I find it interesting that my generation of sportsmen were seemingly stuck at the top. Of course I am not talking about myself, but look at Dunkerbeck, Polakow, Naish and Goya, there are loads of others, too many to mention. Even Kelly Slater – 10 world titles he’s my generation too. What is it about those early nineties that formed the champions and gave them such a lead over the younger guys? They were never to be beaten by the young talent, even though the kids have brought completely new styles.
Over the last couple of decades, we have seen windsurfing go from a mainstream, high-profile spectacle that had everyone wanting to be a windsurfer, to more of a minority sport where kids at the beach don’t even know what a board and sail is In fact, it’s ironic that the sport is now the easiest to learn, has the best equipment and is the cheapest it has ever been. The problem is there are now many other tempting extreme sports which are all cool and mostly not-so-reliant on the weather.
However, we know that anyone who windsurfs now is not lead by being cool and fashion trends. If you windsurf now, it is in your blood, you will probably do it until your body stops you from doing it. Like me, you will always be into it, whether you sail every time it’s windy or just when you have time and the conditions are right. For me, there is nothing that gives me the buzz of a good session; even though the bar is now pretty high to get the juices flowing.
In my time on the world tour (ten years full-time), I have heard many a poignant comment or statement from all of the greats of windsurfing. I have witnessed the great and not so great. From laughing at tour rookies, barely good enough to be there, to watching the best blow my mind as they pushed the envelope even further than before. As such, I have taken many influences from these superb athletes.
Something Robby Naish once said has always stuck with me: “You should always try to ride the whole wave and link your turns – never waste a whole wave on one turn.” That sentiment has stuck with me as a metaphor for my life as I carry on riding the whole wave and not kicking off and looking for the next one.
Photos by Julia Toms