Kauli’s change – The interview
Last week Hot Sails Maui announced the signing of former World Wave Champion Kauli Seadi. After 5 years he has left Neil Pryde and is stoked to have Hot Sails Maui supporting his style. “I have the passion for waveriding and they (NP) only care about competition, but the way the competition was I had no more motivation to compete.”
We did an interview with Kauli, his new boss Jeff Henderson, Hot Sail Maui sail designer Tom Hammerton and head of marketing Chris Freeman. Read more…
Continentseven: Big news, you leave NeilPryde after 5 years and one PWA World title in waves in 2008.
Kauli Seadi: Yeah, I am with Hot Sails Maui, from Hawaii from now on.
C7: Why did you decide to join Hot Sails Maui? It’s a step from the market leader NeilPryde to a relatively small brand?
Kauli Seadi: I believe in myself and the collaboration with NeilPryde splitted because we had different approches in the sport. I have the passion for waveriding and they only care about competition, but the way the competition was I had no more motivation to compete. So I decided to do a year off the PWA tour and I plan to do a trip together with my girlfriend on my catamaran sailing boat along the coast of Brazil. I want to search for sports for windsurfing, kitesurfing and SUP. All will be filmed for a TV channel in Brazil called “OFF” and I plan to have stories with pictures and an intro clip for windsurfing magazines. Once I am done with this project my plan is to continue to search for many more spots around the globe. I will finaly start to do my dream tour. If there is a PWA side offshore windsurfing destination on the plan I will be happy to compete, but I won’t do the tour this year.
C7: You once stated in an interview: “I don’t really believe in misfortune, I think when something goes wrong, it is often just the consequence of bad preparation.” Is the sponsor change the consequence?
Kauli Seadi: I think it’s a consequence of the choices I made into my windsurfing career and to my passion for the sport. I was feeling like I was forced to go sailing in those onshore spots. But I didn’t have much fun in that conditions. So it started to feel like a real work to me, instead of real pleasure like it always was. So I decided to follow a different path inside the sport and proposed to my sponsors to be a free surfer. I wanted to have time to continue improving my waveriding skills and with so much pressure by previous sponsor to do well on the PWA tour I had no more time to go sailing in real side shore wave sailing conditions.
Sometimes I had sick waves with offshore wind in front of my home, but I had to go down in the bay to find the most onshore crap to be able to train for the PWA tour. That fact was really frustrating for me. Suddenly then Hot Sails Maui showed up, completely stoked to make my dream come true and fully will support me to reach my goals on the new stage of my windsurfing life. I am stoked. Thanks Jeff !!!!!!!
C7: The 2013 PWA tour has two new tour spots with Chile and South Africa on the provisional calendar? Do you like these events more?
Kauli Seadi: Maybe, but I will probably only do Chile for this year.
C7: What does Hot Sails Maui expect from you?
Kauli Seadi: My main obligation is to search for good waves, to have fun and take some shots. We as well want to do a lot of sail testing and want to give my input on the new sails. I will run the Clube Kauli Seadi in Gostoso as a test center for Hot Sails Maui. The club is already existing for over two years. The clients really like the destination. We have wind almost every day, warm water, 28° to 30° outside temperature, excellent food, nice accomodation and a good variety of conditions for windsurfing, for freestyle, bump & jump, waveriding and freeride.
C7: Do you have a long term contract with Hot Sails Maui?
Kauli Seadi: Yes, for 3 years.
C7: How is your relationship with Jeff Henderson, the owner of the brand?
Kauli Seadi: I think Jeff is an extremely open minded person. And I see that he is really into testing new things and he follows different ideas, if they work well. At the moment everything will be new for me and exciting to try all what he has developed over the years and to learn what features I like from it to continue with designs of designs for the future.
C7: Hot Sails Maui is a brand, which has its roots in the wave discipline. Despite products like the GPS, GP2, SpeedFreak and new GPX they still offer 50% wave models in their full sail range, the Firelight, The QU4D, the Smack and three different styles of the Superfreak. Will you get your own Pro model like you had at Naish in the past?
Kauli Seadi: We plan to start the development with the QU4D and Super Freak and afterwards we are going to decide what directions to go. I will work closely with Jeff Henderson and Tom Hammerton on the wavesail designs.
C7: You are in a team with several strong wave sailors like German Leon Jamaer and Diony Guadagnino, but you don´t have the big opponents in your own team like you had at NeilPryde. Does this take some pressure off and is this the chance for you to attract more attention with your exceptional and unique style?
Kauli Seadi: I think the decision of Hot Sails Maui was mainly because they understand what I want and support my dream in the sport of windsurfing.They don’t care about results. By the way, Diony and Leon are great friends of mine and I am looking forward to be part of the the Hot Sails Maui Team.
C7: Will you keep working with JP-Australia in 2013?
Kauli Seadi: Yes, keep riding JP windsurfing and SUP boards.
C7: Did you test the sails of your new sponsor already and if yes, what’s your first impression?
Kauli Seadi: I have been into the process of trying all the current sails to have an understanding of what I like from it and then we plan to make prototypes and design a sail to fit my needs. In the past days I have tried the sails and I am surprised how good they are. I had definitely a total different impression about some of the sails, especially from the Superfreak Maui edition. That sail was unreal in high winds. Most of the sails I have used since I am a windsurfer didn’t feel so easy to handle in strong winds, the sail behaves so well. It was an amazing experience. The QU4D is an extreme and light sail, also and felt really awesome. Then I tried the Bolt and I like some features of this model, too. The new Ultra masts are awesome. These masts are the lightest skinny masts 100% carbon I have ever used and they have an awesome reflex. For the booms: I will use their current aluminium boom, which has a great shape.
C7: You are 30 years old. Do you still feel you can keep up with the young hotshots like Köster or Roediger?
Kauli Seadi: I think those kids are the future and present our sport and I think I don’t worry anymore so much about the contest scene. I want to have fun and enjoy the sport I love so much. The most important for me is to be in the water.
C7: What are your plans for the upcoming weeks?
Kauli Seadi: Stay on Maui for testing and then back to Brazil for the boat trip!!
C7: Thanks for the interview. Good luck and keep the stoke alive!!!
Interview with Jeff Henderson (Founder and owner of Hot Sails Maui)
C7: What does it mean to you to have Kauli Seadi on the team?
Jeff Henderson: It is really cool, I am stoked! I have kept a pretty low profile in the past, doing my own thing and though I sell my sails in over 25 countries, we are still a smaller brand. I have been pretty happy with this, charting my own course and making sails I wanted to make. Kauli is a bit of a rouge himself, and is not a follower- he will be great to work with and is pumping some serious motivation into the whole Hot Sails Maui crew.
C7: Kauli Seadi is probably one of the best and most experienced wave sailors on that planet. He has won 3 titles in this discipline. Do you feel flattered that he has joined your brand Hot Sails Maui?
Jeff Henderson: I do.
C7: Are you ready with your products for a 3 times wave world champion?
Jeff Henderson: Hell yes! VERY excited to hear his feedback and to bounce ideas and concepts off someone who is so well experienced in top level gear. I have a few days of wave sailing under my belt too, but not at his level.
C7: You have not invested a lot in top PWA riders in the past. Now you have Kauli one of the biggest names in the sport. Is it nowadays necessary to have some of the big riders in the team to be competitive in the market?
Jeff Henderson: Actually not really. First you have to have a special product. If you don’t then endorsements are critical. But if you have a good product, people will find out about it on their own. That is how we survived for the last 28 years. However, I am really excited to have all of Kauli’s fans try the sails that they maybe have never seen or experienced before. His influence will open a lot of doors, this is sure.
Interview with Tom Hammerton (Sail designer Hot Sails Maui)
C7: Do you know Kauli in personal from the past?
Tom Hammerton: No not really. Of course I have seen him around and bumped into him but we never had a proper conversation until recently.
C7: Do you feel pressure as a sail designer fulfilling Kauli’s wishes?
Tom Hammerton: Pressure, no. Excitement, yes. This is great opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s best wave sailors to produce innovative products. He is a pretty easy going and we both want the same thing – the best sails possible. So far, Kauli has shown that he is very keen to work on improving the sails and given good feedback on the products, which makes my job as a designer easier.
C7: Nowadays you are more the speed sailor, but in the past you were much into wavesailing. Does that help?
Tom Hammerton: Many people know me as primarily a speed sailor, but I was a competitive wave sailor in the past, and that was what brought me to Maui originally. I got into Slalom because there are no waves here in summer and I destroyed my knees. My wavesailing experience certainly does help. Most importantly, I think it allows me to communicate well with Kauli because I understand what a wave sail needs to accomplish. I think Kauli rides waves just the way I want to ride waves (or wish I could). Although I hardly ever sail at Ho’okipa these days I do know the place and I understand what it takes to sail there, and what a wave sail should do. I get the feeling I am going to be spending a lot more time on a waveboard now as we try to push things forward.
C7: Do you think that Kauli can come up with new ideas, which you are able to use for your sail development?
Tom Hammerton: Absolutely. We have already been talking and I am discovering different viewpoints and getting insight from a new perspective. So certainly working with Kauli I will explore new ideas that otherwise I may have missed.
C7: Is it a career highlight for you to work with such a big name from now on?
Tom Hammerton: I have worked with a lot of big names in the past but not a 3 x World Champion. I think it will be a highlight in my career if we can work together and achieve something really special. At the end of the day it is all about making the sails better, and if he can help me do that then I will be very happy!
Interview with Chris Freeman (Marketing Hot Sails Maui)
C7: If someone would have told you Kauli will join the Hot Sails Maui Team in 2013, what would you have answered?
Chris Freeman: I probably would have been a little surprised just like many of the public. However I gave up a successful and profitable career in the Middle East because I believed in the brand, the personnel and the products at Hot Sails Maui. I knew that we had something special and unique to nurture, this appointment is the result of our hard work these past two years, the result of the development of products such as the Firelight & the QU4D and therefore in many ways I am not surprised in the slightest. I must say though that it is fantastic news and I am proud to be working alongside one of the greatest riders of all time.
C7: How does a superstar from Brazil fit to the Maui based sail brand?
Chris Freeman: Seamlessly! There are many parallels between the Brand and Kauli which help to foster a natural synthesis. Hot Sails Maui is a vibrant, innovative and progressive brand, not constrained by popular belief nor convention, a brand striving to break the perceived rules of what is possible in our sport. The exact same words can be used to describe the 3 X World Champion Kauli. The marriage of these forces will create sparks like never before and I cannot wait!
C7: What do you expect from Kauli?
Chris Freeman: Hot Sails Maui is above all else a team of dedicated windsurfers, we have an extensive network of riders around the world, many of them young who are trying to break into the limelight in their own right, Kauli brings his own unique style, astonishing talent and incredible drive to that lineup, I hope that his experience can be used effectively to head up this group of riders so that he can be a role model and source of inspiration for others to follow. I do expect great things of our riders and I am working closely with Kauli to ensure that his media coverage is effective in spreading the HSM message despite a smaller marketing budget than he is used to. I am a big believer in the power of social media so I will be looking to develop his role in this area in the months ahead.
C7: Was it hard to find a good deal with the top star of the scene. It will cost a bit of money to get such a big name under contract?
Chris Freeman: Yes, this is the biggest rider contract HSM has ever signed. Superstars do not come cheaply in any sport! This is a calculated move on our behalf, as with any business, acquisitions need to be profitable and the appointment of Kauli is no different. Kauli’s influence will help add value to our brand and products in a number of ways. We all have to work hard and effectively to ensure that the end result is that we develop our image and our products with the ultimate goal of selling more sails in the longer term so more can enjoy the HSM experience.
C7: Do you have already some activities planned with your new team member?
Chris Freeman: The planning is coming along. In the short term with Kauli in Hawaii the focus will be product development and getting to know each other a little better. I will be developing medium and longer term plans together with Kauli and the rest of the team in the coming weeks as I formulate our strategy which clearly needs to evolve given the new opportunities which this appointment has created.
© continentseven.com 2013