Who is Jean Louis Colmas?
1994 Starboard was founded with 10.000 US$ by Svein Rasmussen, a well known racer that entered his first windsurfer board in 1979. Svein won the Mistral Worlds in 1983, was a Gold medal candidate for the 84 Olympics and spent 10 years on the PWA pro- circuit. In 1994/95 Starboard started to develop the unique Wood Technology in co-operation with Jean Louis Colmas from New Caldedonia. From then on Starboard was able to produce significantly lighter and stronger boards than any other producers. The rest of the story is know.
Watch here an actual videointerview with Jean Louis Colmas filmed at the Starboard shaping room in Bangkok.
Here you can read an older interview with Jean Louis Colmas:
Before you met Svein what were you doing?
I was competing in division 2 race board, at the time I was shaping my own boards and the shop I was working in made my own sails too, he was actually the first to make the a cambered sail in New Caledonia and in the world; I really enjoyed competing in division two it was really good fun a lot of race tactics involved and I loved to be windsurfing so I was very happy.
How did you meet Svein?
We where in New Caledonia I think it was in 1985 and we were both competing in the world cup, at this time there were many people windsurfing and a lot of money being put in to the sport. When Svein came to New Caledonia I was still an amateur and he was a professional sailor and it seemed he was very impressed with the speed of the local boys and wanted to take a closer look at our equipment that is where our relationship started. My custom boards had already been made with the wood technology and Svein being a professional wanted to try the boards and he then raced on one of them and he was definitely the fastest on the water. When he came off the water he was very surprised and I clearly remember Svein saying you are just an amateur but your equipment is incredible.
What happened next?
When Svein had finished competing he contacted me to say he wanted to start a board making company in Indonesia and asked if I would come and develop the wood technology, I was very happy to come and help Svein with his company and was very excited about what would happen next. I had many ideas and was very confident with the wood technology.
How long did you stay and at the time did you think starboard would be as big as it has become?
At the beginning it was quite hard I would come over to Thailand for maybe two to three weeks several times a year, during 3 or 4 years, working on different ideas and working with the factories , to get the standards and quality correct. When I started here I never imagined it would have grown as big as it is now but I am really happy for Svein and the company its really great and to know I was part of it when it all started is really great.
Boards are being made all around the world now with your technology how does it feel?
I am very proud. It is incredible to know that there are boards being flown all around the world with the technology and the Tiki logo I created both more than 20 years , I still think the fun boards are fantastic and enjoy very much to sail them and still be shaping my own wood customs in New Caledonia.
You have known Svein for many years now how would you describe your relation ship now?
We have a lot of respect for each others as competitors and our way of life, we have known each other for 24 years now and he has always been very fair despite the difficulties encountered, his quality astounds me he is very focused and how he has developed Starboard, when in the first five years he had very little is amazing. He has great determination to succeed with Starboard and in my opinion he has definitely captured that. We are very good friends and it’s always a pleasure to see Svein.