In the last years, the Bonaire local Taty Frans (NB-9) always was seen at the PWA Slalom events. He as well stood out with good results and spectacular jumping pictures. Why Taty did not show up at any of the 2009 PWA Slalom events so far and why he sailed from Bonaire to Curacao he will tell in this interview.
C7: Taty, we missed you at the this year´s PWA Slalom events. Why didn´t you attend the events?
Taty: I am really into freestyle and I put my Slalom gear in the garage. I only grab it for selected events, like the island crossing or Slalom races on Curacao, Aruba or now Isla Margarita.
C7: You changed this season back to your former sailsponsor Maui Sails. Does the Mauisails crew see you as a full freestyle sailor only?
Taty: Yes, I put all my slalom boards back in the garage and now I do fully freestyle training with Tonky and Kiri. And my Mauisails support is on Freestyle and I am happy about this. But from time to time I still go out to do a bit slalom sailing. I have just received two Tr5. So maybe in 2010 I can get back on the PWA Slalom discipline again as well.
C7: You just set a new record with 2 hrs and 14 min windsurfing from Bonaire to Curacao. What was your motivation for this crossing?
Taty: First of all I want to say that I am very happy to have broken the record this year and we have done this race to raise money for Erwin Muller´s health and care costs. Erwin and his wife were happy that I made this for him and I really hope that Erwin will recover, that he can return back home.
N.B.: Erwin Muller is a former windsurf hero on Bonaire, who suffered a serious stroke in January. He is recuperating in Curacao and has a long rehabilitation ahead.
C7: Did you leave North Sails, because your contract got worse or did you feel, that Maui Sails are the much better choice for yourself?
Taty: I have signed a two year contract with North Sails. So my decision wasn’t based on having a bad contract but I felt, that the sails were not working for me. So, during the PWA event in Sylt 2008, Phil McGain came to me and said: We want you back on the team and at that moment I realized that they know better and they know what’s the best for me and even Tonky and Kiri told me: Yes, you should go back to Mauisails, because we both know that you can do better with Mauisails. I also believe that I can do better with Mauisails and the Loco freestyle sails are based on my ideas and together with Phil, Barry and Art we create good sails. I really feel great and very good to be back on Mauisails. The sails are amazing and all I can do now is smile.
C7: There are many discussions about the Freestyle discipline (format, judging, etc.). Is freestyle windsurfing getting less popular or attractive, the higher the level rises or has the sport still the same fascination?
Taty: In the Carribean the level is getting higher by each day. Freestyle is what it is: FREESTYLE. So, whatever you think is possible, you can make on the water with your windsurf gear. Freestyle events are probably less because of the main event organizers, who want to have slalom events. But I don’t believe that freestyle should be taken out of the picture, because it attracts young people and they are the future for windsurfing.
I think freestyle is good to have at places like: Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Podersdorf, Maui, Sylt, Tarifa, Turkey and places where you can come close to the public so that they can cheer and see what’s going on. I also believe that the new format makes it easier for the judges and also you can see, who is winning. But the judges have to be very careful, how they judge. Last year it had been a little confusing, especially in Fuerteventura in heats between Gollito and Brawzinho. But to me the Freestyle and Wave discipline put windsurfing a step higher in X-treme sports.
C7: Did you invent any new moves or combinations, you will show on the PWA tour?
Taty: Combinations are no longer 100% needed in freestyle these days, especially in places like Fuerte and Lanzarote. These are places where airpowerfull move count the most.
C7: Which gear will you use for Freestyle 2009 (boards, sails)?
Taty: I’ll be back with my Mauisails Loco freestyle sails and my Starboard Flare 98 and 88.
C7: How much were you involved in the design and testing process of the actual Starboard Flares?
Taty: Kiri and I had been very much involved in the development of the 2009 Flare. We tested 3 -4 prototypes of each size. We even went to Thailand and then to Vietnam and tested these boards. The 98 and 106 are very good boards.
Out of my view somehow the Flares are sliding better than the most of the current freestyle boards on the market. Kiri and I tested the JP, Tabou, F2 and Fanatic boards. But none of them slides better than the Flares. Even for double moves the Flare works better.
C7: And will you have a lot of influence on the 2010 models as well?
Taty: Kiri and I had some ideas when we were in Maui 2008 for the photoshoot regarding the 2010 boards, because we were already finished with the 2009 Flares since November 2007.
So, we actually told Tiesda and Svenco, the Starboard designteam, to make the boards faster, better in acceleration, better pop, but keeping the same balance, and mix a bit of the Kode in it. So if all is correct, the 2010 boards will be again better then the 2009 models.
C7: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Taty: Top 5 in the PWA Freestyle ranking.
Thanks for the interview and good luck for the first PWA Freestyle event, which will take place on Lanzarote.
Below is a gallery with actual pictures and pictures from the last season of Taty.