Running Elephant

2006 Super-X Champion, and Slalom 42 tour leader Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) has demonstrated amazing speed and racing pedigree this year, and right from the first event it was clear his targets were for nothing less than total domination of PWA World Tour Racing. The big man from Isle de Ré, France, known to his friends as the ‘Running Elephant’, gives us the lowdown on his secrets to success.


'My aim for this year was to win 3 world titles - Super X, Slalom and Race. I'm doing OK but the year is not finished and there is still plenty of hard to work do yet!

I started the year with a big new sponsor - Starboard. I was very happy to be included in the Team and was confident that the boards were going to work well. After some small events during the winter I knew from right from the start that it was going to be a good year! I’m feeling good on the water and it helps to have so much experience behind me.

Even though this year’s business is not finished yet, I’m confident already I’ll be able to match this year’s performance in 2007 by working hard again this winter! If you're fit, motivated, prepared and your equipments going good, then you’ve always a good chance to be at the top.

During the break before this season I trained really hard and worked on my sails with NeilPryde designer, Robert Stroj and my teammates Micah Buzianis and Pieter Bijl. When I went to the Defi Wind in Gruissan, France in June - a huge long distance event with 600 guys on the start line - I won every race and no one could touch me! I think the pros that saw me there understood that I was going to fly this year!

When people ask what's motivating me I say simply that I want to win! I'm not doing all of this to come in second or third! I laugh when people congratulate me on coming in second or something - do you think Schumacher is happy to be second? Also I have a great opportunity to make my mark in this business and I want people to remember what I did - just as I remember what Robby or Bjorn achieved.

In fact looking back at the achievements of those guys in those days I wish the overall World Title never got dropped. As I was growing up my dream was to win the overall title, as in my opinion, this is the most important title to have. I meet so many people who don’t know who won each discipline and that compare that to the years when everyone knew that Bjorn was king in all disciplines. It would be easier to sell ourselves as athletes if we could say we are THE World Windsurfing Champion - in all categories!! It also makes much more of an impact in the general media I think.

I'll continue to compete until either I do not have any more sponsors or I'm not winning anymore! After that I'll see - there are no definite plans. I already have a business (including a windsurfing school and 2 shops) so I'll be able to take some time to choose what I want to do.

I would really encourage the new generation to work hard - it will always pay off in the end. If you're dedicated to your career and you are prepared to put in the effort and make some sacrifices then you'll achieve a lot. If you look at guys such as Bjorn, Nik, Micah, Kevin, Matt and Finian they have all put in a lot of time to be where they are now. Some of the younger guys on Tour are also doing well now and it's great to see their talent and commitment paying off.

Happy sailing!'

Merci Antoine.

© PWA / Brian McDowell