The PWA World Tour just started the second wave event 2022 in Pozo / Gran Canaria. Our Brand Ambassador Philipp Grzybowski took the chance to meet the GUNSAILS Team for a chat.


Julian Salmonn at PWA Grancanaria Pozo

Hello Julian, how are you? World Cup Pozo, after a two-year break from Corona, it's time to get going again. How motivated are you and what are you looking forward to the most at the upcoming competition?
The pandemic has not only caused a lot of confusion in windsurfing. We, like almost everyone else, had a forced break from competitions for over two years. Despite limited travel opportunities, I still had very good training opportunities on Tenerife "on the doorstep". As always, I am mega motivated, looking forward to the competition and especially to meet the other riders again. We are competitors in the competition, but I am still very close friends with some of them, such as Arthur or Marc, and I am always very happy to meet them again.

The season started in February on the Cape Verde. After Down the Line conditions with little wind, Cross-On and Atomhack are probably on the agenda again. In addition, the World Cup on Pozo is something like a little home game for you. How much does that play into your cards and what goals have you set for the competition?
Pozo is right next door, but in the last few months (also due to Corona, of course) I have been training mainly on Tenerife. The conditions at the two spots are, as I said, very different. This is a real challenge but also an essential part of our sport. You always have to adjust to new conditions. If you can do this quickly and flexibly, you have a real advantage in the competition. If I had to choose between wave riding and jumping in the disciplines, I would certainly always choose wave riding. Of course, this is more difficult in Pozo, but I still hope that a result among the top 10 is possible.

As I said, Pozo is a little home game for you, Gran Canaria is only a stone's throw away from your adopted home on Tenerife by ferry. How do you prepare for the competition? Since when are you in Pozo and how does the training look like in the last days before the competition?
Of course, I try to prepare as long as possible here in Pozo and adjust to the conditions accordingly. In fact, this year I have already been in Gran Canaria for 3 weeks. Right before the race I try to cut back on training so that I can start the race with full batteries. I usually use the time for a material check and other small things for optimal preparation. But I don't want to reveal everything here.


Marco Ortiz Bay at PWA Grancanaria Pozo

Hey Flo, first things first: How is the foot?
My foot is top fit again and the many hours in the weight room have paid off. It feels like nothing ever happened.

You missed the first tour stop of the PWA on Cap Verden. How motivated are you to catch up? Do you have a specific goal in mind?
Yes, I would have loved to be at the Pwa Tour stop in Sal, because this is one of the best events for pure down-the-line wave riding. But sometimes you have to listen to your body. Four weeks after the surgery, it would have been too early to join a competition. Of course I have some catching up to do in terms of training time, but my equipment (Seal, Ultrakode) fits really well here for Pozo and I'm just motivated to go for it. I just want to have fun on the water and race every heat with full commitment. I have nothing to lose and I'm hot to be on the water for as many hours as possible and to shoot myself into the sky here. The first practice session are done and I'm slowly getting into the Pozo groove.

You have been almost in South Africa for the last few months. But those who know you know that you weren't there exclusively to surf. Nevertheless, I assume you are well prepared. How do you train for a competition like the World Cup in Gran Canaria?
I don't really train specifically for an event, but try to adapt to the conditions. When I'm in South Africa, I go out where the conditions are best. I know my way around quite well and my focus is clearly on finding the best waves to ride. My center of life is now in a village south of Cape Town and besides windsurfing I am also surfing a lot and running a non profit organization called Mon Coeur with my wife. So you can also use the days with less wind productively.

Your debut with the PWA was in 2004, a whopping 18 years ago. What has changed in terms of approach and training for competitions? Have you become more relaxed or more professional?
I've been at it for a long time and it's still my passion. I am grateful for every session on the big blue playground. In the end, though, I'm only conditionally focused on contest riding. For me the right balance between interesting projects, trips to new destinations and riding a contest here and there is crucial to have fun in the long run. With Corona we didn't have a single event for two years now and if we have two or three events this year you can't call it a tour. The events that I ride, I try but already as professional and prepared as possible to contest. I am physically fit, my equipment is perfectly adjusted and then it helps if you just have fun on the water and push each other. You push yourself to your limits and I like the challenge of competing with others. We are like a big family on the tour and most of the riders are good friends - even if that pauses briefly during the heat of the competition :)


Tim Van Dam Sandrichain at PWA Gran Canaria Pozo

Hey Tim, welcome to the Gunsails family! Together with Julian, you are now the second Teneriffalocal in the team. Have you been preparing together for the season?
We have been friends since we were about 12 years old. So we have always been surfing together. I stopped windsurfing for a while and got back into the sport a few months ago with more motivation than ever. Now that we are on a team together, training is more exciting than ever. Last week we started to work together a bit more in preparation, but we plan to do even better in 2023.

You've been working diligently on the Doubleloop, is the move the gamechanger to be able to ride up front at the PWA? What chances do you see for the upcoming contest?
The double loop is becoming more and more of a must if you want to keep up with the top riders. Most riders try this move or already have it. Last week I started to try it and I managed to land a really good one. But I still need to stand it consistently to be able to show it in competition, and I'm working on that right now. My chances in competition are not my main focus. As I said, I've only recently started windsurfing again and am now focusing on learning as fast as I can. My plan is to do well in 2023, but for now I'm just looking forward to getting back into competition mode, and I'm going for it this year without any pressure!

How often do you go to Pozo, have you already settled into the spot and trained explicitly for the contest? Do you have a clear strategy in the heat or do you perform more by feeling?
I have already participated in the World Cup here in Pozo for several years. From 2014 to 2018, but that was only the junior contest. In Tenerife, I competed a few times in the men's event. I haven't been to Pozo for a few years now and I'm happy to be back! I don't only surf in Pozo, but also in the other spots like Vargas or Ojos de Garza, I missed it all a lot! I have a strategy, but as always in any sport, things can easily go differently and you have to adapt quickly. So I think all competitors mix their strategy with the instinct developed in training.


Nick Spangenberg at PWA Gran Canaria Pozo

Hey Nick, how are you? Flat in Denmark and at the German Windsurf Cup. So the upcoming Worldcup in Pozo on Gran Canaria is the first competition in the current season. Are you well prepared and how did your season preparation look like?
Yeah, I am doing reasonably well at the moment. I have been struggling with a slight pneumonia for about 2 weeks. Fortunately, I'm feeling much better now and ready for my first World Cup of the year. That's right. At the previous competitions the wind was not on our side, nevertheless I was able to train a lot for this season. I winter and spring I have been able to train hard on the Canary Islands and in Morocco and also had some good sessions on Fehmarn and in Denmark. Since I have not yet been able to achieve any results in 2022, the anticipation and tension for the World Cup in Pozo is of course enormously high. I am excited and looking forward to a great time with lots of wind and some friends.

Then first of all get well soon! When do you arrive in Pozo and how does the final training look like in the last days before the competition? Do you have a strict plan or are you more the spontaneous guy?
Thank you! I will be in Pozo one week before the start of the World Cup, because I have to write some exams at the university. The goal is of course to train hard again to consolidate the moves. I have been on Pozo every summer for 4 years, but it always takes time to get used to the extreme conditions. There is a difference between riding or jumping waves at 25 knots or 50 knots. Since I'm flying down with a couple of friends, we can certainly push and prepare ourselves well on the water.

After the Corona lull, it's finally time to get going again. Whereby, in September you could even start with the Youth Worldcup in Klitmöller. There you could secure the fourth place. Have you set yourself a personal goal for Pozo?
That is correct. Fortunately, we still had a Youth World Cup in Denmark in the fall. This one went really well for me. In Pozo it will certainly be harder. There is a much bigger starting field and many locals. Nevertheless, I will do my best and focus completely on myself and my heats.


Marco Ortiz Bay at PWA Grancanaria Pozo

Hello Marco, how are you? The airline lost your material on the way to Gran Canaria. Is there any news?
Yes the airline lost all my board bags. At my first session here I had to rely on the local station and had to go on the water with rental equipment. But I just got the message that my stuff is now at the airport and I can pick it up. Thank goodness!

You are just 14 years old and competing in the PWA World Championships. Is this your first competition? How excited are you before the big event?
I am super excited! The competition here in Pozo is my first competition ever. I can't believe I'm here and I'm looking forward to showing what I've got.

Cool! What do you have in mind to convince the judges of your skills?
I will try to show some frontloops and tabletops. I hope I can do them as well in competition as I did in practice. I also like wave riding, but jumping is more fun!

Usually the wind in Pozo blows with 30 to 40 knots. Sail sizes between 3.7 m² and 3.0 m² are already the rule here for adults. Which sails do you use in such conditions? Are you also a bit scared of the rough conditions here?
I have a 2.4 m² sail and a 3.0 m² sail in my luggage. I use the Gunsails Loop, which is perfect for me. Nice and light and I really like to ride it. I combine it with a 61l or 55l waveboard. I know strong wind conditions very well from home. In Tarifa we not infrequently have storms with 40 knots and more, in the conditions I feel comfortable and have my fun!

© Foto credits: John Carter (PWA) / Jose Piña