Even when you experience one of the best summers ever, swell-wise, you always get a few flat days in between. That's when I'm glad I'm into freestyle as well. There's always some fun to be had.
I might be getting a bit old for it (or at least that's how it feels sometimes watching all the upcoming youngsters killing it), but in the end you're only as old as you feel right?
And it's all been feeling pretty fresh out there recently with my new sails I'm telling you.
I've been using my new FREEK's, Severne's pure freestyle sails. The 4.4 is the one I sail with most as it planes super early and stays comfortable even when I'm stacked.
Besides its huge wind range, the FREEK is so incredibly balanced and easy to duck, I've been surprising myself learning and nailing new stuff I didn't expect. I can try a lot more moves as the ducking is easier, and the sail has got a really good lift, which helps getting more height even in lighter winds.
Fanatic Skate, FREEK and a sick new MB Fin, and there's no excuse for not stepping it up big time now!
Si took these shots this morning during a light easterly session. We were expecting it to be a good one but never mind. It's over 40° every day here at the moment so any time in the water is welcome.
Windsurfing’s taken yet a new dimension for me lately. First of all, we’ve had such a good summer so far, with so many amazing road trips, I have been enjoying windsurfing more than ever. I have learnt a lot too, which always helps with the frothing.
There’s been an extra frothing factor too. It’s bright red, super light, incredibly balanced. Guessed yet? Yep. I’m now sailing on Severne sails.
It’s great to be part of the local team. And to make sure I get my butt kicked by the man himself if I dare do a run without a stunt. Being under the constant threat of getting run over or having a huntsman sneaked into my bed is definitely helping me step it up. (I’m talking about Mr Severne here by the way, not about my other half - no domestic violence to report please. )
But what is unreal is how good the sails are.
Changing over to different sails usually takes a bit of adaptation time - well not this time. These are so light, balanced and responsive, they allow you to totally forget about your sail and focus 100% on the wave, jump or whatever you do out there. There is never any pulling you around in the wrong direction.
I am using the Freek for freestyle, and the S-1 for wave sailing.
And what they’re working on for 2014 is very promising - I’ve been using a 4.3 S-1 2014 prototype, it was incredible.
We set off early on Friday to catch what looked like could be a descent 3 day pattern on the South Coast. It’s quite a bit of a drive but it’s such a good place to windsurf, surf and hang around that it’s always worth it . Even when the conditions are not all time, it’s just good to be there.
I love how the landscape changes as you drive down. Leaving the city behind and driving through the native forest, the huge fields and farm land of the wheatbelt, the little towns in the middle of nowhere, the longest stretches of dead straight road through desert land, and finally, the white beaches and bright blue water of the South Coast.
We ended up getting a bit of a mix of conditions: light wind with good waves, strong wind with small waves, cross onshore, offshore... We all know that the conditions there can get heaps better, but it was a lot of fun and a great weekend nonetheless. We got to get in the water every day and to catch up with friends, and as usual got looked after by the very hospitable locals. A big thanks to all of them. And thanks Sco’y for the windsurfing shots.
After a busy season on tour I am back in WA for the whole summer, and available for windsurfing lessons, in and around Perth.
Lessons are opened to everyone, no age limit, no minimum level requirement.
So whether you are just getting into windsurfing - or never stepped on a board before - looking to improve your planing skills, want to finally nail those carve jibes, tacks, or freestyle moves, or want to get introduced to the world of wave sailing, there is no excuse...
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and bookings.
For more information about my coaching check out the "coaching" section of my website.
So that's it for this year. The tour is over. It's always a bit of an emotional time, with too many good friends that I won't see for a few months. But it's also full of positive emotion with all the champs being crowned and the sudden realization that the season has ended and the results are there.
I'm freestyle vice world champion for the second time in a row and I just got my first podium finish in waves. Enough reasons to celebrate - and celebrate we did!
Sylt was great. Cold, but windy and wavey. Wave sailors, freestylers and racers got their share of action out there.
We got so lucky for the waves straight from the start: cross shore with head high waves! I was up against Steffi Wahl in my first heat... Not an easy start. I sailed a good heat and managed to go through though. The following day we ran the finals and I was against Karin for 3rd and 4th. For the first time in my wave career the wind was light so only 2 waves were counting, no jump. Riding waves is what I love most and what I'm good at, and I went out there pretty relaxed and caught some good waves. And finished 3rd!
We still had to run the double elimination which means nothing's decided. You can always drop to 4th if you lose your heat. The conditions weren't good enough until the last few hours of the event. We went out in dead onshore wind, messy waves and heaps of current (I had to battle to stand in the water and not get knocked off my feet). Karin made it and I had to sail with her again. Except this time I wasn't quite as relaxed as the conditions were anything but what I'm comfortable in. Anyway, I did what I could and came out of the water pretty disappointed with myself, thinking I had lost. I'd even brought my gear all the way back up, ready to just go away with 4th... But then I heard a familiar voice shouting from the top "Treboooooouuuuxxx!!!! Awessooooome!!". That was the ever excited Sarah-Quita telling me I had won my heat. She went to double check, came back with a big smile, and off I ran back down for the next heat. I was up against Daida, sailed a bad heat, couldn't get any jump or descent ride. Daida threw some amazing jumps (for a change) and got it. Fair enough!
So that was the story of my first podium in the waves and I'm telling ya, it feels good!
The prize giving ceremony on Sunday afternoon saw a lot of world champions being crowned. Good moments.
It was really good to catch up with a lot of good friends. I hadn't giggled so much in a week in a while with my favourite Sylt flatmates Fanny and Alice, always on form. We ended the week with a massive Sunday night, a proper end of event and straight to the airport party. It wasn't the easiest journey home but the party was worth the pain.
There are so many people I want to thank. The ones who support me, the ones who believe in me, the ones who coach me, the ones who make me happy and inspire me. You are all part of this and I will never forget any of it. Thank you.
I would also like to mention and congratulate again my amazing friend Sarah-Quita who just got her 5th Freestyle World Title - 6th including her slalom title. Thanks for the great moments on and off the water.
I made it again! Managed to sail all the finals of all 4 eliminations and take the 2nd place at the latest PWA freestyle event that took place at Sotavento, Fuerteventura.
It's been a nerve wracking week. The wind kept switching on and off to start with, making it hard to stay focused. I was on 4.5 for the first few days, which is light for Fuerteventura, then we ended the week with proper Fuerte conditions, 3.7 stacked.
I needed a bit of time to switch my brain back to freestyle after 2 months of wave sailing, but after a couple of dodgy heats on the first day, I got back into it and sailed some really good ones.
The whole event was a lot of fun, I always love catching up with the whole freestyle crew and a lot of friends who I hadn't seen in a while.
I would like to say a special thank you to Aly Sabri (www.alysabri.com) for helping me prepare for the tour again this year, it's been great working together, I learnt so much.
Another massive thank you goes to Simon for the constant support and for putting up with my nerves and moods during the last few events!
I'm back in Tenerife for a few days now, wind and waves are here with us too, then back to Switzerland in a couple of days. Looking forward to spending some time there with family and mates, it's been a while...
Pics ©PWA / John Carter