Peter Garzke interview with Matt Pritchard (Gaastra Teammanager)
MP: Hey Peter, welcome to the Gaastra Team! Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started windsurfing.
PG: Hey Matt, long time no see. Thanks! Well, I started windsurfing end of the 70’s. After school I worked in a factory back home to quickly make the amount of money, that I needed to stay on Maui for half a year. I mainly slept on the beach because I couldn’t afford a room. Coming back home I had to do my military service…what a terrible contrast to the life on Maui before. I decided to go back another time to Maui right after and stayed another six month. Coming back home again I started my studies of physical eductaion and sailed as much as I could at the same time, also in competitions. I finshed my studies and just had to keep sailing. Couldn’t help it.
MP: You have been around for quite a while- tell us about the most significant change you have seen in windsurfing; what was the greatest advancement or something that really stands out in your mind?
PG: Yes I have been around quiet a while…the years just seem to fly by. I remember meeting you the first time up in cold Denmark such a long time ago. Siginificant changes…that would probably be the boardspeed. Boards got faster and faster, what makes us jump higher and does make our sport so much more dynamic nowadays. Another achievment what is connected to boardspeed of course is probably the change of sails, that made it possible to place our mastboxes further back. That way we are finally able to use faster rockerlines and wider boards.
MP: You spend a lot of time on Oahu- how often are you there? How about Maui- I don’t see you too much riding starboard tack?
PG: Going to Oahu is like going home for me. It is a small scene and the atmosphere is very friendly. It is also great for pictures as the colors are very tropical, what makes it very efficient for my magazin-work. And of course there is still the chance to go to the North Shore for starboard tack sailing. Lately I had been sailing on Big Island, Kauai and Molokai to get the whole pictures. When Maui is going off, I am mostly sailing in South Africa, because it is so much more affortable.
MP: A lot of guys focus on the PWA Tour- you seem to have taken your own path and done your own thing- You have great sponsors what is your secret?
PG: My secret is probably, that I don’t focus on competition like everybody else. I started to get into photography and filming, building my own water-housings. That way me and my team can produce our own stories independently. Then of course you need good stories, that are different. The windsurfingmags don’t need another Hippiwindsurfingstory. Because of that I went to Iran, sailed with blind people and started a charity program in South Africa called: „Sailing with townshipkids“. A good and long relationship to the magazines and these kind of stories help to make sponsors happy. Of course I try hard to keep my windsurfing level up as well, but I realized that this is only essential and doesn’t give you the right to lean back. You got to keep working in all directions.
MP: Do you have a desire to compete in any of the PWA Events?
PG: I used to, but that time it was almost impossible to enter and I had to do all these trials. Nowadays….no, rather sail in good conditions …don’t want to wait for wind no more.
MP: What are you favorite moves?
PG: Any move I had been trying for a long time. When I finally succeed, that is for sure the favorite move of the moment.
MP: Do you have any windsurfing heroes that you look up to?
PG: Not really. I would say all the sailors that stayed friendly and respectfull.
MP: If you could change anything in the sport, what would it be?
PG: I would make it affortable for everybody to give everybody the chance to enjoy it.
MP: Words to live by?
PG: Be nice and it will eventually come back to you
MP: Thanks for your time- look forward to seeing you on the water! Keep ripping…