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» May 2010
Viewing posts created during May of 2010

Matt interviews Kevin about Korea

Here is a little interview with my brother after getting back from the first PWA Slalom even in Korea.


Matt Pritchard: The first race of the season is now finished... Korea is always an interesting event. Tell us a little about the prelude to it. What is involved in your training schedule and what exactly do you do to prepare?

Kevin Pritchard: Yeah man, I was out training pretty much every day going for it. Got the boards all ready as much as possible and tuned up the sails. I was running buoys and working on my starts... putting in the time and energy.


How do you like the 6 sails/3 boards rule? Do you think it is a good call?

Oh, I dont know. I guess it's fine. I always liked having to be able to tune your gear to your likings and get everything set up just for what you wanted. I think that has taken away one aspect of the game to be able to design and create something new and innovative.


Do you think things would be different if the rules were like they were back in the days when you could use whatever equipment you wanted?

You never know. I know when I was at my fastest I had the best gear in the world, and that year pretty much no one could touch me. My gear combo now is pretty dang good but it's open for everyone to get it so you really have to be on your game. 


Obviously all the gear is pretty dang good out there. It seems like the competition is intense. Tell us a little about how that has changed and why do you think it has?

 I think that people are starting to figure out what it takes. It takes hard work and time on the water. I think a lot of people are putting in the time and energy and with a level playing field of gear, it really makes you have to step up your game to get an advantage.


What about Antoine? He is clearly the man. Do you have any thing to say about how he was getting his butt kicked by almost everyone and then when he jumped on the same team as you and using the boards you designed he started whooping everyone? I bet that kinda hurt.

Yeah. Antoine is really on a roll. I think that builds confidence and confidence builds speed. For him, I think he always struggled with figuring out how to get his gear tuned up for him. Now he is on the same gear as everyone and he is just flying. Cant take anything away from that. 


Do you think he could go out there and still win on your equipment?

Probably. I think that there is so little between all the gear that with his speed and confidence he would probably still win.


You have a couple other fellow US dudes out there on tour with you. Do you all hang out together or how does it all work when you are on tour? Do you hang with Micah B and Josh Angulo? 

A little bit. Not too much, but Micah, Greg Thomas, and I all traveled from Maui together and stayed in the same hotel, so we were hanging out a bit.


Speaking of Angulo, what is he doing in 31st place? Any ideas there? I had him being a top 3 slalom guy when he decided he was coming on tour.

 You know, he's a busy guy. He deals with his own board brand, he just got on new sails, and the level is high. Josh will be back. He is fast, a fierce competitor and knows what it takes to be in the game.


Is there anything you want to say to all your North American fans out there? 

I think that it's great to get support from your fans whenever possible. I have a blog (CLICK HERE) where I talk about the inside scoop a lot and it really stokes me out when people comment and get behind me. I think that is cool.


How do you consider your performance at this event and what are you going to do to prepare for the next one?

It is not where I want to be. I want to be at least on the podium, if not on top of the podium. I am going to go in a bit more confident for the next one and step it up.


Thanks for your time.

No worries.


Posted: May 25, 2010 at 03:38 PM
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How to Handle Chop!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and had the chance to get some sailing in??? The wind here on Maui has been blasting!!!If you're thinking of coming for a last minute trip, it looks like we are in a good pattern, so get on that plane and come on over!

Speaking of planes, did anybody learn anything about pumping onto a plane from a couple of weeks ago? Hopefully so! Now that you are up and going, today we are going to talk about dealing with choppy waters!

Sometimes hitting chop at full speed can be pretty scary. We have all heard the saying  “speed is your friend,” and most of the time it is. When most people see chop coming at them, their first reaction is to slow down. When that happens, they straighten the legs and head up into the wind and usually end up hitting the steepest part of the chop and get bucked off! Sound familiar?

When I see chop coming at me, I hit the gas! I usually bear-off the wind, bend my knees and stick my butt out so that I can absorb the bumps. My “SEVEN 7” stance turns into a  “SIX 6.” Bearing-off the wind also takes some of the edge off the wind-chop and won’t send me flying. This is where those LONGER harness lines really help out! You are able to get further away from your rig and stay in control.

If things are really out of hand and you are getting bounced all over the place, get out of your harness lines, drop your butt down into the water and hang downward on your boom. This stance forces you to bend those knees and get low. It isn’t the prettiest looking stance but it will do the job and save you from getting flicked around. The name of the game is being in control and having fun!

Equipment setup for choppy conditions has a couple rules I like to go by:

  • - Having the mastrack forward helps keep the nose of the board low and down- this equals less tail walking.
  • - Putting your foot straps further inboard will give you more control, especially in the turns.
  • - If you are spinning out a lot, move your fin further back or your foot straps forward if your using a powerbox or tuttle box board.
  • - Make sure you have enough downhaul in your sail- too little and you will be getting thrown all over the place.
  • - The more overpowered you are, the more outhaul you can pull on- This kills some of the power in your rig and makes it easier to control.

Now all you need is some wind and water- get out there and GAS IT!

Posted: May 24, 2010 at 08:29 AM
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Steven Van Broeckhoven Interview

New Gaastra team rider, STEVEN VAN BROECKHOVEN continues his freestyle prowess by landing in the 2nd spot on the podium of the first PWA Freestyle event of the year! I got a chance to chat with him and see what his secrets were…

Nice job out there - Austria was the first PWA Freestyle event in 1999 and 11 years later it is still going- tell us about the atmosphere of that place and why it is such a great freestyle venue.
The PWA Podersdorf World Cup is a very big event with lots of spectators. Not only because of the windsurfing part but also
because of the sick party's. When the wind is blowing this is an excellent freestyle spot with big chop for powermoves. So perfect for a world cup.

It is nice having a crowd to push your level. Do you think this is a disadvantage to some of the competitors?
Maybe for some of them, but for me it means an extra boost and extra power to go beyond the limits.

What about the new moves- who is doing what these days? It seems like Team Bonaire is going to be tough to beat- Now that you are in 2nd overall, what are you plans for training and do you have some ideas on new moves? I think we should see a signature move from you??
This year there are some new moves like the skopu from davy scheffer and the kabikuchie of Kiri. Meanwhile I can do these moves too.It seems that you need to have the echo LE to make these new moves. But who knows Gollito will come out with something new? I don't know. This year most moves became more radical and higher. This is very good for the promotion of the sport. Indeed Team Bonaire is for me the best of all. Now I'm in second place I'm more confident and I realize that everything could be possible. I'm very motivated to stay professional in my sport. I already have some ideas about new moves but I just don't know yet if they would be possible. I nearly landed a new very radical combo!       

What was it like having to compete against your friend, training partner and fellow team Gaastra rider Davy Scheffers?
This was a pitty for Davy afterwards because he could have reached a far more higher score in the elimination ladder. Our heat seemed to be one of the best of the event.

What goes through your mind in your first heat vs what goes through your mind in say the semi final? Are you always in the same zone?
In fact I don't think too much. I make sure I start the heat in time, stay 100% concentrated without any destraction.

Competition is very mental- you have to be strong and focused… there are a lot of guys that are good but don't put it together in the heats. Who do you think is one of the most overlooked competitors out there?
Everyone has this mental problem more or less, I suppose. Out of competition I also sail better. But I don't know who's suffering most of it. Maybe Kiri? When he's sailing in Bonaire nobody can beat him!

Congrats on a strong performance. We will keep watching you for the future…. Good luck in claiming a PWA World Title- the game is on!
 Thanks for all!!!

  (John Carter/PWA photos)

Posted: May 18, 2010 at 08:32 AM
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Pumping, Baja News and Surgery!


Hey everyone... sorry I missed the last couple weeks but I've been a busy boy and on the road. I just got back from an incredible Baja Wave camp at Solosports. We had 19 of the coolest dudes from all over the world. It was a blast! I went from wave riding in perfect Baja conditions to getting knocked out in San Francisco for one last surgery to get my left leg working better. I had a lot of metal in there (see photo right) and it was making my bottom turns a little stiff. I didn’t want to bend any of those screws to make matters worse, so they are out of there now and I am back on recovery road! Doc said I’m going to be right back in the game and will be much better off! Below is a pic from after the surgery for you to check out... needless to say my surgeon did an amazing job getting the pieces put back together!




This week we are going to talk about pumping onto a plane. We had a lot of people asking about this down in Baja. How do you get going so fast? Well, a lot of it is technique and a little of it is equipment... so what's the secret?

Getting going takes a lot of energy and it can also waste a lot of energy if you don’t do it correctly. The first mistake I see is overpumping. They pull the sail in too far and lose the pull. It is very important to keep tension in your arms from the power of the sail. Does that make sense? Once you get the power into your arms, you need to translate it into your legs and into the fin.... everything is connected. If you are missing one of those important factors, you are going to be dead in the water with your tongue hangin out!

In order to learn how to become an efficient pumper, start off with these little  exercises that will teach you some tricks:

1. Make short little pumps with your arms and feel the tension in the rig. Don’t over- do it. Just start to feel the power of the rig in your hands and keeping with that power. Don’t let it get away, but let it keep pulling you forward and don’t ever get those arms bent too much so that you lose the pull.

2. Once you have a feel for this, take a rest and catch your breath.  Next time, do the same thing as above and get your pelvis moving along with your pumps. Try to scoop the wind in the sail by pulling in and lifting UP on your booms. Start to translate this movement into your legs in order to get the fin moving.  As you pull in with your arms, you are extending with your legs trying to drive that fin.  The Aussies call this “shaggin” so that might give you a better concept to visualize! You are trying to use that fin as a “Rudder” to skull your way forward and get that board moving.

As for your equipment, well here are some facts. If you have the latest and greatest gear then you are going to get planing more quickly. If you have never had a chance to try out a 100% Carbon mast, carbon booms and an efficient board and sail, well you better not try it unless you plan to buy it. Yes, it does make that much of a difference as compared to a 55% carbon mast, a 10 year old sail with a matching vintage board. So when people ask me how I can get up and planing so quickly, yes there is some technique involved but I have some of the best windsurfing equipment available and I am SPOILED!

Don’t get me wrong, you can still practice your pumping skills on your 20 year old gear... anything will help get that stuff going, but you will have to work much harder to make it move. I only talk about the gear because people ask and I’m telling you straight up. I’m not telling you to go buy new stuff. It’s all fun so get out there and get ready for an awesome season of windsurfing! See you out there. —Matt Pritchard

Three-Time World Champion, Matt Pritchard is sponsored by Gaastra Sails, Tabou Boards, Dakine, Kaenon Polarized and Camaro Wetsuits. If you want to learn more and improve your sailing, Check out ALOHA WINDSURFING CLINICS on Maui. Matt has teamed up with expert coach and awesome sailor Shawna Cropas and they will be doing monthly all inclusive clinics that will guarantee results!

Posted: May 9, 2010 at 05:14 PM
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