PWA SYLT: The 4, 8, 14!

4 Looks like the number for Point-7 in this PWA Sylt edition 2015 which took part a week ago. Unfortunately, the wind was not present at the event, except to bring home a full slalom elimination out of 3 disciplines which could have taken place. Below read the interviews from 2 of the Black Team riders from Point-7. Andrea Cucchi and Kurosh Kiani.SY15_sl_NED69_0074

The event was always big, but this year felt even bigger due to the amazing livestream. Lots of sponsors, spectators, and alternative activities were actually the main attraction of the event this year, as the wind was not there for the whole time, except for that slalom bracket.

There were a lot of highlights in the long week: sailors meeting where new rules and ideas were presented. The release of Sarah’s Quita new video, a lot of rumours for next year’s new sponsorships for some pro riders, new products on the beach, and much more which makes Sylt for sure the biggest windsurfing event in the world.

The only slalom elimination, brought three Point-7 Black Team riders in top 15.  Andrea Cucchi in 4th, Kurosh Kiani 8th, and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel in 14th.

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Finally, an interview to the boss. Andrea how was this event for you?
Sylt is always one of the toughest events. The first time that you suddenly hit the 10°C temperature after you are used to be in over 30°C for more months. It’s one of the places and events that you hate for the weather, but great event on the other hand. This year we had only one slalom elimination, and the team did well. 3 guys in top 15 is good. I finished 4th. First time in slalom in a PWA event, and it’s nice. Especially when you just celebrated the 40th birthday. It makes you feel young! Too bad I missed the podium, but Antoine passed me like Valentino Rossi in one of the jibes, down through the final. In Sylt is always busy for me as it’s the time of the year where, we brands, set up new contracts with the riders, there are sails to be tested for the next racing season, so the focus is in many tasks. So 4th was good. My riders were not so happy that I finished in front of them, right at the time that contracts need to be discussed ahah. Anyway overall some are still in the front, so they are lucky.

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Do you do much work on your gear and train?
I don’t really tune my gear. Actually I do, but I don’t test too much or take too much time on it. I always come home with no sails or masts, as my team takes it all away from me. So I end up going to events with new gear all the time, and having to draw with a thick felt tape my sail numbers. In Sylt, I had to borrow a mast as they had all disappeared from my van, from Gonzalo, my sail was brand new taken out of the shelf. Just time on the beach to put tensions on the batten and go to the starting line. I do know well our sails, so I don’t need to do too much tuning on the production sails to rig them correct. I have a good board and fin, so I just need to find the right positioning of the components. Sometimes I realize only too late that my harness lines and booms are set up from the last session I was maybe on some freeride sails testing. Than I end up in the water few min before the start putting the boom longer, changing position of the harness lines… anyway,  I’m more interested that my team is set up well for winning. I had no real time the last years due to establishing the brand to train. This year I tried to organize myself more, and managed to do also some biking and gym. Nothing crazy, just for keeping healthy.  I try never to miss one day on the water, and I live where I can windsurf every day without losing time. In Tenerife, I can be on the water in 10minutes from the time I close the screen of my computer, if I don’t get stuck talking on the beach too long. On Garda the wind hits our closed office hours so it’s perfect. So I windsurf a lot let’s say. Not for training, mainly for testing. So it’s a bit different, but I do have very often my hand on the boom. Still far from what pros can do!

Where do you think you will end up in the PWA ranking?
I’m now 20th.  I know I could do better. My focus is not always there though. Plus I always feel like I’m not as fit as the other pros, so I go to the water less aggressive and more for fun. Maybe I should still believe a bit more in it, but for me is great to have the opportunity to spend time with my team, developing with them new products, meeting our distributors etc…  It’s part of the brand lifestyle.

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Kurosh Kiani lands on 8th position! First time in top 10 in PWA at one event?

Tell us about it?
This was a typical Sylt day. It was a sunday, so most people had probably been up late attending to some of the parties going on around town 🙂 .. The forecast was for light onshore winds on the limit, which was meant to increase during the day.
I rocked up on the beach, and yes,, it was light winds on the limit, so the morning was spent hanging out with the team and talking stories. Eventually we got sent out to try to run a few heats, but the wind was just too light and gusty, and there was a really strong current going with the wind.
We then got sent back to the beach, and I managed to get out of the wetsuit, only to put it back on very wet some moments later, and it was game on. I knew from when I last was using this equipment in Costa Brava, that I´ve got a fairly good set-up and I remember thinking to myself, that if I would play it right, I could probably do well on this day, because my gear was feeling quite good.
In the first round I had a pretty good start, and I think I finished second. In the quarter finals, I also had a good start, and just managed to squeeze myself into fourth with a few guys pushing behind me. In the semi finals, I had quite a bad start and had to pull upwind and let everyone gybe in front of me. I then sailed a bit longer and focused on just finding a wave go gybe on, and hope that people would stop in the gybe, which they did. I planed out of my gybe with lots of power, and was able to pass the guys from below, and I was actually in 5th place half of the race until someone in front of me stopped in the gybe and I was able to pass him and finish in 4th place.
For the final, I sailed out and realized that I need to focus on a good start, and I will be OK. I had a mediocre start, and a few guys (including Andrea) rolled me from the top, just before the mark, and I believe I was around 4-5th place at the gybe mark, but somehow I got carried away from my original plan, which was to avoid gybing tight and getting stuck, and I just followed Antoine. I put my gybe and when I pulled up my sail, I realized that I had gybed too tight, and I pretty much sailed straight into the mark,, hahahaha,, After that, it was just 8th place for me all the way to the finish line. I regret a bit deviating from my plan, but it was a good day, and I am happy to have made it all the way to the final!! For the rest of the week, it was just a nerve wrecking waiting game to get back into action. It was long to say the least!!

You were using the 9.7, the rest of the team was on 8.6?
Yeah I am loving that 9,7 in the lighter winds. Somehow it fits my style and combination of board and fin quite good.
I know all the other guys love the 8,6, and I love it too. It has great acceleration, its light in your hands and works great in light winds also.
But I have just always been scared of going too small, in case I don’t get that gybe just right or I need to point upwind on the course. So I´ve worked a lot of hours on that 9,7, and to me it doesn’t feel big anymore, and I am comfortable with it on the water 🙂

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Why is it that some heavy guys still don’t always take the biggest sail in light wind?
Well if your rig is a good rig, and you tune it well for light wind, there is often no need to go super big. But eventually you will get caught unable to plane or lose power if someone covers you. You can of course avoid these things by racing really well. The good thing about the smaller sail, is that almost always, it will accelerate faster, and it feels great in your hands in the turns.

I know that by taking a bigger sail, I might not be the fastest, but I get scared of not planing or being able to have power throughout the course. So in the end, it’s a question of how you tune your stuff to go to make it personalized for your sailing.

We heard that there was a meeting with slalom sailors to try to change some rules for 2016 racing. Courses, wind strengths. What was proposed? Any changes for next year?
There are some things in the air regarding chancing of courses, and a change in the format of our eliminations which will look more like the elimination which the wave sailors use, but none of it is official, and is still in the discussion process as its still unsure if its going to benefit the racing scene or not.

You are doing the tour professionally, but you are working on your own business at the same time. What is it about?
Well since the early days, I have been involved with building websites, customized systems, designing things, and pretty much building any sort of thing which involves a computer 🙂 . I have my own lille one man consultancy buizz where I help people and companies across the world with any of their needs within this world.

So you are the man behind the live scoring for waves system in PWA? Heard there is a new project in freestyle. How is that working?
This is true. A live scoring system for the freestyle actually already has been built, but it is undergoing a testing phase which involves user testing from judges, systems testing and finally adjustments in the format of which the freestyle sailors will use for the future. This will be a complex system behind the scenes but efforts have been made to make it simple to the public. Without being able to reveal much, I expect that it will really push the freestyle windsurfing discipline to a high level for the public, just like it did when we introduced live scoring for the wave discipline.

You are from DK, but you are leaving in Lanzarote. We do not need to ask why? Or do we need to?
Hahaha,, well its a good question really. It all came from having to move apartments a winter, and I was having a hard time finding anything in the Copenhagen area, and everything was very expensive. And then it hit me, why am I bothering staying here over the winter, when I can go somewhere nicer, and be able to sail every day. So I convinced my mom to come with and basically set up a base there for now, and so far it has been very nice.
On Lanzarote I´m able to do lots of things effectively, and I don’t have to go away for months at the time. I can train there, and it’s a short trip to the other islands or Europe. I still have lots of stuff going on in Denmark, so I´ll often go back and forth.

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You are also giving support on distributing Point-7 in DK. How is the market in DK. What are the plans for Point-7 in the country?
Yes this is true. My friend Christian and me are selling all Point-7 gear in Denmark and having a great time with it. Denmark despite its size is a big windsurfing nation, and we have a growing market the way I see it. Our aim for Denmark is to have a team of youngsters, which we also currently have. At the moment, we are building a team of strong and upcoming young sailors, and at the same time, we are focusing on the social aspects of windsurfing, because this is what brought us together as friends in the beginning, and we know that there is a strong social connection between the windsurfers in Denmark. You´ll see us around the country for training weekends and in the windsurfing clubs throughout the year. And as an addition, we have also organized a trip for the team and anyone else who would like to join us in January to Lanzarote 🙂

What is your aim for this season? There is still New Caledonia. Will you go there?
This year my aim was to be in the top16. But after some disaster events in Fuerteventura and Alacati, that aim seems to be too far away. But I will do what I can to be in the best 20. I am currently working on some plans to be able to go to the last event of the season in New Caledonia. If everything works out, you will see me there going ALL IN and giving it all I´ve got!!

After New Caledonia, what will be the winter training season looking like for you?
This year I identified lots of things which I need to work on over the winter, so I am thinking that I will use the month of December to chill out with friends and start planning the following months, and then from January on, I expect that I will start working towards the start of the season. I am setting up some training facilities here on Lanzarote with a boat and some buoys, so my set-up will be top dollar, and I might skip across to Tenerife as well. Also I do like sailing with the guys in Tarifa, so these three places you will be able to find me I would say 🙂

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