It seemed to be the perfect match. Graham Ezzy and Quatro, both Hawaiian based, both really into wave sailing. But, after 8 years of collaboration it wasn’t perfect anymore and Graham Ezzy joined the European based company Tabou and is looking forward to the collaboration. After his comeback to the PWA tour last year and some ups and downs, Graham is still hungry to do the full tour. We hooked up with Graham to speak about his new boards, about competing and the future.

Read the interview below.

Graham Ezzy brings Hawaii to Europe

Graham Ezzy brings Hawaii to Europe


Continentseven: Hi Graham. How are you doing? You have big news to announce. You left Quatro and go to Tabou. How did that come about?
Graham Ezzy: I’m good– busy. Yep, Tabou for 2015. After a few months of back and forth between me and the team manager Matt Pritchard, we managed to find a deal that works for both of us. 


Continentseven: Did you leave Quatro or did Quatro not renew the contract for 2015?
Graham Ezzy: Both. We could have continued working together, but the kind of partnership I wanted was not one that Quatro wanted. In the last years with Quatro, my boards were more based on what worked for Levi rather than what I wanted. 


Continentseven: It seems it was a perfect fit. You and of course Ezzy Sails and Quatro, all Hawaiian-based. But it was not perfect anymore?
Graham Ezzy: Tabou is more perfect for me. I’m not just sailing Hookipa anymore. With the World Tour, I need boards for Europe. During Thomas Traversa’s world title party, Fabien (the shaper/part-owner for Tabou) talked with me, giving advice on how to shape boards for the onshore spots that make the PWA world tour. And now that we work together, Fabien is excited to help me do well on the tour and to make shapes that improve my riding. I’m pretty happy to have Fabien’s support and attention. 


Continentseven: Was it time for a change?
Graham Ezzy: Board development used to be a bigger part of my windsurfing life. I worked with Quatro for 8 years. The first few of those years were really good, but the excitement had faded. Fabien is motivated to make boards with me, and his motivation inspires me on the water. 


Continentseven: You returned on the PWA tour in 2014. You had happy and not happy moments, thinking on the conflict on Tenerife because of the trials. If you look back on all events, was it a good year for you? 
Graham Ezzy: Why look back? I’m looking forward. I learned a hell of a lot during 2014 about competing, and I will take those lessons with me into 2015. For example, I’m quite passionate, and that passion can get in the way of results. During the Aloha Classic, I cared less but did better. The guys that consistently do well like Victor and KP are all pretty mellow on the beach. It is a bit zen: caring without caring. 


Graham Ezzy during the PWA World Cup on Sylt - Pic: PWA/John Carter

Graham Ezzy during the PWA World Cup on Sylt – Pic: PWA/John Carter


Continentseven: Ok, 2014, let’s call it „PWA training year“. What is your goal for 2015 on the tour?
Graham Ezzy: I just want to win some heats. My goal is to do better than I did last year. Of course I want podiums, but those are won heat by heat, so it does not make sense to think farther ahead then that first heat in Pozo. In the last 2 years, I’ve beaten all of the current top 7 (except for Thomas, but we haven’t sailed against each other) in a heat somewhere, so I guess that means I have the level to do well. My confidence fluctuates so much– from absolutely zero to the top of Mt. Everest. World titles are made of heats. I’m focusing on sailing the best heats I can. 


Continentseven: How important is winning for you?
Graham Ezzy: Winning is nice, of course. I’ve noticed that people are friendlier to me when I win. For so much of my life, I had time to waste. I was the youngest guy on the PWA wave tour and the youngest person in my grade at school, so I felt like I had so much time left to do the things I wanted to do. But since I turned 25 last October, I have the feeling that either I go for a PWA world title now, or never. I’m committed to the goal of winning–which means training port-tack and developing equipment– but if I don’t win a windsurfing world title, that’s ok too. Going for a win is pretty selfish– the commitment needed allows little room for anything or anyone else. I’m quite a selfish person, so it fits. But more important in my life is leaving an impact on the world. Maybe that means making a good film or writing a book that touches people. Or maybe that means growing one of the charities with which I’m currently involved. 

Today in Hamburg, an African refugee whom Mon Coeur helps was offered a job in a restaurant. He has a work permit but no sense of European society. He didn’t understand the concept of a dress code for work. He doesn’t own black trousers– just blue jeans, and to him those should have been good enough, but the restaurant firmly said that he needed black trousers. To him, it should have made no difference what color trousers someone wears working in the kitchen where no one can see him. I was listening to the explanation of the European idea of work uniform and that he had to buy new trousers, and I felt sad for some reason. I don’t have a problem with uniforms, but in that moment the difference between blue jeans and black jeans seemed pointless and so did winning a PWA world title. But what’s wrong with pointless? 


Graham Ezzy - Pic: PWA/John Carter

Graham Ezzy – Pic: PWA/John Carter


Continentseven: You are known as one of the most radical riders at Ho’okipa. Will we see the same presence of you at Ho’okipa or will you spend more time in Europe testing gear and competing?
Graham Ezzy: Hookipa is my home– and will always be my home. The Hawaiian waves are in my blood. When I travel to Europe, Hookipa comes with me in my style and my approach to riding waves. Even though I will spend more time in Europe this year, I will be a Hookipa rider. 


Continentseven: You are in the Tabou wave team with the reigning PWA World Champion and Storm Chase winner Thomas Traversa and Aleix Sanllehy for 2015. What is your function in the team? 
Graham Ezzy: I’m Hawaiian. I’m American. I weigh 85kg. But otherwise, I don’t know where exactly I fit in the team. Time will tell. I plan to develop boards, compete, make films, and travel searching for waves with wind. 


Continentseven: Did you have any closer contact with the German based company Tabou in the past? 
Graham Ezzy: Other than friendships with some of the team and shaper/owner Fabien, no. 


Graham Ezzy and Fabien Vollenweider

Graham Ezzy and Fabien Vollenweider


Continentseven: Quatro is an innovative and experienced brand in terms of wave board development. You were on Quatro shapes for many years. Fabian Vollenweider, the shaper from Tabou is an experienced shaper, too.  What are your first impressions of the whole team and the work? 
Graham Ezzy: Fabien learned shaping from Jimmy Lewis on Maui many years ago. So even though Fabien shapes in Europe, he has a Hawaiian style. This is perfect for me. I travelled to Marseille last week to work with Fabien. We spent two whole days from morning to late at night talking about board designs and developing new shapes for me. I was flattered to be the subject of so much dedication, and I was impressed with his passion for windsurfing. 


Continentseven: Did you test a few boards before you decided to change? What was your first impression?
Graham Ezzy: I had the opportunity to try a few of the prototype shapes before I signed the contract. The biggest first impression: the boards will help me to ride better in onshore conditions. 


Continentseven: Which boards will you use? Will you continue with thruster set-ups in the near future?
Graham Ezzy: Everything Thruster. I like to push hard on my boards, and Thrusters give me the confidence to push as hard as I want. Quads need to be babied. Also, Thrusters seem to go vertical better than Quads. I like vertical. 


Continentseven: What is coming up next for you?
Graham Ezzy: The next couple months are for finishing a bunch of projects still unfinished so that when the World Cup starts, I can focus 100% on the competitions. For example, sitting on hard drives for a year is amazing footage from a trip I did to Madagascar. This needs to become a film. A damn good film.


Continentseven: Thanks for the interview and good luck for 2015!