Josh Angulo returns to Gun Sails – Interview
“Some guys compete to travel, some to party… I’ve already done both those things, now it’s time to win!” Clear words from a Josh Angulo, who wants to attack the Slalom podium in 2013 with a new, old sail partner. Josh Angulo has signed a contract with the German sail company Gun Sails for the third time in his career.
The bad air is cleared and both seem to be ready for the third chapter of the Angulo-Gun collaboration. After a 9 month long excursion to Point-7 Angulo is back on Gun Sails. We hooked up with Josh just before he left to Maui for the annual photo shoot and testing.
We also did an interview with Jörg Müller, managing director and head of marketing, about their decision to get Josh back on the team Read the interview with Jörg Müller here and the interview with Josh below.
C7: How are you doing. Where are you right now?
Josh Angulo: I’m doing well. I’m on Maui right now.
C7: In the Storm Chase you were competing with Neil Pryde sails from Pieter Bijl. It looked like you will not have any sail sponsor for 2013, but now, a few weeks later, you can announce a new sail sponsor for 2013.
Josh Angulo: Yes, I’m pleased to be back with Gun Sails. We have quite a history together so it’s quite interesting to open another chapter with them.
C7: After a 9 month excursion to Point-7 you are back on Gun Sails for the third time in your career. Is this something special for you to return to a brand you were involved so many years of your career already?
Josh Angulo: Well, the times 2 and now 3 have only a one year break in between so there’s an interesting dynamic that’s formed. Although I spent a short 8 month stint with P7 in between, I’m actually heading into a situation where I am quite familiar with the brand and their ways of doing things, so I feel that I have a matured approach to working with Gun Sails due to the the recent 2 years that I spent with them in 2011/2012. The first time I was with them was a lot longer ago, but many of the same players involved in Gun Sails, so for sure when you do have a relationship that spans over so many years, you build up something that goes beyond just the business excitement.
C7: Is Gun Sails Josh Angulo’s “sail sponsor heaven”?
Josh Angulo: I like that term, but I’m not sure it exists. Each term that we’ve worked together has been based on that point in history. Obviously when you know the people and have the relationship then you have phone numbers and e-mails that at least gets you to the right door quickly, but getting the doors open has always been a “per case” situation. But in some way you could say that this type around is a bit of “sail sponsor heaven” as I’m heading into a situation, where I know well the inner workings, the equipment is killer and I will be their main slalom rider which means I’m receiving a type of support that is quite rare in the industry nowadays.
C7: “Gun Sails didn’t involve me at all in any development which I thought was strange, but it’s their company.” That’s your quote from an older interview after you left Gun Sails in February 2012. There was some bad mood in the air. What has changed now? Did you discuss all the communication problems from the past?
Josh Angulo: Clearly, this new deal wouldn’t have moved forward without some “clearing of the air” and some healing of relationships. I believe past misunderstandings have actually served to strengthen our relationship because it’s allowed us to grow closer and to understand better each other’s style of doing things.
C7: When you left Gun Sails in 2012 you told us that you feel kind of a pain. Are you over this now?
Josh Angulo: I’m well over that pain. Amazing what time and a good contract can do for your morale.
C7: Why didn’t you decide to go with a big PWA player like NeilPryde, NorthSails, Gaastra or Severne? You can win important points for the constructers title! Aren’t they paying better for the job you are doing? Or is it impossible to get on such a team at your age?
Josh Angulo: Honestly, all the main PWA brands as you call them, pretty much have their “marquee” riders … NP= Antoine , Gaastra= Ben, Severne= Bjoern , so basically their budgets and focus are on their own respective “race horses” as it should be. The common interest amongst the slalom brands is the desire for a world title or podium finish, so at some point it makes no sense to divide the interest between too many top-riders. For sure I could’ve signed on one of those company’s as a “supporting role” with some symbolic deal, but that’s not what I’m looking for. As much as I respect the aforementioned sailors as well as the rest of the top 32 slalom riders, I want to beat them all. That’s why I compete. Some guys compete to travel, some to party… I’ve already done both those things, now it’s time to win, so I needed to find a home that could give me the proper support and where I was happy to invest my energy. At the end of the day, when it all comes together and I’m standing in a good position, Gun Sails, a brand who has supported me for many years should be the brand that reaps the return, that would make sense.
C7: Is it a big deal in 2013. Your family got bigger and the tour has one more Slalom event compared to 2012.
Josh Angulo: Yeah man, my little boy, Josiah is a little cutey, Noah’s growing quick. My wife Claudia is a huge factor in our family’s success, because she is holding down the homefront when I’m off working in Maui, Korea etc etc etc. She’s been there since before my first world title in 2003 and prophesied my title in 2009. She’s a radical woman that I’m blessed to be with and I’ll be stoked to bring her another title home.
C7: The late signing of contracts has become your trademark. Do you like to sign contracts late or is it a tactical game you are playing?
Josh Angulo: It’s not something I designed , but it is kinda interesting how it works out. From my early days negotiating with David Ezzy I learned that I had to be absolutely 100% sure in my mind that I was OK to be without a sponsor. That was the only way I could safely negotiate with David Ezzy, who I was with for many years. So since the early days, I would mentally agree with myself that I was OK if my carer were to end and then I was able to negotiate from a position of strength rather than weakness. So historically I’ve held out for what I wanted, or at least what is reasonable for both sides. Which means I often sign late in the season. Obviously a lot of the young guys don’t have that luxury, because they are just trying to start their career so they have to take whatever the industry will give them and honestly the industry is getting a lot for a little nowadays, that’s just the nature of windsurfing in 2013. I’ve also had to change my tune and seek out of industry sponsorship as well, which I can go ahead and say thanks to USA firm Lynch and associates who will be sponsoring me as well this year and supporting my goals. But getting back to the late signings…. Most good things take time to come into fruition.
C7: You are 38 years now and it sounds you are fully motivated. How many more years do you give yourself on the top level?
Josh Angulo: I’m just gonna take it 1 year at a time. The main thing that keeps you going is motivation. You have to draw it from different areas. I Iove windsurfing as a sport and will do it as long as my body allows, but on a professional level, I’m commited to this year and then I’ll see. I imagine I got another 2-3 in me, but I’m not in a hurry to get there. Time passes quick enough nowadays, so I’m content to relax and go with the timing as it naturally reveals itself.
C7: Will the boardbrand Angulo collaborate again with Gun Sails, like two years ago?
Josh Angulo: Pieter Bijl is now the head of Angulo Boards Europe. Any final distribution decisions will be his. I’m sure we’d be happy to extend some “team deal” to my national teammates on Gun Sails and work with Gun on any level where they may need test boards etc., but the Angulo urope central distribution will now be based in Holland under the guidance of Pieter Bijl and any enquiries for boards can be sent directly to him at www.anguloboards.com or https://www.facebook.com/anguloboards
C7: What’s possible with the GS-R Racing sail in 2013. You were off for a year sailing for the young Italian brand Point-7 and you had your best overall result with a 6th. Your last podium you made on Gun Sails back in in 2011 at Jinha Beach with a third.
Josh Angulo: Well, the new sails are much lighter and rotation is awesome. This I know for sure. I still need to get on them and ride and I based a lot of my final decision on feedback from Steve Laubaney, Roberto Actis, studying photos and of course quite a few conversations with designer Renato Morlotti. Renato has always been very straight up with me, so hearing his excitement and thoughts on the sails, helped make my final decision. At the end of the day, I believed since recent years that the Gun Sails Transwave, Torro and Future were absolutely some of the best windsurf sails I’ve ever used, so I know when the company and Renato decide that they want to achieve a performance level with any of their sails then they can, and they did put this effort into the 2013, which is also why they had the interest to retain a top slalom rider to showcase their GS-R racing sail.
C7: You were working for two years with sail designer Renato Morlotti to develop a competitive racing sail with Gun. Did Gun improve the sail during your excursion to Point-7?
Josh Angulo: I believe so and Renato says so, but one of the things I learned from the past with Gun is one of the reasons the company is so successful is each person does their job well. So, actually, I don’t even need to worry if the R and D has progressed, because that’s Renato’s job and he’s continually delivered. I don’t have to worry if the brochure will be nice, as that’s Jörg’s job. Will the sails be on time? Not my problem…. Rainer’s job. I do have to worry however, to get my act together, get tuned, fit, start well and make my jibes.
C7: Is there a realistic chance that you will make it on the podium in 2013?
Josh Angulo: Yes
C7: Gun Sails mentioned that they developed an innovative curve on the actual mast sleeve. Any comments on that?
Josh Angulo: I believe this is what’s allowing the sails to hold their shape without so much tension and is allowing for the super easy rotation. I honestly am not 100% up on it. Renato and I spoke briefly and I’m sure he’ll fill me in a bit more as we get moving again, but right now I’m just concentrating to tune up the production sails to ride well on my boards, fins etc.
C7: Will you start with a high end product in the 2013 season? 7 weeks are left, before the first PWA event. Is that enough time for you?
Josh Angulo: Yes and Yes. Gun Sails knows what they’re doing, not only with sails, but masts, harness lines, bags, accessories etc. It’s so awesome to get a big load of fresh top quality gear. On the pro-level we have the luxury to spend more time on the water tweaking and tuning our gear, so in a short amount of time we can bring things up to speed very quickly, especially with Gun. I am not starting from zero. I have a strong understanding of their equipment and Renato’s style of sail development, so I expect to show up to South Korea with a quiver of light, tight preciseley tuned sails, boards and fins.
C7: Is the topic of tuning totally overrated, especially for someone like you, who has so many years of experience?
Josh Angulo: Tuning is extremely important, more so than time on water and repetition, in my opinion. However, you need to be careful not to “overtune” or “overthink” it. Sometimes keeping it simple is best.
C7: Do you already know after one day of testing, if you will be competitive or not?
Josh Angulo: I know I will be competitive without even testing. I am a competitive sailor jumping on 2013 equipment of a top name brand. I just have to sail smart and keep my wits about me and I’m sure I’ll do just fine.
C7: Will we see you at some wave events, too. Last year you participated in the final event at Sylt!
Josh Angulo: I get that wave competition bug in me every now and then, but sometimes the hassle and logistic isn’t worth it. But I love sailing in Sylt, which if I prepared a bit, could maybe do a decent showing and the Chile event is interesting if it happens. But, my focus is slalom and outside of that I have other commitments so. I’m not too worried of trying to relive my “glory days” in the wave events, but if the right opportunity arises and it’s easy enough….. Never know ?
C7: Last year you had awesome support from your teammates. You even had caddies at the beach with Dennis Boisen and Andrea Cucchi. Now you are in a team with just a few international top team riders like Flo Jung, Marcos Perez, Stephane Etienne or Nicola Spadea. One of your racing colleagues is the German Dennis Müller, who will not do the whole PWA tour. Is that a big disadvantage?
Josh Angulo: Dennis was awesome and Andrea was also very helpful, but at the end of the day my biggest support team consistently for the last few years has been Micah and Pieter. We have a dynamic amongst us, that it doesn’t matter what sails or boards we are on, we are all friends to the point of being like brothers. So we got each other’s backs and it’s rare that one of those guys aren’t there for me in a pinch and vice versa. Also, with the expansion of team Angulo, there’s a good chance we will have our support team when most necessary. A full time caddy is a clear strength and luxury that we’d all like to have, but have pretty much learned to live without. We all see clearly many of the advantages Björn draws from having Victor (Couto, the Caddy of Björn Dunkerbeck) with him, but at the end of the day, it just comes down to racing well.
C7: With whom will you test the sails, who will be your sparring partner?
Josh Angulo: I’m in Maui now sailing with Pieter and Micah…. Those boys will get me straight up to speed. Back home in Boston, we’ll go more for buoy and repetion sailing, and GPS testing and if/when I need to tune something up, I’ll just plan a trip accordingly to hook up with the right people, but I got guys here that are fast enough and in my corner, so that we can resolve any testing issues we need right here 2 mins. from my house in Nahant. At my age, of course the physical factor is really important, but the mind-set is key. I believe I am living in an area that encourages success, winning and provides many tools to get there. We have a great logistic and infrastructure here in Boston that will surely help take me to a higher level .
C7: The R&D of Gun Sails happens in Tarifa, Europe. Will you spend more time in Europe now and will you be more involved in the R&D?
Josh Angulo: Will play it by ear. It’s all Renato’s call and part of my maturing into the Gun Sails system is not worrying about Renato’s job and just to trust him and Petra to do the right thing. Main thing is for me to get my act organized with the new sails and do some good results. Renato is a human, not a machine and I’m sure any good results will feed his inspiration, but nonetheless he’s a long-time and loyal designer for Gun Sails and knows the importance of delivering a perfect sail, more so for the customer’s then the team rider’s. So no matter what I do, Renato will be concentrating on the R and D and taking it to the next level.
C7: Are you happy and convinced with the decisions you’ve made and how do you see the future of windsurfing?
Josh Angulo: I’m at peace with where I’m at and I’m sincerely excited, which are 2 very important indicators for me that I’m on the right path. I don’t have the answers about the future of windsurfing in general, but personally seeing the dynamic of our windsurf club in Cabo Verde, my personal business growth with Angulo boards and our cooperation with Pieter Bijl as well as this renewal of cooperation with Gun Sails, has got me on a route towards the future that screams success!