UK Wave Champions: John Hibbard (The Champ) and Andy King (The Vice Champ)
PWA Tiree shots courtesy of PWA/John Carter.
All other courtesy Simon Crowther.
This pair are like chalk and cheese – how they sail, how they approach competition, in fact how they approach life in general. But both are very likable characters and have been the backbone of UK wave competition for 10 years now. This year they finished on equal points after four wave events in Ireland, Rhosneigr, Tiree and West Wittering. However, after much delving into the rule books in an attempt to separate them, John got the overall title following his better result at the last event at West Wittering.
But because they finished neck and neck, we decided to pair them up for this interview and ask them exactly the same questions. Be warned - it's no holds barred - 10 years on the wave tour gives you a somewhat sharpened sense of humour but don’t worry, they love each other really!!
Simple questions first…..
Names: John Hibbard and Andy King.
Ages: J: 30yrs old. A: 31 yrs old.
Live: J: I split my time between Surrey and Devon depending on forecasts, commitments with sponsors and time available. A: Lostwithiel, Cornwall with my girlfriend Liz.
John’s sponsors: Tushingham Sails, Starboard, Fat Face, Go Fast Sports, Neilson Active Holidays, Mystic Boarding, ActionVan, Nissan GB.
Andy’s sponsors: Goya Boards & Sails, Rip Curl, Pat Love, MFC, Pro Sport, Bigsalty, OceanSource.com, Boardseeker.com, Exploria Online, TheHun.net.
Now the technical ones…..
Favourite UK Beach:
J: Gwithian or a little secret spot we found during the Storm Chase.
A: Any beach that’s sideshore with waves.
Favourite UK event in 2007 and why:
J: Ireland. Great place, great wind and I felt that I was sailing well in the first round.
A: Tiree because Louise was running it.
Least favourite UK event in 2007 and why:
J: Rhosneigr because of a lack of decent wind and waves.
A: West Wittering because the wind was too onshore, the waves were too small, the heat length was too short and the conditions were inadequate which actually sums up the Judges.
What kit did you use on the UK Tour?
J: Tushingham Rock 3.7, 4.2, 4.7, 5.2, 5.7 AND Starboard Evo 70, 75, 80.
A: Goya Wave Sails 3.7 to 5.7 AND Goya Boards 75 Custom, 81 Custom, 86 (proper) Custom, 85 One and a 95 One.
How do you earn your money?
J: 100% through sponsorship.
A: 100% through work.
What motivates you to compete?
J: The opportunity to prove myself and the need to maintain a level of stature in the sport to keep and attract sponsors (i.e. to keep an income).
A: I don’t like seeing **** sailors win events.
Tell us where you have been during 2007 in terms of windsurf travelling?
J: Cape Town, Tenerife but mainly the UK and Ireland.
A: Cornwall, Ireland – that’s it. Oh, I live in Cornwall.
If money was no object, where would you most like to live and why?
J: Cornwall, but I’d make it hot, sunny and windy all the time. Failing that I’d split my time between Cape Town, Western Australia and New Zealand but to be honest I like the UK the best.
A: I would live between Western Australia and Hawaii.
What are you winter training plans?
J: I’m off to Oz for three weeks at the end of November then I’ll be back in the UK for a bit and spending some time with my girlfriend who I haven’t seen much of since the start of September due to my competitions and her trip to Mount Everest! After that I’m sure there is a high chance of taking a trip to Cape Town but nothing is booked yet.
A: I’ve got to stay in Cornwall working and will sail if and when I can.
Ok, let’s get personal…..
How would you describe Andy as a person?
J: Quiet and shy but with a deviant streak, and when it comes to replying to questions like this he’ll be super cheeky saying things he’d never say to your face!!
And as a sailor…
J: Radical but unpredictable. A real animal of a persona when on the water. He can go from pulling off the best moves when free sailing to totally crumpling in a heat although that happens less and less now. As far as heat sailing goes he relies, I think, more on his radical ‘ness’ rather than any kind of heat tactics or planned approach. I tend to know what is going to score the best on a given day and really study the judge’s perspective to see what will get me through in a heat. I guess I have a more calculated, measured approach to heat sailing whereas Andy blasts through it.
How would you describe John as a person?
A: He’s a nice guy and works hard to make a life out of windsurfing.
And as a sailor….
A: John would fit in well in the UKWA Ladies fleet. Only joking. He’s a solid heat sailor but lacks any decent moves except for the one-handed chop hop.
What’s Andy’s best move?
Back loops. I once made a film of Andy windsurfing. I filmed him for 45mins and all I did was edit out the bits between the jumps. Every jump was a back loop. He must have done 30 back loops in the video. He landed all but a handful.
What’s John’s best move?
A: That’s a tricky one – he does nice cheese rolls.
Name a funny story from the UKWA Tour about Andy!
J: I can’t think of any that can be printed. Andy is well known for his practical jokes and tom foolery. I’m sure for his answer he’ll come up with a story about some childish prank he played on me or others in the last ten years. The funniest thing about Andy is that he refuses to eat things like red meat and anything other than your standard meat and two veg and always goes on about what you should and shouldn’t eat but then he’ll happily tuck into iced buns, biscuits and sweets as his stable diet!
Another funny thing about Andy is that when he gets knocked out of a heat he’ll always go off upwind and sail like a total legend landing doubles, massive back loops, etc. If he could consistently do that in his heats then he would’ve been UK champion 10 times over by now!
Name a funny story from the UKWA Tour about John?
A: I once stayed in a house with John in Ireland. There was no wind at the event so the contest turned to practical jokes. I covered his pillow with mashed banana, he retaliated with jugs of water. We then had a standoff with eggs down the driveway but I finally got the upper hand by entering his bedroom during the wee small hours with a surfing leash. Let's just say we don't talk about this incident anymore.
Will you two be up for a sailoff filmed by Boardseeker and judged by our readers?
J: Yes, I’d be up for it for a laugh.
A: Tell John to start filming for the next couple of months and then come the sailoff, I’ll sail for a minute and a half and beat him.
Honestly, they are really good mates!!!