Next up in the Next Generation series is the young German making a name for himself on the PWA tour. Alessio Stillrich, who’s particularly dangerous on his home break of Pozo speaks with fellow Fanatic rider for this instalment.
Name: Alessio Stillrich
Residence: San Agustin, Gran Canaria, Spain
Years windsurfing: since 2004
Best personal results: 3 x Spanish Wave Junior Champion 13th Pozo and Tenerife PWA Wave World Tour 2012
Photos by: PWA/ Carter
You started windsurfing pretty young, who introduced you to the sport?
When I was about nine, Moritz Mauch’s dad, who runs the Club Mistral Windsurfing Centre, gave me some gear to learn with, so I started a bit there in San Agustin. Soon after I decided I wanted to learn more and joined the Hullon school in Pozo Izquierdo.
Were you pushed to learn and train, like they do with some other little kids in other sports?
No, no, not at all, nobody pushed me. I really enjoyed it since the beginning. I used to go sailing with a friend of my mum, Marco, and I really loved it.
What motivated you when you were little?
To go planing! It was insane, I still remember the day I first planed, I was so stoked!!.
And what keeps you motivated now?
To jump really REALLY high. I love super high backloops and also doing all the moves on the waves: high shakas, one handed goiters, takas, etc… For some reason simply pure riding doesn’t motivate me as much as making moves.
So, what are your best moves then?
I think the Pushloop-table top, and also I have already done some Pushloop-forwards. Also, on the wave I have already under control the one handed goiters and shakas, double-shakas, takas, etc…
At only 17 and with already a World Cup level, are you still keeping up with your studies?
Yes, yes… I am still at school; I still have two more years to finish high school.
And then, are you planning to go to Uni?
Yes, I think I will go to Uni, I think I will do Sports Science, but I am thinking about taking one year off before that and do the whole Tour, see how it goes and try to get a good overall result.
How do you manage to keep up with both, studies and training? Can you train during the work week?
When it’s windy I come to Pozo after school and I sail until seven or eight in the evening, then I go back home and do my homework then. If there is no wind then I try to make the most of that time and study more
(He laughs a bit and looks at his mum, she is laughing too. You can see this is a bit of a tension point!!)
Why the cheeky laugh?
Because this year I am not doing very well at school. I was very good when I was a bit younger, but this year is not going SO well. Not too bad though. And I also have a good excuse, I have been pretty busy getting a diploma on chiro-massage too, like this I have a diploma already and on my year off I can work with massages and make some money for the trips etc…
Wow, impressive actually…. How do you see the professional side of windsurfing, how does an up-and-coming see the life of a pro?
It is true that compared to other sports a windsurfing career doesn’t seem SO professional, but still I would love to become professional, and I think -I hope- I will get there one day.
So, do you have a plan to become professional?
Ufff… I know it is really difficult, and now that Philip is dominating it will be even more difficult to be at the top, but I want, in about five years time, to be a regular in the top three. I know it is difficult, and my only plan is to train as hard as possible to become one of the best.
And do you see yourself as a World Champion one day?
You never know what is going to happen in ten years, but I hope I can get there and I will aim to get there for sure.
Growing up with windsurfing, what do you think you have gained from the sport that other kids haven’t got?
I think I would have been very bored if I had a normal life. Windsurfing keeps me busy and motivated.
Which are your strong and weak points on the water?
My strong point I think is my jumping and my weakness point I think it is just the pure riding, cut-backs and things like that, when I see myself in videos I am not very happy with the way I look.
And off the water?
My weak point… (he laughs a bit nervous and looks at his mum again, I think they both know what this is about…) my weak point I think is my perseverance in other things apart from windsurfing. I start doing something and I give up or I lose interest pretty quickly. And my strong point I think is that I am a good person I think, I think I get on well with people.
Check out the rest of the New Generation series: