Karin Jaggi is one of the most impressive ladies on the PWA tour and in windsurfing in general. She has won 28 different worldtitles in her career plus keeps the Worldrecord in speedsailing. She is also one of the few sailors, who did compete in all disciplines and could make it on the podium in all of them: Wave, Freestyle, Slalom, Formula, Racing, Speed. Nowadays with 39 years she is still very active, just could grab the 2010 PWA worldtitle in the Slalom discipline, currently ranked in third in the PWA wave ranking and is running together with her partner Patrik Diethelm the fresh established boardbrand Patrik.
C7: Karin Jaggi is back on the top of the ladies PWA Slalom league. How does it feel? It was your 28th title!
Karin Jaggi: I am really stoked to have won this year! I had a few problems myself – not much time because of building up our new brand – and a tennis elbow that bothered me the whole season. To win under those circumstances makes me really happy!
C7: It looked like Valerie is still the only real opponent out there on the race course. The young girls, like Sarah-Quita Offringa and Alice Arutkin are pushing hard, but they are still in distance. Is that right or did you feel real pressure from anybody else than Valerie Arrighetti?
Karin Jaggi: Overall it’s true that Valerie is the only one to watch out – but that is not the real picture. I had a few semi-finals this year that I really had to fight to make it into the final! There are a number of girls that could win a contest. Sarah-Quita and Alice are definitely two of them. But I could also see Fanny Aubert quite a few times in front of me… All they lack is a bit consistency. In terms of consistency Valerie is really unbeatable.
C7: You did all events, Valerie missed one. It paid off in the end! Looks like you are the most professional Slalom sailor on tour still?
Karin Jaggi: Valerie missed an event due to personal reasons. That can always happen. I nearly missed the last one due to being sick! That’s why it was great that we finally had enough events to discard one. But naturally, when it gets close then every single race you sail counts. That’s a lesson I learned very early in my career from a good friend. The race is not over till the finish line – even if you are in last position you don’t give up and go home – because you never know – by the end it might be the discarded result that breaks a tie in your favor.
C7: What did you change in 2010 compared to the previous year?
Karin Jaggi: The biggest change was my equipment. Same sail sponsor, same board shaper – but both teams have put in an enormous effort to develop and improve their equipment – mainly by giving it more range and make it user friendly.
C7: Did you train harder or has the gear improved that much?
Karin Jaggi: I did train quite a bit over the winter in Australia – testing and racing on the sails and boards, but then the elbow problem started and my training was very limited during the season. Therefore I think the gear played a huge part for my success. It’s simply easier to use, better handling, much more range. So basically you are never on the wrong equipment – that makes racing so much easier.
C7: Who is your testing and trainings partner?
Karin Jaggi: Steve Allen really helped me rigging up my sails right. Otherwise I mainly train and test with Patrik Diethelm. It’s a great advantage to have a faster and very technical guy as a training partner.
C7: How much gear did you use while the 4 Slalom events (boards, sails)?
Karin Jaggi: I used 3 sails and 3 boards in total. Most races I did on my biggest equipment (110 Litre board and 7.8m2 sail) and only once I could take out my 6.2 and 87-litre board. That was the last race of the season – the long-distance one over the whole bay of Almanarre in 25knots plus wind – a great way to finish the season – especially as I lead the fleet from the start to the finish line…. 😉
C7: Your biggest registered sail size was 7,8 in this season. Was it big enough?
Karin Jaggi: I always thought so! Reality is that when we race with the men together it’s plenty big enough. I get planning very early on that sail and by then it’s not yet possible to have a fair competition for the men on their 10 m sails as they hinder each other in the jibe when 10x10m2 simply block all wind. But in Almanarre we raced some heats in very marginal conditions – where I had a hard time to get planning after the jibe again. Just the problem was also, that it was very gusty. There were some holes around the course. Also Sarah-Quita on her 8.4 struggled to move. And it was the day I sailed with fever – so all in all it’s hard to say if I would have really needed something bigger. Generally I believe that the 7.8 is big enough for me – a 60kg-racer.
C7: Were the new Reflex sail from Severne a big progress?
Karin Jaggi: Massive. I already liked the CodeRed last year, but the range was a bit confusing for me – one sail was very soft the next size just 0.2m2 bigger stiff and powerful again… This year Severne really did a great job on the Reflex. The range is simply perfect for me. I use much less sails (there are less sizes) – also because now they have such a big range of use. In fact I probably could just go with 3 sizes: 5.1 / 6.2 / 7.8
C7: The ladies events in the Slalom discipline did not really see any events in strong wind conditions like you see it at Sotavento. Would you ike to see any strong wind Slaloms on the ladies tour?
Karin Jaggi: I personally love strong wind events – when it’s not only about starting, tactics and light wind technic, but skills like control and risk are part of the game. The last heat in Almanarre was a taste of high wind racing – it really had fun!
C7: Would you like to see more than 4 events or is that a fine amount? Or would you prefer to see ladies only events?
Karin Jaggi: I think 4 solid events including one all-female competition is a great tour. Not that I don’t want to add 1-2, but we do have a solid tour, with great tour stops and good organizations. As I compete in other disciplines as well. I really hope that we/the PWA can manage to get that level of tour in all disciplines first, before adding more slalom events.
The all-women event in Almanarre was great! And I really hope we will have it again. It’s a great opportunity for newcomers to join and to be a bit in the spotlight and therefore start a career in windsurfing. And it’s great fun to compete with girls only! But I don’t mind at all the mixed events and think for most events it’s also a good challenge for the women fleet to survive next to the men. But ending the season with one all-women event was really perfect.
C7: The Slalom discipline is a growing one, also in the ladies category. 37 ladies are in the 2010 ranking! In all other disciplines the ladies fleets are shrinking! Do you expect to see Slalom races at events like Sylt or Pozo instead of the currently running disciplines!
Karin Jaggi: I hope not. For me every discipline has a perfect place and day. Therefore I still do all of them. Why be bored when it’s flat water and you only want to train in waves – or vice versa, when it’s too stormy and onshore in Sylt? I loved to race Slalom in Sylt and Gran Canaria, but with today’s equipment restrictions (only production boards) and the background that the women fleet is hardly not sponsored at all not even with equipment those places are not that good for women slalom anymore. In Pozo even the 100kg guys are struggling to hold their gear on the water and on Sylt half the fleet gets washed in the shore break – a fact that simply would financially ruin half of the women fleet, if it would happen to them.
The women fleet in the other disciplines is exactly shrinking, because there are already not enough wave and freestyle events. Would you train a whole year, invest all money you have or even borrow some to just be able to compete in one world cup? There are a handful of girls – but for everybody else it’s too hard. If there would be 4 freestyle events per year the fleet would definitely look different. On that we have to work.
C7: The year was for sure a hard one for you. You competed in all events and you were also working hard on your board brand Patrik together with your partner Patrik Diethelm. How could you handle this additional challenge?
Karin Jaggi: It really was a tough one. We got this saying that you grow with the challenge. That is certainly true. There were so many nights we simply worked through or stayed on the phone for hours. So many events I did not had a day of warm-up on the water before. Plus had so many new things to learn this year. But somehow when you think you really can’t handle it anymore – it suddenly turns out all ok. Patrik and me are quite different personalities – I think that’s our team success… But we are both really passionate and dedicated to what we do in life.
C7: Do you see any positive impact in selling Patrik boards because of your great results?
Karin Jaggi: I like to think so. Even though the biggest part of the industry would not support the idea that women actually do help selling boards. I personally believe the opposite. One day – when we are big and strong – I want to proof them they are wrong and show them that sponsoring women is a great business opportunity. 😉 It’s a little while away though but we are working hard towards it.
C7: There is still the chance, that you win the wave title as well. You finished in 3rd position at Pozo this season. Do you see any chance?
Karin Jaggi: There is always a chance – and like I said before the race is only finished after the finish line. But to be realistic: Daida is very strong in jumps and Iballa a great wave rider. So it all depends on the conditions we will score, the day performance of each of us and the little bit of luck you need in the contest. I hope it will be a windy year again on Sylt – just so that I get a lot of sailing in that week. Conditions up there can be really challenging and year after year I am really looking forward to that. In it’s own way Sylt is the most challenging contest on the tour!
C7: Will you keep on going for another season on the PWA tour in 2011 or will you stop your career before turning into 40 in 2011?
Karin Jaggi: I honestly never could have imagined to do this for so long. And today it’s very hard to imagine to give it up. It’s not only the sport, it’s about the events, the long term friends on tour and at every spot, the challenge and adrenaline of the competition itself, the fact that you still can learn something new at every event,… If I will retire? Definitely not. Maybe do a bit less contests, choose a bit the spots, travel not only because of the contest but also due to business reasons. Stop life on the fast track? Never!
C7: If you will continue, when will you start to prepare for the 2011 Slalom season? There are rumours that we could see an event in Vietnam early in the season.
Karin Jaggi: 2 days after Sylt I will fly to Western Australia – to go windsurfing! And work on our house that still is under constructions because we wanted to finish it ourselves. I know there are already a few prototype sails and boards ready for me to test in Perth. So for sure by beginning of 2011 doing some early contests could work out just fine. There is already the Lancelin Ocean Race that is a definite for me in the second weekend of January every year…
Thanks for the interview!
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