Josh Angulo Changing Discipline
Anyone who knows the sport would only ever have imagined seeing Josh Angulo shredding a firing Jaws, a huge Teahupoo or an unforgiving Ponta Preta. However, after fulfilling his dreams with two world championship titles in waves, his eyes became set on a new goal…
In turn Ricardo Campello took a very similar path, but instead with freestyle windsurfing. Most people know that he could have reached several more titles on top of his three World Cup titles in freestyle between the years of 2003 to 2005. It goes without saying that inventing moves was in his nature, so the progression of the discipline may well have been even more rapid should he have not decided to break ranks.
Both were always at the top of their game in either waves or freestyle, but still decided to switch to a new discipline. This was not done for fear of becoming overtaken by younger talent and in turn being seen to be “getting out of their comfort zone”. Nor was it a matter of money. So why then?
In this two-part feature we will bring you the thoughts from both Josh Angulo and Ricardo Campello about their reasons for change. We begin with the former, over to our ‘reporter in the field’ Axel Reese and Josh Angulo himself.
Size: 183 cm
Weight: 98 kg
Results: Wave World Champion 2003 and 2009, Slalom World Cup Korea 2011 3rd, Slalom World Cup Costa Brava 2011 9th, Slalom World Cup Alacati 2011 6th, 9th World Cup Slalom 2011
Josh Angulo grew up in the waves around Hawaii. His dad already shaped Angulo Boards since he was a small boy. His older brothers Andy and Mark started to shine from a young age and both where excellent surfers. Mark became one of the most famous pro wave windsurfers in the eighties and still to this day his legendary mutants and even double mutants seem to leave people stunned.
Josh had the same dream and announced at the age of 10 that he wanted to be a professional windsurfer and nothing else. He certainly had the talent and became famous for his own powerful yet precise style; especially his perfect timed tweaks, and always in the most critical part of the wave. He soon became know as the king of aerials. Also in down-the-line starboard-tack conditions, he continues to excel as one of the Worlds leaders.
But as good as all this sounds, he had to fight his own personal addictions to drugs and alcohol in the nineties. He was more or less the bad-boy figure of windsurfing and still, if you would ask his old sponsors; Gun Sails or North Sails, they could tell you plenty of stories about it. After many bad years it seemed his religious beliefs had their way and came knocking at his door in Cape Verde in 2004, where he met Claudia, his wife. In 2009 he succeeded again and won his second World Cup title in waves. At the Beginning of 2010 he finally moved completely to slalom windsurfing with race sails from Gun and wave riding was put on the back burner. Josh is now 37, living with his family in Boston/USA. He continues to compete in PWA Slalom as well as managing the Windsurf and SUP boards of the Angulo brand.
Questions to Josh
AR: First up, is it true that your wife just came for two days to the Worldcup on Sylt because she strongly believed in you making it on the podium?
Josh: Before I left Maui for Sylt, my wife revealed to me her conversation with God and how He guaranteed her our victory. Of course, I tried to maintain my faith as best I could, but this was quite a heavy situation and I am a believer, but still struggle with faith sometimes, especially when we are presented with such clear words. Claudia was so sure about it that she planned her and Noah’s trip just to arrive for the last weekend and awards ceremony.
AR: Was your win in the final heat against Kauli Seadi in the Wave World Cup in Capo Verde 2009 the point in your career where you switched over to slalom?
Josh: I had previously switched over to slalom but my main focus was still on waves. It was not until I won the wave title again in 2009 that I decided to switch 100% to slalom.
AR: You put as much of your heart in to it as into the wave discipline. How is that possible for someone who grew up on Hawaii?
Josh: I’ve lived and travelled all over the world. Many of my great windsurf inspirations were European, even the people that weren’t heros to me I admired because of their dedication and professionalism. In Hawaii we learn a strong understanding of the ocean and usually attain a special and unique style. However, to win events you need something else and you have to work and learn. So for sure I always carry my positive points from Hawaii, but also the dedication of the Europeans, heart of Cape Verdians and pick and choose positive things from cultures around the world in order to try and be my best.
AR: What gives you the kick to go downwind overpowered on a race sail?
Josh: Usually you only really “push” when you are racing or testing and it’s to see that your material or you are better than the guy next to you. Wanting to win is the reason we all push. We are just a bunch of big kids that want to be the best at our game.
AR: Especially Fuerteventura, with its 40knots+ and choppy conditions everybody is at their limit. Is it just surviving?
Josh: You try and tune your equipment so you can push your limits, but for sure sometimes you are just surviving. I think they guys in Maui, France and Spain have the most high-wind tuning conditions, so they get the time on the water, which is very important to push your limits.
AR: Over the past years you have found some amazing wave conditions on Cape Verde, but for Slalom there is no real scene or training partners you could rely on. How did you manage to get into the top 10 in the Worldcup?
Josh: Good Skill, great equipment
AR: You are now involved in the Gun Sails sail development in Tarifa and you have your own customised sails. Is that the key for great results on the water?
Josh: The Gun Sails aren’t customised for me, they are customised to win races at the top level. We won 2 finals in 2011 and had one podium finish and a top 10 year finish, not bad. I think next year we can do better
AR: What most of the people don’t know, you are riding your own Angulo slalom boards, which are shaped by a German.
Josh: Dieter ‘Didi’ Jocham is the original ‘Horney boy’. He is a legend and super cool guy. When I met him he reminded me of a German version of Ed Angulo, so I liked him right away. I feel very honored by Dieter’s works and obviously he is a very important part of our team.
AR: What are your realistic goals for the upcoming PWA Slalom World Tour?
Josh: Top 5, maybe top 3 , maybe 1st…
AR: If you could move back to an earlier age, what would you have changed or done differently?
Josh: Learn better organizational and accounting skills and learned how to better save money.
A Statement from Jörg Müller about his change:
‘Josh Angulo is a pure Windsurfer. His career had ups and downs, but he got up again and again.’
His unique style, his long-standing commitment to windsurfing and his charisma make him to one of the most outstanding pros in our sport. After his second world title and subsequent retirement from the waves he is now ranked amongst the top 10 in slalom.