Phil Soltysiak announced his retirement from the PWA tour in spring 2019 after 12 years of competing on the PWA tour. If you missed the interview we did back then this is the link to the interview: Interview – Phil’s retirement.

Now, a few months and a whole PWA season (without Phil) later, we again caught up with the Canadian to speak about his new life at Hood River, his actual home base. 

Phil’s perfect view from their deck to one of the river spots – it’s hard to miss the wind

Continentseven: How are you doing and how do you love your new life in Hood River?

Phil Soltysiak: I’m loving life in Hood River! This is North America’s windsurfing capital, windsurfers from North America flock to Hood River in the summer months. They often drive from as far as Florida, New York and Quebec. This often means 4 or 5 days on the road just to get here. I use to do that too, but now I’m spoiled and can see the river and people windsurfing and kitesurfing from the kitchen window! Between November and March it’s still possible to windsurf, but it gets pretty cold. You can drive out to the Oregon Coast where it’s a bit warmer to windsurf and surf. However Mt. Hood is only a 40 minute drive from home, so I do quite a bit of skiing and plan some winter windsurfing getaways to warmer places.

A Pushloop at Arlington on a perfect day – it’s a one hour drive from Phil’s base at Hood River (Photo by Tony Logosz)

Continentseven: How does a working day of Phil look like?

Phil Soltysiak: It depends a lot on the day, but here is a general summer day schedule. In the summer we are more busy, so a perfect work day is: wake up at 5am – depending on weather either work out in the garage, mountain bike at Post Canyon, or windsurf at The Event Site or the Hatchery. Walk to the Sail Works loft at 8am.

Off work at 4:30pm – Windsurfs wherever the wind is good, normally about a 1.5hour session, if there is no wind I’ll go mountain bike, play tennis or whatever other activity the weather calls for. Go home, grill on the deck, enjoy the sunset, or go for some live music in town at “The Ruins” if it’s a Tuesday. 9pm – go to sleep!

Depending on the season that day changes, but I do often start with an early morning workout/sport and do the same after work. I’m definitely an early riser, but I am easily ready for bed by 9pm. I definitely need a minimum 8 hours of sleep.

Phil on a hike in the Gorge

Continentseven: Do you still follow your freestyle friends on tour? Did you watch the live streams from the events?

Phil: Yes! Definitely! I’m a windsurfing fan! I like to watch video clips on Continentseven and follow the PWA live stream and contest results. It was a very exciting year in freestyle! I also follow the slalom and wave tours, they’ve also had some great contests. I followed the Toronto Raptors NBA team this spring as well.

Continentseven: Do you miss your competition life? 

Phil: I don’t miss life with competitions because I am still competing a lot! I won the US Freestyle Nationals in Hatteras, I raced in the slalom and long distance there. I also won the Gorge Cup Race Series and raced at the Maui Slalom Series and Maui US Slalom Nationals. I also competed on the IWT at the Pistol River Wave Bash. It was a busy and successful year so far. However, I do enjoy being able to windsurf from home in Hood River mostly rather than living out of a suitcase and board bag most of the year. I did the nomadic beach bum pro windsurfer life for over 12 years and I do enjoy the shift towards a more stable life. 

Continentseven: Congrats, so you are still pretty busy competition wise. How often do you make it on the water besides your work for Sailworks? 

Phil: Yes, I get to windsurf a lot. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living in Hood River. I never imagined I could call a town as cool as this home. Between April and November I easily windsurf just as much as when I was competing, and during the winter months I windsurf less. 

Phil enjoys stand-up paddling on the Columbia River on a calm morning (Photo: Samuel D Pyke and Explore the Dalles)

Continentseven: Are you traveling as much as planned?

Phil: Yes I’m traveling as much as planned. Luckily my work for Sailworks keeps me very flexible. Having Bruce Peterson who now windfoils nearly every day as the head of the company makes chasing wind and windsurfing trips a part of the work culture. 

Continentseven: How does a perfect windsurfing session look like for you?

Phil: A perfect windsurfing session isn’t only about the spot, conditions and who you’re out windsurfing with. I have the most fun windsurfing when I can enter a state of flow during my session, when I feel connected with my equipment, with the conditions, I am completely focused and having a great time. However the spot, conditions and people you are out with are all important factors in finding that flow.

Continentseven: Thanks for the update and enjoy the winter time!

Just another beautiful summer “working” day in the Gorge at Rowena, sharing the fun together with girlfriend Kelsey (Photo: Samuel D Pyke and Explore the Dalles).

Phil spocks with a lot of flow (Photo by Bob Stawicki)

Phil’s dad is stoked after a windsurfing session at Columbia River

Phil freeriding on Mt. Hood

Kelsey learns how to travel with a windsurfing pro

©continentseven 2019