Ulsan PWA World Cup

Day 2: Catchup with Gabriel Browne who returns to the PWA World Tour

The light winds continued on day two of the Ulsan PWA World Cup meaning the majority of the slalom fleet remained landlocked for another day. Earlier in the day a few sailors did sneak in a few planing runs, but the initial early promise soon wilted away.

Gabriel Browne (Goya Windsurfing / Point-7) - the brother of former two-time world champion Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) - returns to the PWA Slalom World Tour this year. The 25-year-old first competed on the tour as a young 14-year-old and had plenty of potential. However, he chose to take some time away from competing to pursue a ‘normal’ job for a few years, but since then he has had a change of heart and has made the decision to return to the world tour. Here’s an interview with Gabriel ahead of his return.

When did you first compete on the PWA?

I competed in my first PWA contest when I was 14-years-old in Fuerteventura. I remember I had some gear that I brought from Brazil. But when I got there I realised that the wind was very strong so I had to borrow a 5.0m from Gonzalo [Costa Hoevel]. After this event I got a sponsorship with F2 and the following year I did my first full year on tour at 15!

How were your results in those years?

I was normally top 15-20. My best result was in Austria when I had a 5th place!! I was very happy!

Your brother is a former wave world champion - are you for now more known for being the brother, or for being Gabriel between the windsurfers?

I know it counts a lot for me being the brother of Marcilio. A lot of people know me from being his brother, or sometimes they see my name and ask. I think this is fine for me, I’m proud of everything he did in the windsurfing world and how he is such a good professional in all aspects.

On the other hand, I had some good results in the past, especially in formula windsurfing, when I won 3 consecutive World Cup events in Brazil (2009 ,2010 & 2011) and a 3rd place in the Formula World Championship when I was 19-years -old. So there is also some people that know me from that. I’m happy with what I achieved but I think there is a lot more to come!!

What has been your windsurfing path and life until now?

Me and my brother started windsurfing very early. I was 4-years -old. My dad was a former windsurfing champion. He won the Brazilian Nationals 8-times and also competed in the Olympic division. But windsurfing for him was always a hobby and he never took it as a profession as he had to take care of the family business when my grandfather died. So for us windsurfing was something very natural, we were always playing with his sails, board, going to events with him. It was a nice time!

We started to really enjoy windsurfing and he taught us as much as possible, but he never put any pressure on us to be professionals. I started the PWA events when I was 14-years-old and I decided to quit the tour when I was 19. I never stopped windsurfing, I was still doing national events and training almost every day at home in Fortaleza. Brazil. Also I visit Maui every year, so I was always sailing here with the professional guys as well.

Now I’m part of the Goya team, I’m responsible for all the Research & Development of the new slalom racing line. I’m very grateful for this opportunity they gave me and how they really trust me. I think what we achieved in the first was very positive, the boards are going rocket fast here on Maui!!! Let’s see how they go on tour now…. Ahaha.

Why you did not choose to compete in wave as your main discipline instead of slalom?

Waves are my passion! I love wave sailing!! I have such a great time sailing in Ho’okipa or anywhere actually. A lot of people ask me that. How come I chose racing and my brother freestyle and then wave? Honestly, I don’t really know the answer as to why. It was something natural. I was always heavier than my brother and I really like adjusting my gear and tuning stuff. Maybe that’s the reason I chose Slalom. In the end it was a good move for the Browne family!! Ahaha.

If you were to have a wave heat Marcilio Vs Gabriel - what would be the result out of 10?

I would say, if it is a surfing, down-the line-place… I would be breathing down his neck!!! Haha. Not really… for me my brother is the the best and most complete wave sailor in the world. He can do everything for both tacks. His skills and style to perform are unique and so well done! It’s a pleasure to watch him sailing! But I have my good turns sometimes…

Why did you choose to race on Point-7?

First of all because they are black! And they look great as well, soooo hi-tech!!! Also my good friend Mathias, he is the Brazilian distributor of Point-7 Sails in Brazil and he was always pushing me to use the sails. New boards, new beginning on tour. Why not new sails? And the best sails to start everything again. They are just excellent!

This year you returning to the PWA World Tour, what pushed you in to deciding to make a come back, apart from the fact that you are a very talented windsurfer and still young?

I started windsurfing and competing very early. So I’ve been around for many years. People think I’m already an old guy. But I’m still very young, I’m just 25-years-old. Windsurfing is my passion, I love it!

I quit the tour a few years ago because I wanted to have a “normal”‘ job, but I realised that this is not the life I wanted and I wasn’t happy. I have always had it in the back of my mind that I was not using my talent, so I decided last year that I wanted to comeback on tour. I spent 8 months on Maui developing the new Goya Boards, I e-mailed Andrea [Cucchi] saying that I want to buy the best sails on market, and that’s it!! It was the start of the beginning again.

You were in Lanzarote for the Slalom training. How did that workout for you?

Lanzarote was great! The place is fantastic for training. I really enjoyed the time there with the Point-7 Black Team. Andrea is great person, he is always trying to help and he is always there to help. I got all new equipment there. It was feeling like Christmas when I was 6-years-old. I was happy to see that my gear is going good!

Where do you live now?

I live most of the time between Fortaleza, in Brazil and Maui, Hawaii. But this year I will be on tour, so I guess I will be travelling a lot!

Your plans apart from competing on the PWA World Tour?

Apart from the PWA I want to get more involved with windsurfing. Right now I’m the Brazilian dealer for Goya Windsurfing, also I’m very busy with all the R&D for Goya Racing Boards. I love doing that! I really enjoy testing, giving feedback, talk about equipment. Hope I can get closer to the P7 sails development too, I’m always here to help Andrea if he needs.

What’s your goal for the season?

I don’t want to have high expectations for my first year. I know I can do well, my sails are good, my boards are good. But there are other things around… I trust myself, I train hard. Let’s see!

How is windsurfing in South America, especially in your country?

Slalom is growing a lot in Brazil at the moment. The economy seems to be getting better again. There is a lot of people sailing. This year we have a national tour with some events. It will be great, people are excited.

Do you compete often in Brazil?

Always when I’m there I’m trying to take part in the local events. It’s good to show people the gear. And it’s always very good training for the tour.

Good luck Gabriel.

The forecast looks promising for tomorrow morning with southwesterly winds around 8-12 knots being predicted, which should be topped up by the local thermal effect to provide racing conditions. The skippers’ meeting shall be held at 9:30am again tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 10:30am (GMT+9).

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