Windsurfing into the Unknown
In the fall of 2012, Windsurfing Into the Unknown, which got founded by Michi Rossmeier and Phil Soltysiak, explored around the famous windsurfing and tourist town of Jericoacoara, Brazil, to see what kind of windsurfing spots they can find. Michael Rossmeier from Austria and the Canadian Philip Soltysiak created a 4 episode series showcasing good spots to windsurf that are accessible from Jericoacoara. We got the chance to interview Michael Rossmeier and Philip Soltysiak about their project.
Links to the Jeri spot guides:
- Jeri Spotguide Episode 1 – Lagoa Azul & Paraiso
- Jeri Spotguide Episode 2 – Jericoacoara
- Jeri Spotguide Episode 3 – Duna do Por de Sol
- Jeri Spotguide Episode 4 – Praia de Malhada
C7: Your fourth and final episode of your Brazil series will be out soon. Which spot did you feature this time?
Rossi: It is about wavesailing in Mahlada, just upwind of Jeri.
Phil: Mahlada. I hope you enjoyed them and learnt something about the spots around Jeri.
C7: What was your main motivation to run videos in that style?
Rossi: Well, I went the first time to Jeri and I didn’t know those places. I found it very comfortable to sail just right in front of the town, but every now and then you want to escape the people and explore new places. So for me these spots were actually unknown.
Phil: I’ve been to Jeri many times, and people always ask me “doesn’t it get boring”? “isn’t it crowded?” “are there any waves?”, and I think the best way to show people what is at their disposal from Jeri is through videos, so we described the spots and also featured a bit of action from every spot so people can see for themselves what is there. We didn’t choose the most epic days or conditions to film any of this, all of it was filmed in 1 week and the conditions that you saw are common and can be enjoyed every day in Jeri.
C7: Were you happy with the feedback?
Rossi: Yes, Tristan did a great job editing and finding the right music for each clip. He had big health problems after coming back from Brazil, so it was great he could still finish those clips for us in such good style.
Phil: Yes, the impression I got was that people liked the episodes. Some people liked the information, some liked the quality of the video, some liked the action or the music.
C7: Windsurfing into the unknown is a great title for exploring new spots for windsurfing. Last time it was Kenia , this time it was Jericoacoara. Which was more unknown for you in the end?
Rossi: Kenya was a proper WITU project, it was pretty much totally unknown for us and there was very little info about the conditions there available. Jeri is a well known place, Phil was there many times, so the Jeri episodes should not represent a full WITU feature, but rather a WITU Spotguide, which discovers some less known spots around Jeri.
Phil: Let’s not forget our original project in Colombia (Link to the Colombia movie). That’s where it all started. Kenya and Colombia were full WITU features, while Jericoacoara was a “spot guide”, as of course Jeri is not an unknown location. Our goal with the spot guide was to show the lesser known sides of Jeri. You can expect the next full feature of Windsurfing Into the Unknown to be just as interesting as Kenya and Colombia, or even better.
C7: Since when have you been working together on projects and are you the perfect team?
Rossi: Since a few years when we went for the original, first Windsurfing Into the Unknown to Colombia (2010)
Phil: Rossi and I get along well. We’ve been doing these project since the original Windsurfing Into the Unknown in Colombia in 2010. I think we are a good team, Rossi manages more of the technological and media (pictures/video) aspect of the projects, while I do more of the writing and logistics/planning. I think we’re a good team.
C7: Do you have a filmer with you all the time during your trips?
Rossi: Yes, normally we do – we also have a photographer with us.
Phil: Our goal is to always have a camera man with us, but as you can imagine that’s expensive, so it’s not always possible. We did have a camera man with us for the Jericoacoara Spot Guide series.
C7: What drives you travelling to new spots and exploring new places?
Rossi: You might discover a perfect spot and are mostly one of a few people who ever sailed this place. There are great spots out there, we just got to find them!
Phil: Competing on the PWA world tour the locations are pretty repetitive, and for me windsurfing and travel go hand in hand. It doesn’t feel a year of windsurfing for me unless I’ve visited a new spot.
C7: Any memorable moments you would like to share?
Rossi: Swimming with dolphins in Colomiba, Safari in Kenya when a snake came into our tent at night to say hello.
Phil: I almost landed on our photographer in Jeri.
C7: How much windsurfing gear do you take on your trips?
Rossi: The normal freestyle/wave quiver we take everywhere – a bit more masts if there are waves. (1 freestyle board, 1 wave board, 4 sails, 3 masts, 2 booms)
Phil: A lot if you ask the airport check-in staff! But it always depends on the trip. To Brazil I only take 4.2 and 4.6 every year along with a 91 Flare and 76 Evo. It’s all I need there. To Kenya I took more, but only needed 5.4 and Flare 101. In Colombia I needed everything. I just arrived in Egypt and flew with 3 gear bags.
C7: Are there any things you would always take with you on a trip except windsurfing gear?
Rossi: Lots of camera gear!!
Phil: I always pack a Theraband to keep my shoulder healthy.
C7: What was your favorite spot in Brazil so far? And at other trips?
Rossi: For me personally it was Lagoa Paraiso and Malhada
Phil: I like sailing in different spots in Brazil, my favourite one always depends on the tide. On a normal day I will do a 1 or 2 sessions at the flag and 1 session at Malhada or downwind. Puerto Velero was my favourite spot in Colombia and Turtle Bay was my favourite in Kenya.
Are there any spots on the planet you would travel immediately again?
Rossi: Yep, Colombia and Kenya
Phil: I was very close to going back to Colombia for training this winter, but I didn’t get enough other people interested in going there. It’s a great spot! Who wants to join me there next year?
C7: Got travelling easier with the help of internet, GPS, online maps, Foursquare and all the available tools?
Rossi: A lot easier,… there is so much information on the internet and those services, that you would not be able to get without… it’s a big value, but it also means all other people also have access to this information, so it is a bit more difficult to find really unknown places.
Phil: Yes, but I’ve never heard of Foursquares to tell you the truth. I googled it, looks interesting. Without the internet and online maps I think it’s safe to say our project would be for one impossible, and two not so many people would hear about them.
C7: Any new trips/videos planned?
Rossi: Yes, but they are still unknown…
Phil: Yes, there are a lot of really good and exciting plans, but I have to keep them secret, otherwise it’s not so exciting anymore.
C7: Thanks for the interview and we are looking forward to the final movie from Brazil.
© Interview: Continentseven 2013