David vs. Goliath
Kauli Seadi Interview
Trading Waves with Kauli Seadi
Whilst training in Maui, Clyde
Waite caught up with Kauli Seadi, his international
AHD/Naish team mate, to try out some of his unusual boards, find out more about
his ambitions and witness some explosive wave sailing.
The second time I met Kauli was at this years London
Boat Show, he was adjusting the straps on one of
my boards, kind of him I thought, I was just thinking
of doing that if I could only find a screwdriver.
It turned out he was going to borrow it for the pool
(the board, not the screwdriver).
I ill advised him that at 90 litres it might be
a little small but should give it a go anyway. (Most
people had been struggling with anything less than
105litres, actually correction, most people were
struggling.) He admired my 14 year old F Hot fin
which I had deemed disposable and promised to bring
it back in one piece.
The performance he then gave
was electrifying to say the least and pure entertainment.
The crowds loved him; charismatic off the water
and a showman on it, he delivered a performance that
made their arduous wait worthwhile, convincingly
taking the overall title.
More recently he silenced the raging French at Bercy
by landing a huge air chacho off the ramp to take
the jump title! I decided then and there that this
guy was probably going to live up to expectations
and continue the year as he started at the London
We arranged to get together in Maui, since we were both going
to be there at the same time. He would let me sail some of
his prototype AHD boards, allowing me to find out more about
the continuous development and the direction he was trying
to further board design in, and of course to do the interview.
|| Kauli Seadi
|| Santa Catarina, Brazil
|Height & Weight:
|| 1m76 and 70kilos
|| Naish, AHD and Mormaii wetsuits
|2003 PWA Final
|| 12th Waves / 2nd Freestyle
|2004 latest results:
2nd overall Bercy Indoor,
6th PWA Hawaii Pro at Hookipa, 2nd PWA Lanzarote
BIT OF BACKGROUND
How long have you been windsurfing and how did
you get into it?
I have been windsurfing since 1995,
in Brazil on a lake in front of my parents’ house.
It was pretty much a friend of mine who got me into it. I
used to compete in tennis and this friend was in my tennis
class and his dad was a windsurfer, and as he started to
do a little windsurfing I started to go with him. I knew
pretty much that that was what I wanted to do, but my Dad
still wanted me to go and play tennis, because he is a coach
and wanted me to be a professional tennis player.
What made you get into wave and freestyle?
started racing (slalom and course racing) and then I got
into wave sailing. I went to Maui for the first time in
1999 and Naish sponsored me to just wave sail. So I gave
up racing and concentrated on wave riding throughout 2000.
It wasn’t until the winter of 2000/2001 that
I got into freestyle. I was trying to copy people doing
freestyle stuff and I didn’t want to get left behind
so began to train hard. But it took me ages to do Spocks
until I saw Daida Moreno doing a spock, she was my inspiration,
and the same day I did one. For the 2001 competition season
I was supposed to do just waves but Dioni Guadagnino and
Ricardo Campello came along and convinced me to do the
freestyle tour as well.
In Gran Canaria I didn’t do so well because it
was windy, then at Fuerte (PWA World Cup Freestyle) I won
the event so then I got really into it!
Wave sailing is my favourite as it is the best feeling
and it is what I want to do for the rest of my life. But
sometimes freestyle can just be the same when you crack
a new move. You keep crashing and hurting and then one
day, you get it! The switch stance moves we’re hard
enough but now I’m trying switch body where your
back is to the sail before you start a move.
How long did it take you to do your first forward?
a year and a half, maybe more. The mental barrier is probably
the most frustrating, more so than any other move I have
learned. The first time I was trying on the lake back home
but I bruised my back so much I put a life jacket on to
THE AHD CONNECTION
You changed from Naish to
AHD for Board sponsorship – why?
me it was a really interesting to go to AHD, as
they are a cool branding that had the idea to push
their image with my image and get me involved with
developing boards for production. If you are really
involved with the brand instead of just being a
sponsored sailor then you are part of the company.
It is really important for me to get involved with
the consumer. They also wanted to have my boards
in Brazilian colours which is important to me because
I am proud of my country.
Tell me about your boards, they look a bit different
than your standard outline, and they definitely have
less rocker. What is your thinking behind this?
am the person responsible to develop the boards so I
have to try stuff that would make them better. For example,
try different rocker lines and outlines, different measurements
and distribution of volume. This year (2004) I worked a
lot with the rocker lines. Sometimes one thing changes
everything which can be frustrating. For the 2005 range
I am trying even shorter boards but that changes an already
good rocker so it’s a compromise. For example, one
of the prototype board has a vee with a double concave
that is really nice. It gives the board a lot of drive
when flat but keeps the rocker for smooth bottom turns.
The rocker we have used on the 2004 production boards
(the Kauli Pros) is copied from my custom board I use when
I want lots of speed and have to do lots of turns as well,
basically my all round wave board.
Why are you trying shorter boards?
try and eliminate as much area that is not working for
the board. This just adds weight and gets in the way on
the wave. Plus if you have a shorter board you can have
more control, for example, you get less windage on the
board, less bounce in chop, it is easier to engage the
rail and you have more control when jumping.
Who shapes your boards?
Without giving too much away, what different
ideas are you trying out?
We are maybe trying
to put one of my freestyle boards into production (The
majority of AHD production boards are developed by Antoine
Albeau). It has a fast rocker to most, a lot of volume
in the back and quite short with soft rails.
What is the difference between the boards you
use and the ones Antoine Albeau?
his own rocker line which is very different to mine and
is used on the production boards.
Some of the boards look like smaller versions
of the original wave boards, like the Tiga, that appeared
20 years ago, did you draw your ideas from these?
have never seen these boards, but it is what usually
happens, things go and come back round. Maybe it is just
different generations and how you look at things. Then
have the same technology, and were much longer and heavier
so while the shape might have been good, the boards couldn’t
be designed any lighter. Technology at the time limited
OK, tell me more about your
sails, you are into the short mast length of Boxer’s.
Why do you prefer these over the traditional type?
Because the short luff makes the
sail feel so much more together and with a long mast
it feels like the sail is going all over the place.
I plane earlier on a Boxer compared to the other
guys and I can control my sail better when it gets
windier. For me it has a better feel. The Firestick
mast is unbelievable because it never breaks, even
when you are always sailing Hookipa.
Everyone knows that you have stupidly long harness
lines, any other kit rigging secrets we should know about?
the harness lines are long (34cm) because it helps on one
handed moves for jumping so you have more space to move the
sail back and forward in the air. My sails are set as the
manual suggests. I have my boom pretty much near the top
of the cut out. The combination is so I can get as far away
from the rig as possible.
2004 AND BEYOND
What are your aims for 2004?
long term dream would to be to Top 5 at least on
the wave tour year in year out. But it is part of
a process and I believe one day I am going to get
there. The last three years I have been working really
hard to get the right configuration of equipment
and also work on my mental and physical state.
Are you making a good living?
I have enough money to do the things I want to
do and of course I get to travel all around the
world with friends, seeing wonderful places etc.
Sometimes it is hard when you want to be at home
with your girlfriend. I have been with her for
a year and a little. She is really important to
me as I find if you are just alone it is hard to
focus. If you have a girlfriend you are calmer,
and can focus on what you have to do. I am home
for about 4 months a year so we make the most of
What do you think you will do after windsurfing?
I have made my millions from windsurfing (ha! ha!) there
are lots of places I would like to visit that the world
of windsurfing doesn’t take me to, like Indonesia
I would also like to try snowboarding. I’ve also
thought about travelling in a boat for a couple of years,
maybe go round the world and get away from the normal life,
where everyone wants the most money, the best watch, the
prettiest shoes, the best house…
Any advice for aspiring youngsters wanting to
follow in your footsteps?
I believe the first
thing is that they have to follow their dream, they have
to believe in it and try the hardest they can, because
nothing comes for free, but if you want it, then you
can go for it and get it.
KAULI & JAWS
What was it like windsurfing Jaws for the first time?
I went there with a jet ski with Jason Polakow. I tried not to think about
it even though everyone was telling me how big it was and trying to scare me.
I also practiced holding my breath for as long as possible in the weeks running
up to sailing it. I had one go for 2 mins 40secs but my friends were punching
me a little trying to re enact what it would be like. I think they just liked
beating me up!
But the day came and I had a good one. The wave was not that big and it was
good to see how it worked.
"It (surfing) seems too much hassle for to little
Kauli on Jaws: “The water comes from deep and hits the reef and just goes
up and up. If you get hit by the lip, you are going to get hurt for sure, it’s
a massive amount of water.”
Kauli on Robby Swift: “Swifty
is a really cool, fun guy. He is always searching for girls and shit,
so it is fun to watch him, especially in parties. I believe he has
a chance for a title this year for sure. He has the potential if he
really goes for it. He is a really good competitor, he knows what he
has to do to win and does it.”
Kauli on surfing: “It
seems too much hassle for to little fun. It doesn’t even compare
to windsurfing but it is something to do on the windless days”
So there you have it, he is approachable, dedicated
and focused : attributes of an excellent sportsman.
He is full of ideas for boards, some work, some don’t.
I had a go on a super short fish with the wide point
well forward with triple wingers, a swallow tail and
a Quattro concave!! He is certainly not afraid to try
new ideas to drive the development of board design
forward and alongside his peers including John Skye,
Victor Fernadez and Robby Swift, he is determined to
push the boundaries of wavesailing by mixing in a little
freestyle which may come as a bit of a shock to the