Last week Adam Sims interviewed Oscar Carmichael for us about his Youth Freestyle title. Time then for Boardseeker to turn the spotlight on Adam, who had a pretty successful year himself! Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Adam Sims…
Years windsurfing? 7ish
Local Spot? When in the UK, Camber Sands
Work with RRD? Just with the UK guys really, they’ve supported me well over the past few years, in particular Jem Hall.
What does that involve? The work there involved being the demo guy, doing the marketing, a bit of web design and making loads of tea for Jai. I’ve also recently had a big hand in the R’n’D for next years Superstyles. It’s cool that the international guys (well, John Skye) took on virtually all my feedback about the shape/design/colours. I saw some pics recently and they are looking good.
OK Adam, you have just a very successful year, culminating in winning the UKWA Freestyle Championships. Run us through your year?
Yeah the plan all along was to attend all the UKWA events and hopefully do 4 of the 7 PWA events. However, training in Egypt, before PWA Podersdorf lead to my foot injury. Which I then managed to really seal the deal at Podersdorf. Despite that, I sailed alright in the double. After that it was a couple UK events then Fuerte where, again, I managed to injury myself before competition, this time I couldn’t sail. After that was home for more events and the last UK freestyle event.
Highlights of the year?
Winning the last heat of the third and final round of competition at the last event of the UK Freestyle tour in Poole. Which gave me the championships! Other highlights, learning to push loop in Cape Town, 6 full power weeks in Fuerte and just the whole year really!
And the Lowlights?
Injuries, obviously. The most annoying had to be doing my hip before PWA Fuerte and not being able to compete.
You beat Bubble and Max to take the title…how does that feel?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say it felt good, but purely because I know how good those two are. Their level is world class. It was pretty damn close though, we all won a round of competition each at the final event in Poole, and it might of helped a bit that I entered 4 of the 5 events. Instead of the 2-3 that they made it to.
Have you competed in EFPT?
Yep, just the one event in Sardinia this year. I wanted to go to more but funding wouldn’t allow (a general theme for the year).
How was that?
Yeah it was fun, we didn’t get much wind but we did a lot of tow-in. I stuck a couple air funnels and burners in that to take 5th place.
Also done PWA freestyle?
Yeah as mentioned I completed PWA Podersdorf despite rupturing my ligament in my foot during the event and entered Sotavento but couldn’t sail.
How do you compare the level UK freestyle, say compared to Germany/Austria, where it seems a lot more younger guys are doing it? Or is this a fair statement?
Umm… it’s pretty similar actually. Although when you break it down you start to see how talented people are by how good they are compared to how little/much time they have had on the water. The Austrians have no coast and pretty much only one choppy lake to sail on (which freezes for a month or two over winter). The Germans have it a lot better with a huge coastline. I think watch this space though as a few of the Austrians are dedicating the next couple of years to freestyle. They will travel a lot (and already are), and their level is already high. On the age question, no it’s the same, they have their younger guys as do we but they also have a lot of good guys who are about 40-50 doing spocks, flakas, forwards, etc… which is cool.
You are currently in recovery from a pretty serious injury. Tell us more about that?
I’d go with debilitative rather than serious. Yeah I’m currently laying it up in bed (4 weeks in now) and have walked a few times on it. It’s just a pain as it is in my big toe and I’ve only really realised how useful that is for windsurfing now I can’t use it!
How did you get the injury?
It was a result of the whole year on it really. The first thing was tearing the ligament and generally messing up the toe in Egypt, then at Podersdorf where I completely ruptured it.
Did it hold you back at all?
Yeah I couldn’t do shuv-it spocks without it really hurting (as in I had to stop and sometimes shout in pain for about 5 minutes under-water, literally), shakas I had to do only when fully powered, and anything funnel related became hard if I wasn’t going fast. Which I think is why my style changed a lot in Fuerte, I only ever went out with the bigger sail and learnt to sail at full speed into everything!
What did the operation involve?
A long cut down the length of the toe (on top) then they snipped some of the ligaments underneath so I can flex my toe up, they also pulled the joint apart (which had previously been almost stuck together), from there they scraped out the joint for any debris and filed off the sharp bits around the edge of the joint that had accumulated from a number of direct impacts to the end of the toe. (Check my blog for pictures)
How long till you are sailing again?
I won’t be hitting the water until February (booked to go to Cape Town), although I could probably start sailing in January it’s not really the ideal time to warm your way back into it…
What are your plans for next year?
Well what is definite is Cape Town for Feb and most of the EFPT events. Maybe PWA Podersdorf and PWA Fuerte?!
What do you want to achieve next?
I’m not sure. I’d quite like to become UK Windsurfer of the year, having received a bit of a surprise nomination.
New moves you want to learn?
All of them! To be more specific though, I think Air Funnel into Funnel would be cool, consistent no-handed burners also and I started trying some Forward loop combinations in Fuerte (like flat water planning forwards and then bouncing into something), for sure that’s on the list. I have a few other ideas, which I will play around with in Cape Town.
Do you have any plans to do PWA freestyle events?
One day I will do the full tour for sure.
What would it take to get to that level?
Me being happy that I could contend for the top 10 places
Will you try any racing for example? Speed?
Yeah I did a bit at the NWF, which was fun. Would be cool to do Slalom at some point. On the speed front, I spoke with Tristan from gps-speed.co.uk recently and he is hooking me up with a GPS for next year so I’ll definitely be giving it a go. Maybe with a freestylers edge to it though
FREESTYLE IN GENERAL
Tell us, how big is the freestyle scene in UK?
Really quite big, although a lot of people don’t compete but just do it at their local spots or when they go away on holiday. There is a whole Student scene of it. There are the UK core people who go to all the events and then I think just about every seasonaire is a freestyler.
How many people doing it in comps? Poole saw quite a lot, I think it was around the 40 mark?! The most that has ever entered a UKWA Freestyle contest.
How many do you think do it in student scene or younger guys?
Student Scene again it’s a lot but only a few of them compete, maybe 20 or so at the bigger events.
Do you think it’s an important part of the future of the sport?
I think it is the future of the sport. It’s the part that is having the most dramatic change in terms of progression. Moves are being invented every month, powerful air moves off dead flat water and when you get in to combination moves then I think we have only just scraped the surface. Let’s not forget the possibilities of Tow-In.
Any tips for younger guys who want to try freestyle, or tips in particular for learning some key moves… where to start?
Come to the UK Comps (check ukwindsurfing.com) as it is a full on learning ground for freestyle. Everyone there is super friendly/approachable, all sharing the same interest, and the level starts from being able to gybe all the way to double and triple combinations. Just turn up at 9.30 on the Saturday and speak to everyone! Outside of that, sail as much as possible and practice everything on both tacks!
We asked Oscar last week: To many onlookers, some aspects of freestyle seem so far beyond their experiences, that it’s almost too hard to appreciate the difficulty of some of the moves, or even understand or be interested in freestyle.
What do you think about this?
Yeah it is possible to relate to the first part of this, it takes a long time to practice some of the moves, but that is much the same at the top of any sport. I think people will always be interested in it, there were about 200 people watching at Poole at some points and more than that for the night tow-in session at the NWF.
Do you think freestyle is the reserve of younger guys?
A bit of a sad common belief that one. Certainly not, there are a lot of people out there learning spocks/flakas/forwards at the age of 40-50-60! Again these guys aren’t so interested in competing. Perhaps a masters fleet will be seen in the future though
We see that the PWA are raising the prizemoney for tow-in, as it guarantees an event for the crowds in no-wind. What do you think of this? Your thoughts in general on tow in?
Tow-in is for sure sticking around. It can be done anywhere (even in City centers…) and if coordinated well (no long waits between competitors doing moves) then it can be super exciting to watch. Check out Julien Mas’s EFE tow-in video, the twins tow-in was unreal!! What’s even more interesting is that you can even do some moves that aren’t possible with wind as jet-ski can tow you at much higher speeds. I think it’s cool that the PWA are pushing it and giving riders more of an incentive to practice it.
You also wavesail and I think I’m right in saying competed in Amateur Fleet 2010 and won it?
Yeh, that was cool, I focused on doing that in 2010. I wave sail a bit still but not as much. I love it when I can though, especially at Camber.
Did you do Pro Fleet this year?
Just the one event at Wales.
How did that go?
Came 7th in the end, was super happy actually as quite a lot of good guys were there.
Which do you prefer waves freestyle?
Freestyle but I like more wavey spots like Fuerte when there is a swell running and you get 2/3ft ramps to launch off on the way out.
Your thought on freestylers influence in wavesailing?
It shouldn’t be held back, if any move can be done by sending it off the lip then it should count. It’s still on a wave and still landed back on a wave. Koster is the king of that and I love watching his sailing. Although like Oscar said, that powerful wave riding style like Polakow and Levi is still hard to beat.
Do you think Jem is a total bender?
Haha! A total legend in terms of help for me. He’s a good person to speak to from time to time. Just tells you things straight and tells you to go and do stuff, doesn’t fanny around with try this and try that. I appreciate what he has done for me a lot.