Testing times for Arnon Dagan

Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) is known for his expertise as a pro racer on the PWA Slalom World Tour, which is why he has been recruited by NeilPryde to play a pivotal role in the development of their latest racing sail - the EVO6. However, the Israeli’s talents aren't just limited to the race course as Dagan is also an extremely talented wave sailor.

After landing an exciting new role within NeilPryde we caught up with Dagan to talk more about what exactly he will be doing in his new job, as well as looking ahead to the start of the 2014 racing season. Read the interview below: 

PWA: Hi Arnon, how are you?

AD: “I’m great thanks!  Windsurfing a lot and super excited about the new racing season coming and the projects ahead.”

PWA: The calendar looks quite full for the racing fleet, are you doing anything in particular to prepare for the 2014 season?

AD: “Yes its going to be a busy year! I have being going to the gym gaining weight, wave sailed 2 weeks in SA, something I feel helps with keeping the excitement and motivation of windsurfing. Now currently testing and training with Finian Maynard in Israel working on the 2015 RRD racing boards as well as our own racing gear. I will be going to Maui beginning of March till late April to join the NP Pro Training Camp till my first event the FW worlds in Portugal so keeping busy (-:”

PWA: I suppose we should start with the big news about your new role in Neilpryde, can you tell us about it?

AD: “Well it’s not such big news there is not really a role definition but yes I’m supported by NP for my help and involvement in testing the race sails as well as helping Robert Stroj with new exciting projects such as the new Neil Pryde Pro Training Camp. The Camp has just started in Maui and it’s purpose is to provide professional structure for young NP team riders as well as top pro riders and getting the team ready for the coming season in all aspects.”

PWA: We read that Pieter Bijl left NP so will you be working on your own?

AD: “PB left NP after Sylt so I have been called to help finish the EVO6 line and went to Maui straight after Sylt. For next year NP has set times for the new lines to be tested and I will be present in all of the sessions. The team has the number 1 and 3 in the current world ranking, so top level pro riders for me to work with along side enthusiastic young up and coming sailors that are there to help with everything.”

PWA: What is new about the EVO6?

AD: “The new EVO6 has a lot of good power. Good power means power that gets you out of bad situations during racing, power that helps your excel off the start and after jibes, but most important, power that the racer can handle and use to his advantage and this is the hardest one to achieve. You want power but not one you cannot control.

This all comes from a combination of a lot of things for example - Deeper profile in the front of the sail, New panel layout and new luff sleeve material which makes the sleeve also super clean,

new batten configuration inside the sail. Streamlined batten pockets which means that the battens are symmetrical  in the middle  of the sail and not placed on one side like done on other brands.

New luff curves, more back hand power and more and more.”

PWA: Okay, and will you focus on the Slalom sails or a bit of everything?

AD: “I’ll do the slalom and race sails for sure and I will help with everything Robert will ask me to help with.

I’m capable of testing and developing any type of windsurfing sail apart from a freestyle sail. I can only do a spock on one side haha.”

PWA: On Average, how many prototypes do you guys make and try before the final sail is sent to production?

AD: “As many as we need for making sure we have something better, however, a sail designer has a lot of different sail lines to do so there is always limited time. I guess normally 4-5 protos for key racing sizes.”

PWA: How do you see the sails in lets say 5 years? Do you think there is more room for improvements?

AD: “We are definitely at a point of almost maximizing the concepts that we have now.

The race sails are capable of amazing things. It is almost like formula one cars all tuned to the max. The sails have huge power along side amazing control, it is hard to believe really. We plane faster in the light winds and we can hold the sail for longer in the strong winds.

There would need to be a lot of out of the box thinking and budgets to be able to take this to the next level.

However, saying this I feel an improvement every year in our sails and the companies who put the effort, time and budget are reworded.”

PWA: We try to have more young people coming into the racing scene, what will your advice be for someone that wants to become a professional windsurfer?

AD: “Sure one of the key points for our sport is how to attack the young guys. I’m very happy to see new guys every year on PWA but we need much more.

At the moment the only advice I can give is put your head down, take the sh*t, drag your bags in the airports like a dog, train and work as hard as you can. It is not an easy sport to get into but it’s still the best sport and life style ever so its all worth it!!”

PWA: Thanks for your time and we look forward to seeing you at the next PWA event.

AD: “Thank you and good luck to everyone!”