Rafael de Windt (Hot Sails Maui) is one of the many freestyle hotshots to come out of the ABC Islands - Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao - the combination of a tropical which provides year round warm temperatures - both air and water - together with their consistent trade winds make for the ideal training ground for any aspiring windsurfer. Factor in the mirror flat to chop water and you really do have the perfect freestyle training ground. We caught up with Rafael to see how his freestyle journey began, whilst also asking him for some advice and top tips. Read the interview below:
PWA: Why did you want to freestyle and what did you learn first?
“I wanted to start freestyle from the first time I was on the water. Ingmar, the owner of the windsurf school, did a huge ponch right in front of me. From that moment I really wanted to freestyle.”
“I started to learn jumping. As soon as I could get the fin out of the water I went to learn vulcans, but as soon as started to slide and grabbed I had no idea how to get out of the switch stance, so going switch and learning vulcans kinda went at the same time for me.”
PWA: Was there any tip in particular that helped you go from vulcans to spocks?
“As soon as I was doing vulcans, I kept pushing the sail forward and pushed it for spock. One of the major problems was that even though I kept pushing the sail my board did not want to slide for the rotation. Then I got a super nice tip from Victor Wederfoort, put pressure on your heels. That was the trick - finally the board started to slide and soon enough I landed my first spock.”
PWA: For people looking to learn their first new school moves, what would you recommend? Any tips?
“The easiest new school move to learn now is actually switch kono, once you have your ducking under control the you only have to push off. When you are in the air you have to pull on your back hand so you be pulled a bit higher in the air.”
PWA: How about a tip for people moving into the world of aerial freestyle?
“The bit more difficult power move I think is the air funnel. The best thing to do, is do it one handed and push the rig as far forward as you can.”