be missed. But sometimes its like Yogi Berra once said, “If there’s a fork in the road, you have to take it.” I certainly wish him the best in his new circumstances.’
We’ll bring you more news on the latest deals as we hear about them.
© PWA / Brian McDowell