Foil Vice-World Champion
Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) claimed two podium finishes out of the 4 Foil events in 2018 to be crowned the PWA Foil Vice-World Champion, and ultimately only just missed out on the world title on count-back having tied with eventual champion - Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) - on 30,300 points. While the German enjoyed an excellent season on the Foil race course, the 28-year-old endured a disappointing season on the Slalom course compared to 2017, however he sounds determined to bounce back! You can read out interview with Sebastian below:
Hey Sebastian, how’s it going?
All good mate, enjoying life in Tarifa at the moment. It’s reasonably warm, windy and we get some good swells from time to time. That’s all I need for a good winter!
Last season you finished as the Foil vice-world champion - how happy were you to make the podium in the first official year?
Well, I was pretty stoked! Holding one of those trophies in my hands was a childhood dream of mine. Receiving it in front of a German crowd in Sylt was even better. It was a super tight season with ups and downs. I remember giving a quite emotional interview right after it was clear that I made the vice world title. If anyone wants to see that it can be found on my Instagram channel(www.instagram.com/sebastian.koerdel). I think that little video shows how I was feeling in this moment. Right now, the trophy has found it’s place right next to my couch in my apartment and it motivates me every day to keep pushing.
You obviously have a very strong Formula background - do you think that gives you an advantage in foiling as there are obviously a lot of race tactics involved…
It helped me a lot that I know how to find my way around the race course. I love the fact that you have that tactical component in Foil racing, and that you can give yourself quite an advantage with quick and correct decisions. It just makes the whole racing thing much more complete as it not only challenges your body but also your mind.
What was your highlight of the 2018 season?
That was my first ever victory in a PWA race at Costa Brava. We were racing all week and I was close to winning many times but lost it in the last moment. I once was even leading comfortably with only a few hundred meters to go. However, the sun was low which made it hard to see and I mistook the start boat for the finish boat. I literary had that victory in my hand and threw it away by going the wrong way. That one messed me up a bit. I was wondering what it would be like throwing this victory away if I would never win a race again in my life. As you can imagine I did not sleep well that night. Fortunately I was able to win a race the next day and all that pressure and anxiousness fell off my shoulders. I just felt on top of the world in that moment.
Now, on the flip side in 2017 you finished in the overall top 10 for Slalom for the first time in your career, but last year you finished 23rd in contrast. How disappointed were you with that result and do you think that also having Foiling to concentrate on affected your performance on the race course, or what would you put it down to?
I did some mistakes in winter training but I would not say that the foiling impeded my slalom performance too much. All year I struggled a lot to find the right setup in my gear and that held me back. Without the right setup you can’t do anything in Slalom. However, I know what went wrong last year and I will not make mistakes like that again. I look forward to come back strong in the Slalom discipline.
Foiling is gaining popularity - do you now focus more on training Foil or do you still try to split it with training Slalom?
I’m still in love with both forms of racing on a windsurf board so I try to split my training evenly.
You finished the season tied on points with eventual champion - Gonzalo Costa Hoevel - what are your goals for the coming year?
I don’t have any hard feelings on that tied points situation. Gonzalo helped me a lot with introducing me to the Starboard Foil Team and actually taught me the basics of foiling. The guy is a legend and I’m happy for him. We train together and I think there is nothing better for a training team than finishing number 1 and 2 in the world. With that said I will not hold back next year. For sure my goal is to have a title for myself! That is the logical next step. But let’s wait and see, the foiling world is developing so fast that no one knows what will happen after the winter break. There are a few separate training groups and we will only know how fast everybody is at the first event. It will be exciting to see how high the bar was raised over the winter.
Thanks Sebastian. Good luck with the rest of your winter training and see you at the first racing event of the year in France (17th-22nd April).