I was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the first sport I was keen on was soccer. Then one of my uncles who was a racing driver pushed me into go-karts. Moreover, my dad almost gave me one as a present. After the accident of the best Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, I was really sad about what had happened and I gave up karting. Later some of my friends started surfing. I had an advantage that I lived right in front of the beach in Rio, so I started doing it too. I was really in a pretty good road until my mother and stepfather had to move to Isla Margarita, Venezuela. That was a big change in my life. I’ve been living here on the island since 1998. The main sport here is windsurfing and everything is connected with it. I made my friends who wanted to do it and we started doing it together. Everyday I loved it more and more. Then I got my first sponsor and I went to a few small contests around the Caribbean winning some of them.
Since I started windsurfing and I saw the guys doing forward loops, flips and moves which I didn’t know what they were, I put in my mind only one thing – I wanted to be good at that.
In 2000 at that stage I could say I was at a pretty good level, and together with my mum we decided that I should go to my first PWA contest. I went to Austria, but unfortunately, there was not enough wind to compete. Anyway, during the warm-up sessions people were really impressed of me and I got a lot of coverage, which gave me and my sponsors a lot of confidence. I left school and everything behind just to start my career as a professional windsurfer, as I always wanted to be. So, here I am. I made my dream come true, which was to be a world champion.
You spent 14 years with the same brand and now onto new pastures. How does it motivate you to start a completely new chapter or project?
For me it is something totally new , i had never imagined myself sailing with another sail brand and here I am , I think a change is always good it will be a whole new challenge for me
Andrea and you have met many times around the world. You even lived together in Maui when the both of you were working for the same brand. Andrea thought you would have never talked to him again, after waking you up one morning in the house by throwing a full pot of used pasta water over you. Do you think he is now sponsoring you to say sorry?
Jajajaja I guess, joking , Andrea and I always had a good relationship. On this trip to Maui I was had just met him for the first time and as said we were staying in the same house. I didn’t have my drivers licence at the time so he had to drive me all around the island and babysit me. I guess he couldn’t handle being a caddy. jja we had fun! jaja but every time I saw him after at the events we always talked a bit and here we are, finally working together
There is always a lot of attention on riders who chance their sponsors to see how it will effect their performance. You’ve now been at the very top of the PWA for years and often very close to the wave world title. What do you think it will take for you to win it this year?
Well, first I need to get used to my equipment and work with the P7 team to test the equipment and see if we need to make some small changes so the gear will fit to my needs! Wave competitions also has a lot to do with whether you are lucky or not. In the past I’ve had a lot of pressure from my sponsors and now it is very different and I feel I can relaxed more which is definitely something that will give me the edge to do even better!
You are multiple Freestyle World Champion, what was the difference in the challenge to wave?
In freestyle you are not dependent on the waves. In wave sailing if you mess up your timing when looking for jumps during your heat you are screwed, or if you select a closeout wave! so everything can happen. In freestyle it is different.
The Black Team had you on their priority list as they felt you matched the Point-7 brand qualities.
Thanks, you were also on my priority list!
Your home town is Isla Margarita and we understand that it’s flat water. You are aiming as first priority to win the PWA wave title and you have been very close but where are you training?
I spend a lot of time on Maui and there you can pretty much train everything and I normally always go a month before to the Canaries to train before the events to get used again to the jumping!
On the Canaries all the competitions are on port tack. Maui is not helping for these events. How do you train triple looping, double looping and all the other air moves to be so perfect?
Actually I’m much more comfortable jumping on Port tack. On starboard tack my doubles are not as controlled. I don’t think I would try any triple loops in Maui! jejeje maybe one day
On the PWA Wave tour, many PWA riders decided for the 2013 Maui event not to compete but we saw a lot of great local Maui compete who then doesn’t on the rest of the PWA world tour. Only a few riders actually did the full tour. What is your opinion on this?
The Maui guys rip, but they are just over competing on onshore conditions and they had just competed in Hawaii and did great, many PWA guys didn’t go because they expected to have Chile so they would have had a discard but in the event that event was cancelled. That’s just the way it goes!!
We noticed you have over 10K followers on facebook. Not many riders have that. You are not only a true windsurfing world champion, but also an Icon and ambassador for the sport.
I have been working a lot on my social media lately and by work meaning just posting amazing pictures from photo shoots, my family trips and things I see on my trips!! for me it is an honour to have all these followers and I know a lot of people respect me and it is great!
What’s the secret to become one?
Not sure , just be who you are and try to be cool with everyone! Jeje
In the PWA tour you are also known as the monkey. Where is this coming from?
Robby Swift started calling me a monkey because of how I jump when windsurfing and from there on everyone started calling me a monkey! Eje
Is talent a big part of success in our sport or is it just hard training?
I would prefer if someone answer that question for me! jajaja I’m not sure , but you have to train a lot to do well no matter what!
You have received your sails from Point-7 and had a chance to test them a bit. The Swag 3 Batten, the Salt 4 Batten and the Sado 5 Batten. It’s a wide choice. Do you already know which you will be using?
I tested the Salt and the Slash freestyle just for fun and they feel great! I honestly thought I would like them that quick but they are amazing , the Salt is really similar to the sails I’m used to but I will help make it even better, we will try to make some changes and I’m sure we can make it even better!
Lots of brands are now coming out with their own 3 batten wave sails or are busy still testing. You have it already in the Point-7 range. What do you think about this concept?
I didn’t try it yet as I just received it and here we only have flat water, but I heard they are amazing and I just saw some pics of Jason Polakow trying his in Maui. I’m super excited to have a go as it should be super light and smooth.
Is it true that Point-7 has given you white paper on the development of new wave gear?
Yes, that is the part that I love , Andrea gave me the go to do whatever I want and I’ve always wanted that and now I can finally do it
What are the first steps?
Test everything and see what is best and go from there! it should be a whole new adventure
Point-7 have organized an event for their clients, friends, windsurfers to come and join the Black Team on Tenerife so they can improve their skills with help from the team riders. Nicolas Akgazciyan, Martin Ten Hoeve and all the slalom sailors will also be there. Do you think you can make it in time, or do you have already a schedule for next months?
I’m not sure, my main priority is to test all the sails and make sure I have everything I like for the PWA season and this takes time! I will try to my best to be there but I see it hard as I also want to have some time home with my family and friends!
The first PWA event is in Venezuela, your home spot. How is that going? Are you involved in the organization? Slalom and Freestyle. Will you take part? You have also received the Slash Freestyle sail. Will you do any freestyle competitions?
Yep , I’m helping a bit and it should be amazing , I will do slalom and Freestyle so I’m super excited , like I said before I love the slash and compared to my old freestyle Sail it is much better.
Triple forward? Who will make it happen first?
Don’t know, I will give it a go when I’m comfortable!! Let’s see
Back loop into forward. Has it been used in competition?
Not what I know of but I don’t want to hurt myself on that! Hahahah
Any new air moves for you in the drawer?
not yet , maybe soon
Maui and hopefully Capo Verde