The IFCA Slalom World Championships! Are you ready?

Florian Bandel from the national black team is ready! The Ifca events are often loved by riders who are busy with other activities, rather than being just professional windsurfing. The level is not extreme as in the PWA, but still very challenging for everyone. Read more from Florian, maybe you’ll find out that you could be also interested in starting to take part at these type of events!

Florian Bandel has been one of the most promising Young German talent windsurfers in this early century, competing in most national and international events. The results were good to turn pro, but Florian never gave up his studies at university and went straight to work. Nevertheless his results are still in top of the ranking at the events he takes part in.

You never gave up your studies. Did you ever think to focus on racing only?
Racing was always a lot of fun for me and there were times when I considered this seriously. However I always had the desire to do more than just windsurfing in life. I want to explore and push my limits also in other areas.

Some pro riders who studied did not go to the job they studied for, but took time off to try to join the elite of the pro windsurfers. Did you do the same?
At age 23, at the end of my studies, I was already competing for over 10 years and knew the world of windsurfing quite well. I wanted to explore new ways in order to challenge, grow and develop myself. Fortunately, I got a great opportunity to work for Rothschild’s investment banking division. That’s like competing in the PWA World Cup in the investment banking world.

What did you study and why?
I studied Corporate Management and Economics. I was always interested in business, hence I thought studying business is the right thing to do and it was!

For a time you had your personal website where it was split in 2 parts. Businessman and pro windsurfer. Tell us about that time.
That is quite long ago….It was the time when I started to be fascinated by both, the world of windsurfing and the world of business. I competed nationally as well as internationally and had several sponsors who kindly supported me during this time. Hence, I needed to have a website (this was before facebook & instagram became big). At the same time, Dr. Yves Dudli, a Swiss windsurfer who worked as a financial investor, became my mentor and opened the doors for me into the investment world. I started my own small corporate finance business where I mainly build financial models and calculated returns for customers. So I thought, why not simply combining my two activities in one website and use some synergies.

What do you feel closer to, from those 2 faces of Florian, even if you actually choose mainly one?
I love to be in both worlds but my focus is on business. However once I’m on the water, I forget everything and focuse 100% on windsurfing.
Having my main focus on business and not being financially dependent on any sponsors made me mentally much stronger in windsurfing competitions because there is no pressure. I don’t have to do it, it’s pure fun on the water for me. I enjoy every minute on the water even more than before, because I know that my windsurfing time is limited. And of course being able to compete with and even beating some pro riders despite working full-time as an investor is a fantastic feeling 🙂

Now we saw you after some years back again on the race course more actively. Why is that?
After my studies I worked for Rothschild in the M&A investment banking team. This was a great place to work and learn, but provided limited opportunities to go windsurfing in the first years. 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to join Triton Partners, a European private equity firm. I had a few weeks off in between which I used to train and compete in the German Championships again. That went well with an immediate TOP10 result which got me passionate again. The fire was back!
Today I wake up at 5.30 or 6.00am, train in the morning 1-2 hours in the gym or on the race bike before I go to work nearly every day. This training provides me with the physical as well as mental strength that I need to succeed. How to race and tune the material is still in my DNA.
In addition, I have a great team from Point 7 and Lorch Boards around me. Also my current employer Triton Partners is supporting me. I get so much positive energy out of it, it’s great!

You had good results in 2015. Tell us about that.
2015 was an great year for me. I got 13th at the IFCA Slalom World Championships in Sylt which is my best international result since the 3rd place at the Youth World Championship in 2003 in the U17 category. I also got 2nd at a competition of the German Championship Series.
Having the speed to be at the first mark together with pros like Albeau and Quentel during the Garda One Hour Classico was another highlight and fantastic feeling. In the end, I finished 11th as best German rider in front of Andi Laufer. It is always fun to race against Andi, as Andi and I were born and raised in the same region and I learned windsurfing at the windsurfing school owned by Andi’s mum.

What are the main difficulties to be working till the day before, and the next day from the suit, jumping in Hawaiian shorts and be racing with best world sailors?
Pretty difficult…The most difficult thing is that I have very limited or no time to prepare. When I arrived at the first competition last year, my sails where brand new. They even had the plastics inside. Hence I had 30min before the first race to get the set up right. In the end I got 2nd place at that competition which was part of the German Championship Series, so worked out pretty well…
Due to the limited time on the water to prepare, I need to use my experience and the advice of people that I trust. There is Günter Lorch, who I know for over 20 years. I was a Lorch team rider from day one and never changed.  He not only provides me with the right boards but also helps to find the right fins and set up. Lars Winheller provided my with excellence fins in the last years. And of course there is Andrea and the whole Point 7 team which is supporting me not only with the sails but also with tipps how to trim and tune them (very important!).
My girlfriend not only supports me mentally but also with great nutrition tipps. There is my dad who was there since day one helping me organising the logistics and to prepare during important competitions, so I can focus on racing.
So far it works well, thanks to the whole team!

Who do you think enjoys more windsurfing, a pro or you?
I know that I have a lot fun on the water, every-time, no matter what! I feel the joy of windsurfing stronger today than in the past. I have no pressure during competition, I can only win no matter what place.

You are using Point-7 for many years, how many? What is the relation with the brand?
I joined the Point 7 team already in 2006/2007 as one of the first German riders. It was really the team of Andrea, Peter and Alberto who convinced me at the time. It was a great team spirit and a passion for windsurfing fast. I remember well all great times we had in Sardinia and on lake Garda!
I knew Andrea, Alberto and Peter even before Point 7 was established. I got 3rd place at the Youth World Championships U17 in 2003 at lake Garda with a YES sails designed by Peter. Alberto won the competition also on YES sails. Andrea, I knew from other competitions and was always impressed by his speed. Since the age of 10, I have been regularly at lake Garda to train and compete. Hence, I felt home with the Point 7 team from the beginning.
I learned from the experience with the Point 7 team that you can follow your dreams if you are passionate about it, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and not be afraid to fail. Success will come in the long run. I still remember well all the challenges we had with the racing sails in the first years and it is such a great feeling to see and feel how well the sails are working now!

Which will be your next event and plans for the future in windsurfing and business?
Plans for the future are to stay focused on my goals, push my limits, develop my skills further and enjoy life. Whatever I do, mediocre is not an option.
I will compete at the DEFI Wind for the first time. I’m pretty excited about it, first time with a 80l Slalom board and 5.6qm AC1 sail! In addition, I will go to Croatia in order to compete at the IFCA Slalom World Championships. And of course I will go again to the beautiful Swiss Mountains for the Swiss Championships in Silvaplana.

You never gave up your studies. Did you ever think to focus on racing only?
Racing was always a lot of fun for me and there were times when I considered this seriously. However I always had the desire to do more than just windsurfing in life. I want to explore and push my limits also in other areas.

Some pro riders who studied did not go to the job they studied for, but took time off to try to join the elite of the pro windsurfers. Did you do the same?

At age 23, at the end of my studies, I was already competing for over 10 years and knew the world of windsurfing quite well. I wanted to explore new ways in order to challenge, grow and develop myself. Fortunately, I got a great opportunity to work for Rothschild’s investment banking division. That’s like competing in the PWA World Cup in the investment banking world.

What did you study and why?
I studied Corporate Management and Economics. I was always interested in business, hence I thought studying business is the right thing to do and it was!

For a time you had your personal website where it was split in 2 parts. Businessman and pro windsurfer. Tell us about that time.
That is quite long ago….It was the time when I started to be fascinated by both, the world of windsurfing and the world of business. I competed nationally as well as internationally and had several sponsors who kindly supported me during this time. Hence, I needed to have a website (this was before facebook & instagram became big). At the same time, Dr. Yves Dudli, a Swiss windsurfer who worked as a financial investor, became my mentor and opened the doors for me into the investment world. I started my own small corporate finance business where I mainly build financial models and calculated returns for customers. So I thought, why not simply combining my two activities in one website and use some synergies.

What do you feel closer to, from those 2 faces of Florian, even if you actually choose mainly one?
I love to be in both worlds but my focus is on business. However once I’m on the water, I forget everything and focuse 100% on windsurfing.
Having my main focus on business and not being financially dependent on any sponsors made me mentally much stronger in windsurfing competitions because there is no pressure. I don’t have to do it, it’s pure fun on the water for me. I enjoy every minute on the water even more than before, because I know that my windsurfing time is limited. And of course being able to compete with and even beating some pro riders despite working full-time as an investor is a fantastic feeling 🙂

Now we saw you after some years back again on the race course more actively. Why is that?
After my studies I worked for Rothschild in the M&A investment banking team. This was a great place to work and learn, but provided limited opportunities to go windsurfing in the first years. 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to join Triton Partners, a European private equity firm. I had a few weeks off in between which I used to train and compete in the German Championships again. That went well with an immediate TOP10 result which got me passionate again. The fire was back!
Today I wake up at 5.30 or 6.00am, train in the morning 1-2 hours in the gym or on the race bike before I go to work nearly every day. This training provides me with the physical as well as mental strength that I need to succeed. How to race and tune the material is still in my DNA.
In addition, I have a great team from Point 7 and Lorch Boards around me. Also my current employer Triton Partners is supporting me. I get so much positive energy out of it, it’s great!

You had good results in 2015. Tell us about that.
2015 was an great year for me. I got 13th at the IFCA Slalom World Championships in Sylt which is my best international result since the 3rd place at the Youth World Championship in 2003 in the U17 category. I also got 2nd at a competition of the German Championship Series.
Having the speed to be at the first mark together with pros like Albeau and Quentel during the Garda One Hour Classico was another highlight and fantastic feeling. In the end, I finished 11th as best German rider in front of Andi Laufer. It is always fun to race against Andi, as Andi and I were born and raised in the same region and I learned windsurfing at the windsurfing school owned by Andi’s mum.

What are the main difficulties to be working till the day before, and the next day from the suit, jumping in Hawaiian shorts and be racing with best world sailors?
Pretty difficult…The most difficult thing is that I have very limited or no time to prepare. When I arrived at the first competition last year, my sails where brand new. They even had the plastics inside. Hence I had 30min before the first race to get the set up right. In the end I got 2nd place at that competition which was part of the German Championship Series, so worked out pretty well…
Due to the limited time on the water to prepare, I need to use my experience and the advice of people that I trust. There is Günter Lorch, who I know for over 20 years. I was a Lorch team rider from day one and never changed.  He not only provides me with the right boards but also helps to find the right fins and set up. Lars Winheller provided my with excellence fins in the last years. And of course there is Andrea and the whole Point 7 team which is supporting me not only with the sails but also with tipps how to trim and tune them (very important!).
My girlfriend not only supports me mentally but also with great nutrition tipps. There is my dad who was there since day one helping me organising the logistics and to prepare during important competitions, so I can focus on racing.
So far it works well, thanks to the whole team!

Who do you think enjoys more windsurfing, a pro or you?
I know that I have a lot fun on the water, every-time, no matter what! I feel the joy of windsurfing stronger today than in the past. I have no pressure during competition, I can only win no matter what place.

You are using Point-7 for many years, how many? What is the relation with the brand?
I joined the Point 7 team already in 2006/2007 as one of the first German riders. It was really the team of Andrea, Peter and Alberto who convinced me at the time. It was a great team spirit and a passion for windsurfing fast. I remember well all great times we had in Sardinia and on lake Garda!
I knew Andrea, Alberto and Peter even before Point 7 was established. I got 3rd place at the Youth World Championships U17 in 2003 at lake Garda with a YES sails designed by Peter. Alberto won the competition also on YES sails. Andrea, I knew from other competitions and was always impressed by his speed. Since the age of 10, I have been regularly at lake Garda to train and compete. Hence, I felt home with the Point 7 team from the beginning.
I learned from the experience with the Point 7 team that you can follow your dreams if you are passionate about it, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and not be afraid to fail. Success will come in the long run. I still remember well all the challenges we had with the racing sails in the first years and it is such a great feeling to see and feel how well the sails are working now!

Which will be your next event and plans for the future in windsurfing and business?
Plans for the future are to stay focused on my goals, push my limits, develop my skills further and enjoy life. Whatever I do, mediocre is not an option.
I will compete at the DEFI Wind for the first time. I’m pretty excited about it, first time with a 80l Slalom board and 5.6qm AC1 sail! In addition, I will go to Croatia in order to compete at the IFCA Slalom World Championships. And of course I will go again to the beautiful Swiss Mountains for the Swiss Championships in Silvaplana.

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