A few days ago Andre Paskowski and his team released the first trailer of the upcoming DVD “Minds Wide Open“.  The background of this DVD production is everything else than ideal. Right during the filming and creative process, Andre Paskowski, the producer got a new cancer diagnosis in March. Back then he thought to stop the project for a short moment, but Andre never gives up. His personal goals in competitive windsurfing may have changed a bit, but his love for the sport will never change.  

“I can´t fight for a European title and fighting for the top 5 Worldcup positions anymore. But I feel that I still can do good. My body is totally damaged,  but it does not mean that it will stay that way. I watch all the PWA heats live and after I stand up and go through all the moves just by moving arms, body and think of each move. And I feel that mostly all is still there. Windsurfing is still the most important. I check the news every day. It is important that you keep your dreams alive! It would not help me to stop thinking of windsurfing… it would just make me even more depressed.”


Andre - Pic: Michael Sumereder


Read in this interview, which is the first part of a longer interview, about Andre´s actual medical condition and the “Minds Wide Open” DVD production.


C7: In the beginning of the year you and your filmcrew were on Cape Verde Islands, where you scored nice conditions at Ponta Preta and got amazing footage for your new film “Minds Wide Open”. Then after this successful trip you got again a cancer diagnosis and had big operations. What has happened since then and how did you feel after that?

Andre: My life pretty much changed again totally. When I did all that last year I felt fit and healthy in January and February. I was about to be “normal”. But after going through all again and also being directly confronted with staying alive or not – has changed me lots. I had to do one big stomach operation which in the end turned out to be unnecessary (no cancer was found). But as my blood indicators have still showed some cancer in my body I had to switch to a systematic therapy: chemo. Here I did 1 “normal” cycle and 3 full high dose cycles with stem cell transplantation. That is basically the most heavy thing a body can take. It took me 9 weeks hospital straight. Physical I was in a bad shape. Compared to others doing the same therapy I was in good shape but as I was pretty fit before all started, I felt terrible. My ears were damaged from the chemo, I couldn´t really move good and lots of other things. But that can be all worked out. I then started to do some very small training. Mentally I am ok but I have my times were I am very worried. Worried about that cancer will return again. Because if it would it would be hard to therapy it because I already got the absolute maximum indication possible. It feels so strange to even have to deal with death. 2 years ago that would not be impossible to understand. Now, I think of it once a day and it scares me but I have a good team of doctors, which are positive about it and take my fears.

We met Andre at the German Boot show in January this year

A few months later radiotherapy


C7: Somebody once told me, “If you do not learn to accept the cancer in your body, you can not defeat it!” Is this true?

Andre: I don´t know. Maybe I am not that far yet. But surely you should not cry everyday and ask yourself “Why me?”. There is no answer on that question. I also have never really asked me that. 


C7: After so many surgeries and a more than a one year fight against the cancer, where do you take your energy from?

Andre: I really don’t know. If I look back it seems all unreal and impossible to do but once you are in the hospital you just let it happen to you. I had a daily plan to waste the most possible time so time goes quicker. My Mum and Dad helped me very much on all and also the support I get from my close friends is cool. And then here and there some cool highlights happen. Gollito came for a day, talked to Kauli for some time at the airport and those things help you again for a week. Also I dream everyday about being in the sun, windsurfing and with all my good friends, which helps. If I would not have the vision to be windsurfing again with my friends – the therapies would break me!


Andre´s room in the hospital

 C7: Recently you were on Lake Garda, where you jumped on a windsurfing board again after about 1,5 years off the water. How was this for you?

Andre: Actually it came just up fast. I was filming from the water with Gollito for the Minds Wide Open DVD, so I had my wetsuit on. Then Gollito got a little tired and I asked to get the gear for 1 run. So, I made a Willyskipper, tryed an Eslider and a Willyskipper again and finished. It was very strange as I do not have any power in my legs and arms. But was obviously just perfect. I mean there was a time were probably most people did not even expect to see me again, so to be on the water 2 weeks after radio therapy felt good! You can watch the clip with Andre back on the board here on Facebook.


Andre driving with Gollito and Sumsi to Lake Garda

 C7: How is the Minds Wide Open production running so far?

Andre:  We got some amazing footage already and we were pretty lucky everywhere. With Kauli we scored a perfect day on Cape Verde for example. Marcilio showed some incredible performance on Maui and with Gollito we catched some good winds in Egypt. After the Canary Tour Ricardo, Kauli and Victor went to Indo. I already checked all the footage and there is some nice footage from there. Besides we are already editing, working on music and everything else. It feels really unfortunate to not be able to travel and film myself but our team is doing a great job and I am sure that the end result will be again a great movie, which inspires people who like sports. 


C7: What does Minds Wide Open mean for you?

Andre: I think these 3 words describe any windsurfer around the world or at least should do. I think this is a major part of our boardsport community. That it offers us to travel and to see different places. Every place is different. Different people, religion, social situation, health situation and it opens your mind to see and experience all of that. And that will help you back in your 2 million home town to enjoy life more.


C7: What is your personal goal with Minds Wide Open?

 Andre: Good question. To be honest back in February, I was thinking to stop the project. I got the information that the cancer returned and I felt like this is all going wrong now. But then I thought NO. The guys would be really unhappy, if I would cancel the project, even if they would understand it. But my idea was to give them what they deserve. We are talking of 5 World Champions and 1 who will be World Champion really soon. And most of them had not a full on movie yet. In no other sport a situation like this exists. They are my heroes and they are also heroes for many others, so I thought: We make that movie. We do need to build new icons of windsurfing and this is one step forward. 

Me personally I just want to have fun with it. I won´t appear inside the movie and I won´t appear on pictures much so it is fun once the movie is done. You know competing is also lots of fun. You do something, you might win, people admire you, it is all good for your ego a little. But to produce something which makes people happy, which makes people learn something or which makes the winter run quicker, is cool too. 


C7: You think the movie will be ready to have its premier show during the PWA event on Sylt?

Andre: Mhm also good question. Well my health problem really set us back full force. I was planed to go to each trip while Sebastian is editing. In February I got to know to end up in hospital till August and plans changed drastically. My plan is to run the movie on Sylt. BUT if we might have not the entire movie ready we will make a sneak preview. We are on a difficult situation, we have so amazing footage that we could do something amazing but that takes time. We also could force it a bit and have it ready for Sylt. But I don´t know. Maybe it is the last time that I have to opportunity to work on a production of this size, together with such amazing new talents. So I prefer to get everything out of our footage. But sure is, the DVD is in your hands beginning of November!


C7: Did you learn something in this past years? 

Andre: Being more patient. Don’t take yourself as important. That complaints about unimportant facts like judges, conditions and all that are totally stupid. Doing body checks every half year from now. Don’t look after contracts or financial success too much.  Handle the fact of health and the opportunity to do our nice natural sport carefully and enjoy every second. 


Thanks for the interview!