Graham and Andi somewhere at Madagascar
Continentseven: Kevin Pritchard is a teammate of you and he collaborates with Johannes Neumann. How much helps that in terms of video productions?
Graham Ezzy: It is a huge help to work with Johannes! I think the biggest advantage is that he has a very different aesthetic to me. Neumann’s style is a bit flashier with FX than my naked style and I think this helps make the clips flashier and more stylish. I like having this contrast. Exploring a snappier style helps me as a filmmaker.
Continentseven: Do you have any new plans for new projects in the near future? Did you write any scripts?
Graham Ezzy: Too many plans! I have an outline for a feature length windsurfing film, and I have many scripts written for short films that have nothing to do with windsurfing. I’m looking to produce some of these in South Africa. Also, there are 3 more travel films yet to be released: California, Baja, and Madagascar.
Continentseven: How is it to have the own father as the sail designer behind you? Is that a great support and do you exactly get what you want?
Graham Ezzy: I am incredibly proud of my father and his achievements in windsurfing. Though at first, I felt shadowed by his name. People would introduce me as “Graham Ezzy” and get no response until they added “son of David Ezzy.” My own identity was so tied up in my father’s that I felt small. But what a sillly way to feel! His name is my name. Now, I completely embrace being part of his legacy and being his link to the future. Though, it can be hard for me because people assume that I’ve been given a lot in windsurfing, rather than earned it. Yeah, I was incredibly lucky to grow up on Maui and with a garage of gear. But if you know my father, you know that he is not one to spoil his kid. In fact, he never bought me a piece of windsurfing gear, ever.
Before I was sponsored, all my boards were what I could find thrown under the house. These were thrown-out polyester boards from the early 90s. And anyone who remembers those pre-epoxy boards knows how easily they break. So, from 10 years old to 13 years old, I would ride these old polyester boards, and every few months I’d snap it in half on a jump. This meant that I had to swim in. I have a lot of experience swimming in with broken gear. Hahahah. And when I broke all the small boards under the house I went to other older windsurfers houses and picked through their old boards. Never has my dad ever spoken to a sponsor on my behalf—not even when I was under 18. But given all that, I’ve been really lucky to have not just material support but also moral support in the windsurfing career path.
In the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to work on sail development with my father. Not only is it cool to explore a passion with my father, but it also feels amazing to have an idea about something on a sail and then see that idea become a physical sail that people can buy anywhere in the world. The Elite is the best example of this. Especially the calibrated rigging system. So cool to see the creation of a product from an idea.
Continentseven: Do you actually use the 4 batten Ezzy Elite most?
Graham Ezzy: The Ezzy Elite is my go-to wavesail. I also sail the prototypes. My father always has something new to test. Sometimes the new sails feel better than the production sail and the new changes go into production, and some prototypes feel worse, ending up in the shed. My dad likes to say that you learn a lot more from a bad sail than a good sail.
I also use the Ezzy Legacy sails sometimes, especially when I’m teaching people to windsurf. Last summer, Ezzy, Chinook, and Fanatic sponsored a project I designed in Montauk, NY to get more people into windsurfing. Napegue Harbour is one of the best locations to learn windsurfing that I have ever seen and it is only a couple hours from New York City. On weekends and for free, I gave lessons to about 20 people who had never tried windsurfing. By the end of the summer, a few of the pupils were able to jibe and tack. Watch a clip from the Elite
Continentseven: Is it the best sail you ever had in your hands?
Graham Ezzy: Yes! I love my Elites. However, there is a super-not-so-secret Ezzy prototype that I am also madly in love with right now.
Continentseven: What sizes are you on most?
Graham Ezzy: 5.0 and 4.7 seem to be my go-to sizes. I almost never ride bigger than 5.0.
Continentseven: Do you test sails from other brands, too to get new ideas?
Graham Ezzy: I try to test most of the new gear from other brands, but there aren’t very many new ideas out there. Most brands shape their sails according to the same principles. Within those principles, there are variations like more or less luff curve etc, but the basic philosophy is all the same. However, our sails come from a pretty different design philosophy than all other brands.
Continentseven: You are one of 5 Quatro team riders. Is that something it needs to be competitive in waves with the world’s best riders?
Graham Ezzy: Keith makes amazing boards. And for down-the-line wave riding they have one of the best teams in the world. But because everyone is so good, I don’t get the attention that I would get at a brand with fewer top wave riders. But the boards make it worth it.
Continentseven: Are you using Quads, Trusters, Twins or Single most and what’s the most used volume you go for?
Graham Ezzy: Definitely thrusters. All of my boards are thrusters and my whole set-up is streamlined this way. I use my signature Ezzy Asymmetric fin from K4 (10cm) on the sides to help get extra speed and drive in my turns and a 16cm or 17cm back fin (K4 Flex) depending on wave size – bigger waves equals bigger fins. Most of my boards are around 83 Liters. This covers me for all free sailing. For competitions I have a couple 95L boards for when the wind gets light.
Continentseven: Any wishes for 2014?
Graham Ezzy: Wind for everyone!
And don’t forget to check out Graham’s twitter account and his instagram updates
Now click through a selection of great shots of Graham Ezzy: