'People often ask how scary was it starting out new making race boards for a company with no track record or heritage in racing. Personally I wasn’t that nervous at all. I tried the slalom boards that they’d made already and was impressed with them so I knew we could develop good racing boards. JP has a long great history of making some of the best wave, freeride, freestyle and super X boards around, so it would only make sense they would carry it into Slalom 42. I’ve also known Werner for a long time and knew he was a very good shaper with a strong history, so from the first moment I got an opportunity to work with him first hand, I knew that he has what it takes to make the fastest boards around.
In preparation for this season I worked hard on getting all my new gear tuned up and being comfortable with everything. I spent almost all my on-water time working on slalom, as this was my goal for this year. Plus I also spent a lot of time with Scott Sanchez of MPG in the gym and on the road getting as fit as possible. I had a couple of setbacks in this area but all went as well as could be expected.
I’ve been riding bikes for a long time, and when I was younger I raced my BMX for a few years and ever since I’ve been on a mountain or road bike.In fact over the last ten or so years I have really gotten into road biking, not only for the enjoyment and the health reasons, but also for the advantages I have found that translate directly into my windsurfing. A lot of the same muscles needed for racing are worked in road biking. The cardio is different in the two sports but the road bike really builds up the stamina so it can’t hurt for a long days racing. Plus it’s such a great feeling being on the bike and tackling some huge climbs in Maui or Europe. I am a bit of a greaser as well; I like Harley’s and have owned two of them, but just don’t have the time to keep up with the maintenance - maybe one day when I have more time for hobbies!
Neil Pryde and JP are my main sponsors, and in this, my first year with both of them, they’ve been really big in keeping me motivated to keep racing and winning. I’m very thankful to have been able to sign with both of these companies, as we both have a lot of the same ideas and goals in racing, so it makes for a very good work/play environment. It has also been a huge motivator making such big sponsor changes at this point of my career. It was a very long and educational chapter in my life with North but it was time to move on. Being with a new company always gives a huge injection into what ever it is you do and this has been even more so for me. I have a lot of very good friends that work at Neil Pryde and JP, and it has been a lot of fun getting reconnected with them and working with them. At the same time there are a lot of new people that I’ve met, and all of them are very positive and are striving towards the same goal of excellence – to be number one. They are also pushing me very hard!!!
My perfect scenario for 2006 would of course been winning the overall PWA racing title, but this is too late as Antoine pretty much has it wrapped up. This was my goal along with winning every PWA racing event, so now I’m shooting for a win in Sylt, a finish on the podium, and a Neil Pryde 1,2,3! But the biggest motivation in all of this is my family - I want to win everything for them. Having children changes a lot of things and I really feel it has focused me more and made me positive. In order to spend as much time as possible with them you really have to make the most out of your days, so making the best of my time is something I really enjoy doing. My son Lance is almost two and a half and is the most fun I have ever had!!! Laura and I have a new girl on the way and she will be arriving around the middle of November, hopefully on the 19th, so we can celebrate our birthdays together!
If I win a third PWA world title I will definitely be back for more! Even if I don’t I still feel I have at least two to three good years of racing in me after this season. As long as I feel I have a chance to win and am representing my sponsors in a positive way then I’ll be out there racing.
How’s my spocking? Are you likely to see me at a Super-X event again any time soon? Will I enter waves if there’s an overall title back up for grabs? Well, my spocking sucks! I think in total I have made about five or six spocks and I spent a good time trying to get ready for Super X last year. I made an effort to get into the Super X and after my first event in Leucate I decided I better retire before I make myself look any worse.
As for Wave sailing I still love it but after living in Maui for twenty years I am pretty spoilt and only really enjoy it when it gets really good. On shore waves are not really for me especially when they are in cold places. If the overall comes back then I may try to do some more wave events in the good locations like Maui or Guincho, but hopefully they might come up with one or two more down the line events or in warmer locations.
There are a few guys my size and weight with dual ambition in Speedsailing and racing. But neither JP nor myself really have any speedsailing targets at the moment. I‘d like to go for the record at some point, and this is always in the back of my mind, but to go and sit in the south of France for two months to wait for the right day isn’t my cup of tea. There are some deals in the early stages that could put a record attempt together in a more reasonable and reliable location, and this is something I would definitely be a part of.I get to rack up enough air miles testing and competing right now, especially commuting from Maui to Cape Town to work with Werner!
I love Cape Town however, and I got to spend some quality time there this spring with perfect sailing conditions. Werner and I got so much done and in a great variety of conditions. I don’t really mind it at all it is nice to go somewhere else to get some training, testing and to get used to different conditions. Also since Cape Town is such a nice place it makes it that much better. It is a long way from Maui but as long as it is a nice place and there are nice people and the possibility to get a lot done then I’m up for it.
So after all the work so far this year my strategy for Sylt is to win and be totally aggressive in doing so. I think this is my only chance to move up on to the podium, but I won’t really be thinking about this. It will be one race at a time but the top of the podium will be the focus.
Beyond that I never know what the future may hold. My goals are to be able to continue doing what I am doing for at least two to three more years, which is testing and racing, and promoting Neil Pryde and JP. I want to win at least one title for these guys, and then after this I’m not sure. I’d like to stay in Maui and potentially continue my work for these guys in some capacity, but I also have some other options if this doesn’t work out'.
© PWA / Brian McDowell