Micah Buzianis 2012 – The Interview
Micah Buzianis (USA-34) is one of the pro sailors, who has been in the racing business for almost 25 years. During this 25 years, he always adapted his style to new shapes or new boardclasses and was able to stay on the top. When Micah sailed on the Italian Drops boards, he was involved in the development of the flapper boards, a precursor of the Formula board, a wide racing fun board. After he had broken his foot on Gran Canaria in 2008, he returned very strong the year after and placed himself on the 4th place in the slalom overall ranking. Now he has left NeilPryde and signed a contract with MauiSails and feels ready to win another title. Read the full interview with an extraordinary outstanding sportsman.
C7: Congratulations to your new sailsponsor MauiSails. When did you decide to change from NeilPryde to the Maui based company?
Micah: Firstly thanks very much for the congrats, I am very stoked be riding their sails and working with such a professional and knowledgeable team. The decision came pretty late in the year as I thought that my Neil Pryde contract was going to be renewed until after Sylt when the negotiating wasn’t going anywhere. I basically decided then that I needed a change and Phil was the first person that I talked to and was very interested. So to give you an exact date when I decided I guess around the middle of November is the closet I can come up with.
C7: Are the sails much different compared to what you used in the past?
Micah: The sails are a different to the sails I have raced on in the past and different from all the other sails I have tried. I don’t think there are any two brands out there that feel similar. In the end though it is what you can get used to and perform better on and the feel of the Maui Sails is something that I really feel comfortable and fast on. I think the hardest change to get used to is the change in booms, with different curves and grip diameters, for me this is the biggest adjustment. But after only a couple weeks I am already feeling more tuned in with the booms as well so really in the end for someone that sails as much as a full time pro windsurfer you can adjust pretty quickly.
C7: You have long time relation to Phil McGain, when he was on Gaastra and tried to arrange a sponsor deal for you! Right? Was that also one ofthe reasons for your change?
Micah: I do have a long time relation with Phil. We actually first met in 1989 in Hood River, Oregon when I was on the Gorge Junior team and he came to speak to us one evening. Right then I was an instant fan and he was one of my heroes in windsurfing. I kept in touch with him from then on since we both lived in Maui he helped me out off and on throughout the years. The time he tried to help me get on Gaastra was back in about 1989 and it came very close to happening, but for some reason at the last minute it fell through. He has continued to help me ever since, at least as long as it didn’t conflict with his team guys, but he was a huge reason for my change to Maui Sails. To have his help both in testing and training is beyond, what you could possibly get anywhere else in windsurfing.
C7: We guess you tested the sails in advance as the headquarter is not too far from your home at Sprecks. How was your first impression and what was the reason you decided for MauiSails.
Micah: I tried a few of the sails earlier last spring, just to compare them to the Neil Pryde sails I was racing on, as I always like to try any other sail brand I can when I have the chance and needless to say I was very impressed. When it became evident later in the year that I may not be with NeilPryde I tried them more in depth and after trying almost every size from 6.3 to 12.0 there was never a question of if the sails were good enough to win on.
C7: Peter Volwater left MauiSails. Who will be your test and sparring partner?
Micah: My testing and sparring partner will be Phil, who else do you really need??? He is one of if not the most knowledgeable racers and testers in windsurfing with more experience than anyone in racing, testing and training by a million miles. It is a perfect combo, he is still fast and winning races. So he will push me in speed and conditioning as hard as anyone and he has no ego or hidden agendas all he wants to do is to help me win. What more could I ask for.
C7: Did you already decide, which sizes you are going to register in the 2012 season. MauiSails has plenty, 11 Slalom sizes. Will you choose the TR-8xt version or the monofilm version?
Micah: I am still deciding which sizes to go with. All the sizes feel very good. It is now just a matter of getting a quiver, that will fit as good as possible with my boards and their sizes as well as try to figure how the sails will fit into the PWA calendar. We still have a while to decide, so I plan to do a lot of homework to come up with the best matched quiver possible. The same goes for the XT and the monofilm, I will test as much as possible to find the best combo and then go with that.
C7: The Vietnam event now got moved to the end of the season. Is that an advantage for you now not to have the event in March and start into the PWA racing season in May?
Micah: Yes and No I think. Yes in the sense, that it give us a lot more time to test, tune and train to get ready for a strong season. No, because I would really like to get some racing in on my new gear and see where I am at. I liked the timing of Vietnam as it gave us an early event and then a couple months off to go back and tweak anything that needed to be tweaked.
C7: At NeilPryde you were involved in R&D a lot, together with Pieter Bijl and Antoine Albeau. Will you be involved in the testing process at MauiSails?
Micah: I will certainly be involved in the testing, more so on some of the sails than others, but I hope to be able to give feedback on just about all the lines. I have been heavily involved in the testing with sail and board brands since I started racing back in 1986, so I feel like I have some good experiences to bring to the table. Plus I love the testing aspect of windsurfing, evaluating equipment and being able to spend time on the water improving the equipment.
C7: How many times did you change a sailsponsor in your professional career, which has started back in 1990 with a NorthSails contract?
Micah: I was with North for 16 years then Pryde for 6 years, so only three brands since 1989.
C7: You are for so many years on tour now! Did it change much over the years. And what´s about the level? Still the same or higher nowadays?
Micah: It has been a long run, can’t believe it has gone this long and is still going……I think the level was much higher back in the 90’s. It was much tougher to make it through a heat even though for the most part the same guys were winning most of the time it was a lot more competitive. I think the guys that are doing well today are probably more competitive, but there are just fewer of them.
C7: Slalom started with the 42 rule. Nowadays the 63 rule exists. Only production boards and production sails are allowed. Was this a good development out of your view and is there anything you would change in the Slalom discipline, if you could?
Micah: I think there are pluses and minuses for all the different rules in place for racing equipment as well as the ones we have had in the past. You could easily argue that each one of them is better than the other. Personally I feel that open equipment is the best for the sport in terms of pushing the limits of the gear and making better gear. With constant development throughout the year I felt that we were improving the gear more rapidly and if you weren’t going very well then you could go home and make some changes and come to the next event with better gear. Now you can only make small changes to the gear to try and improve it. Sure, we are all on production gear now, but for the most part the same guys are still doing well. This would be the one change I would make, go back to open equipment.
C7: Many of the topsailors are in the early 40ties, what normally means that the performance should already decrease due to the age factor. Or is it different in windsurfing. Björn could win a title again despite he is 42 years old.
Micah: I think with racing it is a lot more about experience in races and tuning your gear. Confidence goes a long way in racing. The only way to get this experience and confidence is to get the years under your belt. I also think fitness has come a long ways in the last ten years and older athletes in a lot of different sports are doing well much later in their careers.
C7: What about you? You are 41 now. Do you still feel ready to win a title in 2012?
Micah: I feel great both fitness wise and tuning wise, another title or two is definitely not out of the question. The only real difference I notice is that my recovery time is not quite, what it used to be, but I can make up for this with my experience and preparation.
C7: How do you prepare for the 2012 tour? We just read on Twitter, that you are running to make your body fit.
Micah: I haven’t really changed my prep to much. I am trying a few different fitness routines to try and gain an extra edge, but it seems that with fitness the fads are changing on a constant basis and what was working this year supposedly may not be working next year. Consistency and time that is what I think is important to prepare. The running is something that Phil has suggested and for me it makes sense. It is a great workout that doesn’t require so much time nor the equipment that biking does. I still ride my bike but I am adding the running so I can keep a certain routine while I am on the road as well as trying to maximize my time daily.
C7: Do you train a lot on the water right now and do you sail in waves as well while the wintermonths?
Micah: I am doing as much water time as I can on a weekly basis just tuning my gear and taking advantage of the winds. I get enough down time when there is no wind or when I am traveling so I try to get out as much as I can. I also will try to wave sail as much as I can whenever there is good waves.
C7: At the PWA Slalom worldcups you are most of the time the only rider on MauiSails. Sometimes Taty Frans is competing or Japanese top racer Norio Asano, Japan´s top racer. So it´s most of the time a one man show at events. Does this fact make it harder for you and would it be easier, if MauiSails would have a complete Racing team?
Micah: No, this doesn’t bother me at all. It will actually make it easier so that I won’t have to worry about giving any gear to anyone or looking out for anyone on the race course. I have a very good test partner in Josh and we travel and work well together, even though we are on different teams we are both very focused when it comes race time. It is good to have a partner to sail and prep with at events, but it doesn’t need to be a person on the same gear as you. I will gladly help Taty out if he needs it, but I know Taty and he is as prepared as he needs to be for slalom and I think he does it more for fun event though he is very competitive and does well he is a bit more relaxed about it.
C7: You have been living on Maui since 1986. Is that the dream place, where you will live for many more years or did you sometimes think about to return to Utah?
Micah: I have really had a great time living on Maui, I think growing up here it was a dream place for me especially since I love windsurfing so much. It is also a great place to raise kids and since I have three I am taking advantage of this as well. I do miss some things about the mainland though and haven’t ruled out a possible move back in the future. Not sure where I would end up, but somewhere in the area of Utah for sure.
C7: Since 1997 you could make a real living on windsurfing. Is it still enough nowadays and how many more years do you plan to continue?
Micah: It is certainly a lot harder to make a good living from windsurfing, less prize money dollars, more expensive travel and less industry money for sponsorship. I am still fortunate to be making a living from it, but I have had to get creative to also generate some other sources of income. I find it very hard to understand how some guys make it in windsurfing, when you talk to guys and find out what they make it is amazing that they can even afford to live let alone travel around the world and compete. I guess I did it similar to that in the early days though so it can be done. My plan right now is to continue for three more years giving it my all and then see where I am, you never know though that could change and it could be longer or shorter it depends on a lot of different factors.
C7: There are discussion to reintroduce Formula to the PWA. Would you like to see a comeback of the Formula Windsurfing discipline in the PWA Worldcup?
Micah: The only way I would like to see it comeback is, if we were allowed to register one board and one sail for Formula and then we raced this only, when it was very light wind and it was counted the same as slalom. So the two would be one discipline and we would race depending on what the conditions were and then score it like rounds of slalom. Otherwise I dont’ think it should come back into PWA. They have a formula tour and there are enough guys that do it and enjoy it to keep it separate. Plus I think we can race slalom in the same wind needed to do Formula.
C7: Will you compete as well at Formula events in 2012?
Micah: I will do a few events in Formula this year, I enjoy formula in certain conditions and at certain events but I really feel the PWA should be the slalom theater.
C7: What can we expect from you in the upcoming season 2012?
Micah: I think you can certainly expect me to be more fit and motivated as Maui Sails is a very good fit for me in many different aspects. I also have some good confidence with the sails the more that I try them and get used to them so I will be going into the first event with the same goal as I have had every year, finish on top.
C7: Final question. Do you have 3 tipps for riders, who start Slalom racing.
Micah: First would be to put the time in beforehand in on the water training and tuning of your gear, know what you want to race on before you go. Second would be during races, focus on a good clean air full speed start. This is the biggest battle and can go the farthest. Third would be to have fun and enjoy what you are doing. If you take it to serious, then you put to much pressure on yourself and can not relax and let your preparation take over.
Thanks for the interview!
© continentseven.com 2012