Dieter Van der Eyker (B-35) was recently interviewed by the international windsurfing magazine, BoardSeeker. Here are bits and pieces of the Q&A. For the full article, including a couple more pictures, click here.
When we heard that PWA freestyler Dieter Van der Eyken was taking a rest for a day or two, we jumped at the opportunity to probe him for some secrets about the top 10 PWA freestylers and their winter training. We had to push and shove a little but in the end a few snippets broke the net, find out exactly what has been going down, what’s dropping from Starboard and Severne over the coming year and why the Next Generation Project is so important…
Dieter, let’s catch up with you and your winter first. Can you tell us a little more about your training season up until arriving in Bonaire, what you have been up to, where you were and any ‘secrets’ you can give away about new kit from Starboard and Severne?
This winter I decided to go for 2 big trips instead of 3 smaller one’s. I went to Brazil for 7 weeks in Soa Miguel do Gostoso at Kauli’s center which was one of my best trips of my live! You walk to the beach not thinking whether its going to be windy or not but just thinking whether it would be 4.4 weather or 4.8 weather. Training there was just perfect as one week you would have super flat conditions and the next week you would have more choppy conditions (high tide) so you would try to train new moves one week and land them the next week in the chop. Unlike last year I didn’t actually go to Western Australia because I didn’t have the time with my exams in January but this didn’t mean there was no testing going on this winter. Instead of flying all the way to WA, Severne sent me the prototypes for next year to my home and my parents flew them to Brazil for testing. The Freek was already a great sail but next year it will be even better, especially on the smaller sizes. The difference will be very noticeable with more stability, better lift and this all still with the 5 batten concept, which I think is still the best for overall performance and not only ideal conditions! For Starboard, I wasn’t involved so much this year as Taty Frans does all the testing for the new Flare, but what I do know is that the shape will change again and there will also be a new size in the Flare next year….
What we really wanted to know is what is happening in the world of freestyle right now? We know you guys chat amongst yourselves and know who is learning what but there have been very few videos from the top 10 this winter so far and we are keen to find out where the level is as we head into the 2013 PWA/EFPT season?
This winter, everybody is trying to keep their level a bit more secret then previous years, so it is really any ones guess as to what’s coming up next season. I also try not to look to much to the rest and be more busy with my own level, practicing the moves I want and think that I need to learn for the upcoming season. I’m super motivated to make it into the top 5 of the PWA and get the European title this year. From the Bonaire crew, I can say that Kiri Thode is absolutely ripping, I don’t know what is the more unbelievable, the fact that he has never been a World Champion or how high he can truly fly in the air off the smallest piece of chop! The control he has in his tricks is better than anybody out there in my point of view! So defiantly a guy to watch in chase of his first world title! Taty Frans is sailing good also and Choco (the youngest of the Frans brothers) will also compete all stops this year and with his flow style he will for sure score some good heats! From the young talents we have Amado Vrieswijk who is for me the next Kiri Thode of Bonaire but hopefully with a bit faster success than the man himself.
OK so there are a few new tricks out and about, back to sail tricks, back to sail loops, your switch cheese roll thing and more, can you explain any of these moves to us and are you or anyone else you know stomping them often enough for competition at the moment? Do these moves have names and would it be better to land one of these new moves or a clean combo move?
There are a few ‘new’ moves this year which all happen more in the air. I came up with the Freek (the switch stance cheese roll) last summer and still try to get them more consistent. It’s only really hard to land them in not ideal conditions, but I have some new ways I want to try it out which will hopefully help. I’d like to get them consistent before Podersdorf but don’t know how that is going to work out. Than of course you have the Air Kabikuchi from Jacopo Testa who blew a lot of minds when he showed it to the world recently. He is now also really consistent at this move, but still the guy who will do them the most will be Kiri Thode for sure. He also has some sick combo moves in the bag.. I don’t really know what will score the most in a heat but I’m pretty sure a new move will always get more points than any other move there is, even though sometimes they are really not that hard, like the Matador you had from Gollito, which gave him the victory in Lanzarote a few years back and the Pasko which helped him win Fuerteventura this year.. So for sure the top 3 guys from last year have something new for this year. I remember a whole list of new moves I once stumbled upon on Steven VB’s desktop, which he turned off pretty quick when he noticed I was looking at it. So for sure he will also have a few new moves in the bag! It will be an exciting year again!!
It looks like a 4 stop freestyle tour this year. With Holland as a new destination can you tell us what you’ve heard about the event, any big plans, etc… and do you think more competitors will be at each event this year because all the stops are in Europe?
Yes! The PWA will come to Holland!! To Brouwersdam, my home spot and the home spot of all the good riders from Belgium and the Netherlands actually, so pray for wind and action will be guaranteed!! The event will be a bit like a festival, with this I mean there will be a band every night, sick parties on the weekend and a really good relaxed atmosphere. I’m pretty sure there will be tow-in also as actually we in Netherlands started tow-in windsurfing during the Mission event. It’s a little different now from the boat we used to get pulled behind, now it is often a jet-ski which provides a lot less wake and faster acceleration. Back to the event, I even heard somewhere that they wanted to do a tow-in show right in the middle of Amsterdam to promote the PWA event, so you can be sure that it will be immediately one of the best events there is on the world tour as they have been working around this idea for almost 2 years now!
The amount of competitors this year will maybe increase a bit from last year as everything is in Europe. Anyway we always have around 40 competitors and some even the full 48 which is possible (like Podersdorf and Fuerteventura), and this probably will be the same in Brouwersdam as a lot of local talents want to compete at this event!
OK and to wrap up, we go back to yourself and your very cool Next Generation Project, tell us the details.
The Next Generation Project is a new way of clinics orientated to the younger sailors of the windsurfing world (12-20 years old). One pro rider, Dieter Van der Eyken (8th in the world) and one pro windsurfing coach, Alexis Duparc (windsurf instructor for the past 20 years) with both one goal, to make the Next Generation of windsurfers learn faster and get better in their windsurfing.
A concept which brings participants to the best spots in Europe (Porto Pollo, Corsica and Brouwersdam) with an all-in possibility (food, accommodation, clinic and rental) to make the costing easily visible. We will be using special Starboard ProKids equipment from the clubs we will be staying at. Usual program consists of a morning warm up and briefing, 2 big windsurf sessions per day, video shooting and analysis. To finish the day, stretching and debriefing to progress and prepare the next day. This for 6 full days in a row…!!
For more info about this great project go to the Next Generation Project Facebook page or the website and subscribe for the first 2 clinics! Just to be clear also, you don’t have to be spinning through spocks and grubbys to be able to participate in these clinics, Alexis is a well experienced coach who will help you plane out of those first jibes and everything up till the Air Jibe. I will be covering everything after that and will discus how to sail competitions and how to train best with the experience I have learned so far already on the World Tour! Hope to see all the young talents from Europe soon on this new project from Alexis and I!