Interview – Ross Williams won the Formula Worldchampionship in Latvia
After winning the European Formula Title this year, the British windsurfer Ross Williams (GBR-83), won his first World title, the Formula Worldchampionship in Liepaja, Latvia. The 32 year-old sailor is one of the best all round windsurfers nowadays and currently ranked on the 10th place in the PWA Slalom overall ranking and on the 14th in the PWA Wave overall ranking.
Matt Pritchard (Gaastra/Tabou team manger) caught up with Ross for a few words.
Matt Pritchard: It has been a long time in the making but you finally notched your first world title – what do you attribute this to?
Ross Williams: It has been a long time coming and I am super happy now it´s happened. I think everything fell into place this year. The Gaastra sails and Vapor 2 board are the best pieces of equipment on the market and I think this made things much easier for me to win. Of course I was racing good, maybe the best I ever have in formula. If you ask the other sailor they would probably agree that my tactics were sharp and I was racing every race with little or no mistakes. Basically I think when your kit is good, I can focus more on my racing game and things feel like they came easier and all the years of training and testing really pay off.
MP: Do you have a new program that you are working on or is it just experience coming into play?
RW: I have the same plan as I always had, to try to be the best all round windsurfer I can be. I really enjoy every area and discipline in windsurf, it´s such an amazing sport. I just want to be the best. I think over the years experience has taught me what it takes to be a champion, the things you need to do and the things you should not do in order to win.
MP: You are now a veteran out there, how big of a role does that play in your success?
RW: I don´t really see myself as a veteran. I think I have my best years still to come especially in Slalom and Formula. I am lucky that I have been able to compete for so long in the sport I love and that can´t be a bad thing. I think I am coming into my prime and looking forward to many more years of competing.
MP: Who was your toughest competitor out there and why?
RW: Well, this year it was for sure my team mate Arnon Dagan. Having the same gear as him and training together all the time, I knew before each championship that we would be fighting it out at the top. Then you also have people like Steve Allen, who has won the world title a few times before and he is such an impressive sailor. He knows what is takes to win. Then there are a whole group of guys that train Formula all the time and any of them can win races.
MP: What single piece of equipment has made the most difference in all your testing?
RW: I can´t say that there is just one. It´s the whole thing. You got to have the whole package tested and ready to rock. I am just grateful to everyone involved with the Gaastra/Tabou development for producing such good kit and this world title is the results of all that hard work.
MP: Do you think this win will help you and your confidence on the PWA tour? What is different for you when it comes to Slalom vs Formula?
RW: I think for sure it will help, but Formula and Slalom are 2 completely different things, and these days it´s getting really hard to be competitive in more then one discipline. I feel that the level in every discipline has jumped up in the last 2 to 3 years as now sailors tend to just specialise in either, Wave, Slalom, Freestyle or Formula. There are very few guys left that are able to compete at the top level across the disciplines. So for me doing 3 disciplines has maybe effected my ability to reach a PWA world title in one, because I am spreading myself too thin. I think I was able to reach my goal in formula, because I have been doing upwind racing since I was about 9 years old. So now I have a title in formula. I think I will settle down to really train hard for slalom and see if I have what it take to reach the top of the PWA tour.
MP: Congratulations, what did you do to celebrate?
RW: I celebrated by driving 16 hours all through the night to get to Turkey on time to start racing….. So in short I have not done anything…. I think I will wait till I am less busy.
Ross Williams did great at the PWA Slalom in Alacati, where he finished in 3rd overall. He battled it out and narrowly missed the podium to a hard charging Björn Dunkerbeck. “I had a great week out there, my gear is tuned and I have the confidence to play ball. My boards are flying and the sails give me great top end that allows me to focus on my racing and not trying to hang on! I’m pumped with this result and am looking forward to stepping up a few spots in Sylt at the end of this month!”
© Gaastra/Tabou, Matt Pritchard, PWAworldtour 2012/Carter