Arnon Dagan leaves Gaastra and Tabou

on 4. January, 2013 – 00:30 / 34 Comments

Arnon Dagan (ISR-1) is the only competitor from Israel on the PWA Slalom tour and he has been able to finish the races always in the top ranks. During the last season Arnon had some highlights like the third place at the Storm Rider Wave event in Israel, the second place at the Formula Europeans at Sylt and the second place at the IFCA Slalom Europeans at Rosas, Catalunya, Spain. His PWA season had ups and downs. Arnon had great speed, started with three top 20 results at the beginning of the season and then lost some ground. Now Arnon said good bye to Gaastra and returned to Neil Pryde. And without doubt, the tall Israeli (194 cm) belongs to the best racers in the world, especially when his mind is set. 

We talked with Arnon about his new (old) sail sponsor, his Salom sailing and about his ideas to reorganize windsurfing.  



C7: You will return to NeilPryde after 5 seasons on Gaastra, right?

Arnon Dagan: Yes, I’m very happy to say I will be competing with NeilPryde in 2013


Arnon back on NeilPryde.


C7: You already were on Neil Pryde sails, but changed to Gaastra in 2008.  Now back to NP, why?

Arnon Dagan: I decided to go in that direction, because it’s time for me to make a step forward and because Neil Pryde was my dream since I was a kid. This company reflects perfection in windsurfing and perfection is what I need to win. As an Israeli sailor I have to work harder than almost any other competitor on the world tour to keep my sponsors as my country is not a big windsurfing market. In 2008 the Neil Pryde racing team was very small with mostly older proved champions and I didn’t manage to stay in. 
Gaastra took me with open arms. I’ve worked hard for them, have learned a lot and I am very thankful to Gaastra for this!


C7: Will change the board brand as well?

Arnon Dagan: Yes, it’s not a done deal yet, but it will be for sure a super top company.


C7: Was NeilPryde looking for a rider like you are, a rider, who is not only competing in Slalom, but also in Formula?

Arnon Dagan: Every collaboration has to be a “win win situation” I’ m sure the Formula Windsurfing side of things helps as Im going to help with development there. I’m also going to push NP in my country and around the world. Big thanks to Robert Stroj for helping out and being really cool.


Arnon was performing great at the Formula Europeans 2012 on Sylt.


C7: When the Slalom discipline had its comeback in 2005 you were very close to the podium in the overall ranking and made it on the podium in single events like in Sylt 2006. From 2007 on, you lost ground, but in really little steps, from 14th to 22nd. What was the reason for that?

Arnon Dagan: The reason was mainly my mind. I always believe PWA Slalom is like car racing- the one who has the fastest car has huge chance to do well. I see big differences in gear every day of my work. When my gear is not 100% perfect I sometime get frustrated too easily. This is something that I’m working to change every day.


C7: A new saildesigner, Peter Munzlinger replaced Dan Kaseler at Gaastra. Did this fact change anything in the performance of the sails for you?

Arnon Dagan: Both designers are very smart, talented and cool guys. They have different styles, both can work. I had the chance to work closely with Peter and I like him a lot as a designer and a person. The Gaastra Slalom sails are improving every year. It takes a new designer several years to get to the highest level. The company support has to be very good and understanding. In Furteventura I tried again a NP sail after 5 years and that’s all I could think of since then. I just needed a change and felt I can not wait till the Gaastra sails will be perfect, but I’m sure Peter will be there very fast maybe even this year.


A foot injury stopped Arnon at the Formula Worlds in Latvia (Pic: Ivo Blüms)


C7: You are a tall racer. Do you prefer sails with a longer luff like the NeilPryde EVO V?

Arnon Dagan:  Longer luff means faster in theory and I do prefer them in bigger sized Slalom sails . I don’t know, if it is because I am tall, but in any case the Neil Pryde sail has much more to offer than just a longer or shorter luff. I compare it to the a very beautiful women- the twist, the flex, the softness, all very nice.


C7: Slalom got more popular over the years, the PWA grew the number of events from 2 in the beginning to 6-8 per year and the price money got increased, too. Is Slalom the healthy discipline in professional windsurfing  nowadays?

Arnon Dagan: Slalom is easier for organizers and public to understand. The PWA is trying to push other disciplines, but somehow organizers feel comfortable with Slalom. I would like to see all PWA disciplines grow, especially the wave discipline in better locations.


C7: Many big names are in this discipline. It’s a long list with Albeau and Dunkerbeck on top. What will happen, if the big names stop their career?

Arnon Dagan: I think if they stop, slalom will get more interesting simply because the generation of Dunkerbeck, Albeau, Micah and Finian is very hard to beat. 99% of the new generation is just not physically big enough or has no budget compared to them. Low budget leads to a big gap in equipment excess and knowledge, a key in racing.  All this plus the great talent the older generation has makes them so hard to beat. If they leave I see much more podium changes and this is better for the sport.


Arnon and Ross. A great team, rigging at Reggio di Calabria (Pic: Continentseven 2012).


C7: Should there be an age limit on the PWA tour?

Arnon Dagan:  I am not familiar with any sport  that does this. If you love it, you are fit, good, and most of all competitive, who has the right to tell you to stop? 


C7: You are 35 years now. How long will you compete?

Arnon Dagan:  As long as I am fast and fit I’ll try to keep doing it. I love it!


C7: You had your tour debut back in 1998. Now you are competing for 14 years on international level. What has changed since the beginning?

Arnon Dagan:  From the racing side of things in PWA, first we had slalom and racing together, then we had Formula Windsurfing and no slalom. Now we have Slalom without Formula Windsurfing. Very idiotic really in my opinion. I support the idea of racing in light winds and Slalom in high winds like we had in the beginning. 


Ross, Arnon and Gaastra saildesigner Peter Munzlinger in Reggio di Calabria (Pic:


C7: Do you like the 63 Slalom rule or would you change anything, if you could?

Arnon Dagan:I would make it as following: 2 slalom boards 1 race/FW board and replace the 2 big sized slalom sails with 2 racing sails. One example can be 12, 10, 7.8,7.0,6.4,5.5,each sailor can choose his own sizes. This way we would never again waste so much time during events sitting on the beach and things would get much more interesting.


C7: Did windsurfing lose a bit of the buzz it had in the past? Are there too many other watersports and trensports competing with windsurfing?

Arnon Dagan: Windsurfing started to slow down, when I already started to compete. New sports are coming in that are easier to do and more accessible. But in the end of the day windsurfing was faced with several problems. Windsurfing organizations are not united and not doing enough for the sport along side and crazy equipment prices are some of the main reasons we are getting killed. 
If this Curling sport (the one of the 2 fools brushing the ice so the ball will move half a cm to the side) got big and we didn’t when we have super cool people flying in the air, making amazing tricks, going really fast, something has to be wrong with they way we handle things.


Arnon gives it all at the Storm Rider 2012 wave event at his homespot.


C7: You are also in the SUP business. How is that compared to windsurfing?

Arnon Dagan: I joined a young Australian- Israeli company called BG surfing. We are producing Sup’s, Surfboards, Kites, and now we will promote and sell NeilPryde in Israel. Our target is to make great products for the best price. So everyone can have fun.
For me Windsurfing is the top! I love Surfing and SUP. It also completes my training and give extra days in the water but nothing can be compared to the feeling of windsurfing. 


Arnon back home in Haifa.


C7: What needs windsurfing to be more trendy again and how can our beloved sport attract the mainstream media a bit more again?

Arnon Dagan: So many things can be done. First I would start with GETTING EQUIPMENT PRICES LOWER!! Boycott Cobra, produce in China. Do whatever you need to do, but make a huge effort to get them lower.

2. Unite all windsurfing organizations around the world now! My dream is one united big organization offering the world an amazing sport from bottom to PWA top level. Contacting 100 companies every month. Collecting sponsors for developing windsurfing around the world and with the support get windsurfing into Euro Sport and other channels. Make deals with small sponsors, big sponsors and all the sponsors we can get.
Create youth projects and competitions, I can go all day with this ideas some are harder to do some easier but a lot can and must be done!


C7: Will it help, that windsurfing will be at the next Olympic games, too?

Arnon Dagan: It just delayed the end. We have less then 4 years to organize ourselves to offer a strong replacement to the RS:X. It’s a do or die for windsurfing in my opinion. Unite as one big organization or fall.


C7: What do you wish for 2013 and how and where will you prepare for the racing season?

Arnon Dagan: I wish to do the maximum I can in all the projects I work on in 2013. I am going to train a lot at home as I just rented a house on the water on the best beach in Israel. Everyone is welcome to visit and train. I’m going to go to Maui late February for training and testing as well. I am biking, surfing, suping and do work outs.


C7: Any goals for 2013?

Arnon Dagan: My goals are to attack the Formula Windsurfing World and European title and finally translate my speed into PWA top Slalom results.


Arnon needs a lot of gear to achieve his goals.


Arnon always takes a lot of risk. This time on the bike.



Arnon Dagan (ISR-1) is sponsored by Neil Pryde, Zfins, BG surfing,,  (a new board sponsor will be announced soon as well)





  • Maciek Rutkowski says:

    well said Arnonez! as always :) congrats on NP c u around mate

  • Nice Interview Arnon. Seem like you have to be chairmen of the United Windsurfing Organization. Happy New Year. Andre

  • John Munten says:

    Good interview, nice to hear some good ideas Arnon!!!
    Succes with your new sponssors!


    John Munten
    Ned 30

  • Mario Milhazes says:

    Great interview Arnon!!!
    Lot of widsom words!!! Hope the windsurfing brands listen to them!!

    Great 2013!!!

  • ?? ???? says:

    very nice interview.
    Good luck to Arnon, NP and Bg Surfing

  • Agree im quite a few thinks….time to change??

  • Legend!!! nice interview Arnon and really good ideas in mind.
    I hope someone will be able to start building up new organizations and ideas as you are telling…

    I would do it all, but i think there have to be a very smart and powerful person for making big changes.
    Will be perfect to see the old big names selling the big cars they have and spent money on something amazing to help the youth…
    Their should be a lot more promotion outside of the windsurf industry, everybody should help their hand instead of waisting money and acting rich with 2000$ a month..
    It will work, also here in the netherlands we get more and more promotion as we really try to go for it.. And you have to start on schools and outside people… People who already windsurf already give their big hand but people who don’t windsurf they will start kite surf because these people like way more to show there attitude… Unfortunate a front roll with a kite looks spectacular on pictures but only takes 2 weeks to train…..

    For me it looks like windsurfing is aging en became retired…

    GOOD PROMOTION we NEED MAN! Arnon, thanks for this interview

    • I dont blame anyone i just want to say, some of the riders should look further than just asking more money from the sponsors and foundations and everything…. If u will start get more kids and people on windsurf kit… there will be more money going on, and more money for you… But everything starts in your hands and you can’t blame anyone for the reason we don’t get money for windsurfing…
      PLease let me know if i am wrong, because I do care about my passion…

  • Stefano says:

    I think Davy and Arnon just said some stuff that a lot of people think, but nobody talks about…

    “If this Curling sport got big and we didn’t when we have super cool people flying in the air, making amazing tricks, going really fast, something has to be wrong with they way we handle things.” –

    We need to stop being retarded and start showing this to the big public! Look at the kitesurfing sport, the managed to bring a kitemovie to the cinema’s allover the world. And even brought that fact to the news what resulted in a blast of promotion around the whole world.. Where’s windsurfing now?!!!

  • And what about THE windsurfing legend Robby Naish moving into kitesurf when windsurf was going down, and now to SUP?

    Ok Naish is still making windsurfing products, but do they have any riders? do they invest any money in windsurfing events? I am talking about Naish here, but all the other brands do the same: gaastra, north/fanatic, starboard, jp/pryde, rrd, etc….

    All the windsurfing companies invested in other watersports. So if even the industry give up, who can save windsurfing?? And then the same people complain when a decision is taken to replace windsurfing by kitesurfing in the olympics…. That is pathetic…

    And that is even the same with the media, a lot of windsurf journalist/photographer became kite or SUP specialist, because that is where the money was for them.

    I am worried that we live in a world of business, and only the best businessmen could help to promote windsurfing.

    But the best businessmen in this sport moved into other watersports to make more money. Like a lot of pro windsurfers who became kitesurfers, and now the same happens with SUP. Just to name a few : kai lenny, connor baxter, zane schweitzer, in france our best kid Arthur arutkin… I am sure everybody knows a lot of exemples like that. And not only young riders, it happens with guys from all ages.

    A few years ago i was even told by some people in the windsurf industry to start doing SUP , because it would be better for my carreer…

    I don’t want to be all pessimistic, i think that people who love windsurfing will always windsurf, no matter how good or bad the business is running.

    And the people who wants to make money and who have big projects will always leave windsurfing, because you don ‘t make cash with windsurfing.

    And i respect their choice, wether it is to invest their energy in windsurfing or in other sports.

    • Exactly, Also I would like to admit that I think this big riders are a waist of the industry… Why pay him a 1K a year if they have already 4k on the bank… driven to big cars that you don’t need ….. Nowadays crisis and oooh they have so bad life with there apple macbook pro, iPhone and whatever also iMac and did anybody see in what houses this MAUI people live … make 1 child instead of 4

      Why don’t give this 1k ( that they give every year to some big name ) to young inniotive people, with lot of positive vibes energy and ideas. They can train to more… they can do way more spectacular stuff. This is why this kitesurfing scene grow so big… They are still hunger for fame!! they are not tired yet of doing the same thing day in and day out….
      I am sorry to name somebody, with all my respect but who care about for example dunker beck??? ( still he is by far one of the best sailor in the world and he did stuff nobody of us will maybe ever make.. )
      Just i mean….
      Look Boujama… why no brands are pushing him to new levels because he is doing the most crazy stuff in the air.. Why don’t make projects with crazy people like that… ( and than i did not talk about phillip, ricardo, golitto etc. etc. etc. )

      Yeah I know, the legend sell better because they are legend.. if u have a legend in the team u will sell a lot.. But how come the industry don’t work in the positive way???

      I am sure that if you will give some top 20 guys in the slalom/wave or freestyle enough money to gain new knowledge that soon or later somebody will spritz them…

      And what we do? We all just only focus on founding a guy from Brasil. With all respect, I would like to help him
      BUt after such a long time just hearing people asking more money and than crying to each other that they don’t get it I started to think if we should not focus on different stuff?

      Nobody is doing ANYTHING just watching MAUI boys how great they are already for 50 years..

      And yes, this is a free opinion and if you don’t like start telling what we think wrong and good.
      At least I do give a shit….

      • Marcel says:

        The 1K is for Dunkerbeck i assume…

        Is is not only marketing, allthough that is very important. I think things went wrong when the production boards must be used for the PWA events, making the products better, but also more expensive. Sure people want to reflect with the pro’s, but i do can not tell the difference between a board with 50% carbon or 100% carbon, because i have too less time on the water. A pro needs the 100% carbon, they even can feel the difference if the heck of the board has a small radius…

        Kitesport is for a lot of people more interesting, because it is easier to learn, not only the tricks but also getting started. Another thing is that the size of the products used is smaller, so you can take all your stuff in the back of the car and store it in a small garage. You do not need a lot of material to kite (you do not need to spend al lot of money); if you have 2 kites and 1 board you can almost kite every day. If I count the day’s that I can not windsurf due to not enough wind (biggest sail is 7.8m2 (one of the 5 (!!) sails and the reasons why i need 2 masts and 2 booms), board with volume of 165 liter) and see on those day’s a lot of kiters have fun on the water, then it is sometimes frustrating; I spend a lot of money on a sport that I can not do every weekend or when i want to. Kiting is also more attractive for women; there are significant more women kiting than windsurfing on my spot. If there are more women, then there are more customers and you do not have the problem explaining to your girlfriend/wife that you can not visit her parents on a windy day or that you want to buy new products…

        Why all this info about kiting? I just want to point out that is is not only a money thing, but also that windsurfing is a sport with a lot of restrictions where you do not have (a lot) influence on. I agree that if the price of the products is lower, then the change of selling more material is bigger. But the sport itself needs to be more attractive; easier to learn and more time on the water without sailing with extreme wide boards and big sails that can not be handled normally. The problem is also displayed at a lot of PWA events: on almost every event there are days that it is not possible to windsurf. That is not helping the sport at all.

        Still, after 20 years i do have a lot of pleasure when i windsurf!

        • Joe says:

          You have a 165l board? I dont think you are in any position to judge the capabilities of a windsurfer if you primarily use a board of 165l. Maybe if you got a smaller and more high performance board, you could windsurf in much lighter conditions

          • Marcel says:

            The 165 liter board is the Thommen eXperience. The eXperience is a board for beginners, but also the more experienced windsurfer can have a lot of fun with it. The board is used by my girlfriend, i use the board only with my biggest sail. My other board is a Thommen CrossX 97 (my bodyweight is 92kg, length 1.88m).

            I do not want to have a more high performance board for light winds and that is what i am trying to tell: you need to much products to cover al wind conditions. You need at least 3 boards and 5 sails, 2-3 masts and 2 booms. All this materiaal must be bought at high prices. You have to pack and unpack the car. You can not take a lot of people with you in the car, because all you’re stuff is in the car. You need a big storage where the wet sail can dry, ect. I do not have a problem with that, but i can imagine if someone can choose between a backpack with a kite and a small board and have fun in almost every wind condition, versus 3 bigger sized boards, 5 sails, etc and with less change of having fun on the water, that windsurfing is not on top of the list.

  • Bert Frikandel says:

    I agree with what the dude above me just said!

  • Arnon Dagan says:

    Thanks for the comments guys with people like you there is hope!! We just need a trigger to fire us all up and unite once and for all seat together and say no more of this shit! we have so many talented people around us internet people, Media people, sports men, business men, ITS IS NOT POSSIBLE we cannot wake this sick sport UP and it will happen I still have hope!

  • seaurchin says:

    i think it’s a joke calling some one prefessional windsurfer when the person needs to have another job to survive and pay his costs. also it’s a joke calling himself sponsored when he still buys his gear.
    don’t get me wrong, i don’t think it’s the sailors fault. There is just no money in the system for people like that.

    What would you do with the money you earn with your windsufing company?!? would you spend it on the talents out there or would you spend it on yourself and your family.

    i think it’s an issue of greed. make money and get rich. ask the employees of any clothing company in asia(bangladesh,india,sri lanka,indonesia.. you name it) do you think they know that the shirts tey make will be sold for the thousandfold of that what they earn a week?!

    well we europeans still by the clothing made there… and we don’t care.

    well and this is the same issue with professional windsurfing. people owning the companys want to make money… and why should they give it away for free!? you guys are doing this for the love of the sport…. and they know that. if you won’t do it some other kid will.

  • georgi says:

    I think that in the long term windsurfing will outlive kite,bite,SUP,DUP and all this crap… but guys it will take time. Respect for the old names, but the future is in young names like Davy, Dieter,Thomas, Alex, Arnon,some brazilian guy to name just a few. They are inspiration for mortals like me and my mates and so it goes.

  • jonas ceballos says:

    Good interview arnol!!,,,And also some great and interestings comments,,,You guys can say it lauder but not more clear than that.Happy new year to all,and hope for changes…..

    • myr says:

      I think back in the days (as I remember it was 2 years ago) when you have to leave PWA “world” tour for the same reasons that wea re talking about here , a very few people understood the problem that windsurfing is now facing. I remember lot’s of comments under ur interviev like telling you “stop crying kid”…. I was so angry about most of them. Just after two years I think people start to understand more and more.I think the fight with the olympic class for Rio was also some kind awakening for the windsurf community (even if RSX is not so windsurfing as we all want it to be). The community of “new thinkig” about our sport is growing fast as there is still enough fresh “young blood” in this sport. But it’s a last call. Like someone said alredy it will take time , maby not so short. But the CHANGE will come and I think sooner than later becuse there is no othe option. With no changes this sport will “die” in 10 years.Why “die”? Ofcourse there will always be people who windsurf like Tomas said already. Even if they have to make the gear on their own….:P. If you really love it u will do it always.

      Any way your galactic height backy’s Jonas will always be remembered as epic and you have your place in all time “hall of fame” :) 3.3 full power big wave…..:P
      Good luck.

      • Joe says:

        Im pretty sure everyone who read that interview while ago knew the state of the windsurfing industry, and if you asked them again would still hold the same opinion on Jonas

  • Joe says:

    Companies should boycott cobra, and move production to somewhere else. Windsurfing gear is priced out of reach for most of the population. There must be a cheaper way to produce windsurfing gear.

    And the reason why kitesurfing has an emphasis on young riders is its a relatively new sport which hasn’t been around long enough to establish legends, but that works to its advantage and gives a more attractive image of the sport. Young talented windsurfers aren’t given anywhere near the amount of support they deserve, all the support goes to the older and more established sailors and while that may sell gear it wont attract more people to the sport

  • myr says:

    I just hope that the “big” names(not only competitors) from the industry are also reading all those words. As we know even from our most recent history big changes can start from small things. We have never had such a powerfull tool which is internet. Im sure this site will have it’s role in this procces of changes also:)

  • I support the feeling behind this, so I’m going to play devil’s advocate. Here are a couple obstacles our sport faces.

    1) Our competitions are very condition dependant, expecially the wave events. We need really long event windows to accomodate that fact, and there’s a lot of waiting involved. This makes live television very difficult, because broadcasters can’t sell advertising space on footage they can’t broadcast.

    2) Our gear is exhorbitantly expensive largely because it’s very difficult to make. We like masts that don’t break. We like boards that stay in one piece. We like booms that don’t feel like a wet noodle. Always lighter, always stronger. Our products might not be perfect, but the companies that make them went through a lot of trial and error in production to get to the point they’re at.

    Let’s use Cobra as an example. They’re an easy target. No one likes them because our boards are brutally expensive. When we switch off of a company like Cobra, we have to accept a period of time where our boards buckle and delam (more often). For team riders, that’s annoying, but worth it. For consumers however, it’s way worse. Team riders don’t make companies money (not directly anyway), consumers do. Until they get the process down, no one will buy their gear. That means cost without profit, and that’s how companies go bankrupt.

    Now taking suggestions on how to fix these things.

    • Jack says:

      Fair point but cobra do have a monopoly over the windsurfing production market. This means they can dictate the cost of gear. But if another company started up and used a factory that could undercut the cost of production (In china- everything there is produced for way less)it would create competition, and therefore the price of cobra boards and boards in general will decrease. Quality control will be dictated by the windsurfing market obviously, so I think the same quality of gear can be achieved in china, but for less due to cheaper production over there

  • john says:

    Cobra is not a monopoly, they are chosen by the windsurf companies, because they are the best at their job. Cobra is producing a lot of other things, bikeframes, snowboards, SUPs, kayaks and so on. And they are all using Cobra for a reason.

    • Jack says:

      Chosen over what? Other manufacturers of quality gear do not exist. There are manufacturers of very low quality gear in china, but my point is to get a factory in china to produce high quality gear

  • Arnon Dagan says:

    Some of the factory’s in China are not so low quality any more. Some of the big brands are already making SUP’s boards that are light and stiff and strong and everything.
    It will take a bit of time but not such a long time to get a good product out of china, dont know if the cost will be much lower but at list competition will be on with Cobra and end price will get better.
    Company’s just cannot milk the sport anymore with out trying to get gear cheaper as no one will be left to buy.
    If all brands say to cobra – work on smaller margins or we stop producing with you maybe it will happen.
    So happy to read everyone comments. People wrote some really good points here.

  • Yarden says:

    Niceeee comments!!!! I likeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    Wait till you see whats cominggg

  • hmm says:


    I don’t know if I would like windsurfing to be bigger:

    – spots would be more crowded (don’t know how the parking situation at your spots is, but at mine its shit)
    – I doubt that prices for equipment would be different (see below)

    + travelling with lots of gear maybe would be easier/cheaper
    + more acknowledgement from the public (many younger people dont even know what windsurfing is)
    + more professional competitions, better coverage, better support for professionals

    I think the only people who really want to make windsurfing big are those who are professionally involved. For the regular guy, it doesn’t really change much.

    Why I think that prices wouldn’t be different:
    To me it seems that there is no real competition between the brands in terms of prices. If there was, why are still so many small brands existing? Currently we have about 30 (!) sail brands and 15 for boards. There are cheap ones and expensive ones, often the quality isn’t that much different.

    My point is, the typical windsurfer doesn’t care a much about the price. Of course there is a lot of moaning, but in the end they buy the latest equipment, even if the difference is minor to their previous stuff.
    Depending on your budget, you can always buy 2nd hand or stuff from the year before. And you can still have a lot of fun with it.

  • […] Dagan verkündete in einem Interview auf Continentseven nicht nur, dass er seine Sponsoren Tabou / Gaastra verlassen werde und zurück bei Neilpryde ist, […]

  • Gur says:

    Great interview
    Good luck