Josh Angulo left Gun Sails – Interview
Josh Angulo (37), two times PWA World Champion in the Waveriding discipline, finished his collaboration with Gun Sails a few days ago. He was part in the Gun Sails racing sail development, is now without a sailsponsor and looks into an uncertain future in terms of racing. Imagine, Josh had won his second worldtitle in 2009, finished the 2011 Slalom season in 9th position and even finished on the podium at South Korea. Josh is definitely one of the sailors, who gave the sport of windsurfing a lot of energy and ideas and always went for 100%. He definitely lives the sport with a lot of passion, developes own products, built up an own windsurfing center, organized events at Ponta Preta and won the most prestigious wave events on tour. Is this now the end on the PWA tour after an almost two decades long career with many highs and many lows?
Read more about this surprising news in the following interview!
C7: Josh, is it true that you have left your sailsponsor Gun Sails?
Josh Angulo: Yes, it’s quite recent news. Yes, it’s a recent decision.
C7: The news is pretty late. Normally riders change at the end of the year? Was it as well a surprise for you to have no sailsponsor just before the start of the 2012 tour?
Josh: Honestly, it’s a very bad timing. I sent my offer in September, but only now did I get any concrete answers. What you come to learn is that the companies just do it on their timing. I was quite surprised when I was given an offer very very different from my previous 2 years so late in the year. Because they took so much time, I figured everything was pretty much on track for the upcoming years. I think it’s fine, if a company doesn’t want to continue, but I believe a professional communication courtesy should be given when any brand knows that they don’t plan to continue their cooperation. We’re in a small, family-oriented industry and I believe minimal professional courtesies should be extended, whenever possible and this was definitley a situation, where I should have had this news many months earlier.
C7: You were working for two years to develop a competitive sail. Isn´t it the wrong decision to leave now?
Josh: I think that there was a decent dynamic between myself and the development team during the first year and we were able to take my ranking from 29th place to 9th place in just one year of development. During 2011 , however, Gun Sails didn’t involve me at all in any development which I thought was strange, but it’s their company. I’m sure I could have brought, together with Renato, a very strong sail to the market, if we were given the chance to continue the development, but I guess the big bosses had a different idea. For me, I was given no choice but to leave. I am not at the age where I can compete “just for fun”. Or I do it with a serious motivation to achieve the best for myself and my partners, or as any grown man providing for his family I need to choose alternative employment opportunities.
C7: Gun Sails and Angulo started a closer collaboration last year. Angulo Boards were promoted within the Gun range and you were taking care on the Gun distribution in the US. Does this change now as well?
Josh: Historically, professional windsurfing has been my main focus and in recent years as well on the boards. I honestly believed that the cooperation between Gun and Angulo with boards, sails, windsurf centers, racing, development was in it’s early stages and I was looking forward to see it all expand. For the moment distribution channels are “as is” and we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds , but of course I could see difficulty of Gun promoting the boards if I’m on a different sail, or me promoting Gun Sails if I’m on a different sail. At the moment I have no sponsor , so I’m not worried about changing things up unnecesarrily, but I will be interested to see how the future unfolds.
C7: You had your best Slalom season for a long time, finishing 9th overall, with one place on the podium in South Korea and a 6th in Alacati. Now you have no sailsponsor. What does this mean for a sportsman?
Josh: As a sportsman/ competitor, this is the hardest part. When you get used to doing something all your life, it’s always hard to walk away, but the reality is, more than a sportsman I am a father and a husband and at this point in my life, family takes priority. Most people know full well that the industry takes advantage of most “pros”, because most “pros” are doing it as a hobby and to gain the life experience. I actually encourage young guys to do it at whatever way possible because it is fun, but for someone in my position, you can’t just leave a family at home without any real reason for getting on a plane. Last year, I had some good runs and won a couple finals and had one podium finish as well as some very strong races. I was excited that, if we continued to better develop the rigs than I would have a chance at a world title. So yes, I feel a bit the pain at this moment that this project was cut short, but I am strongly confident that when one door closes, another door opens. So I move forward in faith that new opportunities in this field or others will soon arise.
“Also, despite how the situation ended with Gun I would like to thank them for being involved in 2 years of my livelihood and career. There are some people involved in that company that I consider friends and although we are mutually experiencing this small speed bump in the road of life, I wish them the best.” (Josh Angulo, 2012)
C7: It sounds, there was again a communication problem between you and the company, like it happened between you and MauiSails as well. You are a very communicative guy, who wants to solve problems straight and find a quick solution.
Josh: It seems when it comes to sponsors, maybe I take too much time. With Maui Sails, I really didn’t expect it, because I won the world title in 2009 and then they changed their position in 2010. Once again, I guess I was naive in thinking it was all gonna be OK with them. With Gun, honestly I started talking in August – I flew to Saarbrucken, Germany for a meeting – and gave my concrete proposal in September. I tried to give them the time the needed and at the same time sent many follow up mails, but then sometimes you feel like you’re hitting the wall and just don’t really want to chase after them, because you can’t understand, why you can’t get a simple e-mail response.
C7: 2009 was one of your highlights in your career, with winning the second PWA Wave Worldtitle. You were an idol in waves for decades. You probably are still an idol for many windsurfers out there. But, then you announced your retirement from professional wave windsurfing, changed to MauiSails, focused more on Slalom, moved to Boston, left the famous Ponta Preta righthander and changed to Gun Sails, to develop a Slalom sail. In hindsight, was it a fault to concentrate that much on Slalom? The video from 2009 produced by Umi with you at Cape Verde, was one of the most viewed videos on Continentseven so far!
Josh: This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was quite happy to win a wave title at 35 years old. It’s really hard to keep up with the young guys and I just didn’t have the motivation to put 110% into wavesailing competition. I still consider myself a strong waverider in strong conditions, but my level in the port tack jumping is no where near that of Philip Koster, so it would be a mistake for me to chase that. Slalom , however, given the right material and motivational reasons, I still think I could battle with all the top guys and go for the top position.
C7: Are you now feeling like thrown off the track? Or are you too experienced already, that it does not affect you really?
Josh: Well, let’s just say that I try not to put all my eggs in one basket. I am for sure more affected by 2 things : 1) The way it all went down 2) Maybe Not being able to experience the thrill of top-level racing and fulfilling some personal goals, but I am also motivated about the excitment of getting ” thrown off track” so to speak. heading off into new territory can be quite exciting.
C7: If you can´t find a sailcompany, which will support you for 2012, what happens? What is your plan?
Josh: I will no matter what continue to put a lot of energy into watersports. There is a substantial SUP market here in New England, where I live and I am developing some beginner and kids boards and rigs so that should be cool to be able to really get involved in the grass roots level. Also, fortunatley over the years we’ve been blessed with strong team in Cabo Verde and our business there is moving along well. So I do have some projects, where I can focus my time and of course kids getting older and wife being wife, makes it that more attention is neccesarry in the family department
C7: You once stated in an interview with German SURF in 2010 after your change to Gun Sails: “God gave me the opportunity to work together with a brand, where I have the feeling as if it were mine.” Seems like God was wrong. What do you feel is the right step now?
Josh: God’s plan is always the right plan in my life. The Bible says when we put our eyes on him, he will make our paths straight. Sometimes it takes some shake-ups in our life to remind us, that we are so dependant of his strength and mercy. The most incredible thing I’m able to experience through all this is PEACE. Of course I’ve gone through my human emotions of anxiety , fear and uncertainty, but in the and God ( Jesus) is building in me a peace, that shows me clearly that me and my family will end up OK and be provided for.
© continentseven.com 2012