Blast From The Past
Our last ‘Blast From The Past’ features - Diony Guadagnino (AHD / Loftsails) - who has two decades of experience on the world tour having made his debut in 2020. The Venezuelan is a complete allrounder having competed in Freestyle, Wave and Slalom - where he spends most of his time competing these days. Read on for a great read with Diony, who is extremely open and honest!
Hi Diony, can you take us back to the memory of your very first windsurf experience - where were you?
Well as we grew up in Bequia, a tiny Island, which belongs to St Vincent and the Grenadines chain, my father was a sailor and windsurfer, occasionally he would sail to Petit Nevis, a super small Island, right in front of where we lived in Friendship Bay, he use to drag my sister Colette Guadagnino (Freestyle PWA World Champion) and I to the Island on his windsurfing gear, it was almost impossible to learn back then in the mid-late 80’s - it was super heavy and almost impossible for us to learn at the age of 6. My dad had the famous windsurfers back in the days.
When was it?
Shortly after living on Bequia Island, my parents decided to move further south to Playa El Yaque, Isla Margarita, Venezuela, we were very privileged to live literally on the sand, this is when I really fell in love with the sport in 1991 when I was 8 years old.
Who were you with?
I started windsurfing at the same time together with my sister Colette and my older brother Amancio, there was a young local kid at that time with huge talent called Alexis Carache, which motivated us a bunch as he was doing the sickest lay down jibes and huge stall forwards with almost no waves on slalom gear, he and other locals were helped by an amazing Canadian crew from Sharks club, but there were also a lot of individuals that inspired us and helped us through that initiation path, for example our step father back then also got us into windsurfing, also Miguel Bruggemann (Key West) and the Kitts family (Hood River), they had one of the biggest windsurf centres called Carib Winds, I would work a couple hours a day after school pulling weed out of the clubs garden and other work to be able to use the gear, the gear they had back then was the sickest! I remember this clam sandwich boards and Rushwind sails from Columbia River Gorge like a pot of gold, you know how kids LOVE ice cream?? well I loved that gear and windsurfing on it.....there was not a better moment for me!!!, they really disciplined me also to the point that they hanged me with my harness from a tree in front of everyone and tied my hands, which I couldn't get down from for a while, because I did something wrong ;) jajaja! believe me I was not an angel...jajaja
What do you remember from that very first ‘session’?
All I remember is that it was all so natural, I learned my first day how to tack and almost plane, I only remember watching the locals doing loops and that was my HUGE GOAL! after watching all the famous videos from the 90's from Hawaii and the Gorge, I had it all in my mind (THE VISION!!! to become the best!, I was a total maniac and was hooked so bad to windsurfing you have no idea! It took me 12 months exactly to learn how to loop! At 10 I was already doing forwards and at 11 trying my first doubles!
Who was your local hero? And why?
Definitely the Carache brother’s, Jonny and Alexis, they both had such a gangsta low ride style with long harness lines which I thought was the coolest thing, together with how fluid and stylish they would do there moves was a show to watch, they both had slalom gear as they knew with speed they would catch incredible air time and stalled forwards.
What gear were you using?
I had a few sails which I shared with my sister Colette, we had a 3.4m Gaastra Dacron, a 2.9m pink Rushwind with 2 cams, Gaastra 3.9m monofilm with 1 cam, we had a no nose Logozwork board - a Hi Per Tech Gorge hi-performance board and also an old 7'7 surf board which was converted to windsurf, which was so cool.
Describe your feeling when you were planing for the first time…
As an 8 year old kid I had no words, it was hallucinating, don't know if you guys ever dreamed of flying as a kid, like you had special powers, I dreamed that all the time, especially watching Peter Pan, windsurfing gave me a similar feeling, but I have to be honest, before even planing I wanted to do loops...
How did you realise you were becoming a professional windsurfer?
In our case we were so blessed living in one of the top 3 places on the planet to windsurf, by learning my first loop after 12 months and windsurfing every single day of the year, I only had windsurfing and surf posters in my room, ohhhh and a few of girls as well! hahaha, I also watched all my favourite windsurfing videos, for example spring loaded, KA1111 when Jason Polakow was using the famous yellow strapper boards with an eagle, The famous Gorge videos skyrocketing, Rig ’n’ Roll, Splash Back, Radical Attitude, I really watched so many videos every single day and that was my strive back then as there was no social media jeje, I learned all my moves by watching videos, watching magazines and dreaming of knowing my inspirational windsurf hero's one day as Josh Stone, Brian Talma, Robert Terihteau, Francisco Goya, Ian Boyd, Leon Belanger, Josh Angulo, Luke and Levi Siver, Robby Naish, I knew one day I was going to be windsurfing with them. in fact a few of them actually visited us here in El Yaque back in the day for photo shoots, I remember when the legend of all legends Robert Terihiteau came (photo attached), he was probably one of the most craziest and coolest windsurfers, also I remember when Brian Talma came and Josh Stone, Antoine Albeau and Eric Thieme! I was daydreaming!!
Give a tip for the next generation…
Never ever stop dreaming no matter what it is, as long as it's HEALTHY it's GOOD!! Surround yourself with good and healthy people, we are all born with a special gift (talent), it should come naturally, be patient, but when it comes do not let the train pass by, GO FOR IT 10,000,000% just do the GOOD in life and help each other and remember never forget your roots and where you come from, always be you and do not let anyone, fame or money change you! GOOD VIBES!! Diony Guadagnino V69!