Christos from Zakel Windsurfing
caught up with John Skye to get a short
insight into the gear he uses and what moves
he’s currently working on:
Firstly, what kit were you using at this year’s PWA events?
Obviously it depends on the event and the conditions. This year for Pozo I had an RRD 75 Wave Cult Quad and that was all I used. For Tenerife I had everything! I mainly used the RRD 83 Wave Cult Contest in the really light wind heats with 5.2. I used my old favourite, the RRD Wave Twin 82 with 5.0 and 4.7. Then when the wind picked up a bit more I had the RRD 75 Wave Cult. In Tenerife I actually used the Wave Cults as twin fins, as there was a lot of weed and everything felt sticky! For the Autumn events, I will most likely use the Wave Cults again, although if we ever have down-the-line conditions I always have the Hardcore Contest 84 ready to go. For almost the whole year I have been using the new RRD Four sails. They are working really nice so I am really happy. I have a 5.2 Super Style if it is really junky, onshore conditions, but otherwise I always use the Four.
How many custom boards do you order per year?
Normally not too many. This year I ordered a slightly smaller Wave Cult Custom for Pozo. It’s more or less the same but with a bit more double concave to help keep it attached to the water. I also have an extra large version of the 84 Hardcore to use in light wind riding events like Cape Verde. It was 91 litres and worked so well that I think they have put it in production for this year!
Honestly, how many boards do you break per year?
This year I have not broken any. I think now the boards are getting so much better, that you really have to land badly to break them.
Are quads the way to go or is there still room for tri/twin/single fins?
I have been using the Wave Cult Quads as both quad and twin fins. Generally the quad setup gives more control as it sticks the board to the water better, however in really light conditions, I prefer the feeling of a twin. It is a lot more lively, and has a loose skatey feel - perfect for the South coast!
What are the pros & cons of quads?
Pros: more grip, more drive, better upwind. For me its like all the advantages of a twin in terms of looseness and nice skatey feeling, but with more drive and grip. Cons: Not sure that there are many, but as I said in really light onshore, the extra fins stiffen the board slightly and maybe also add a tiny bit of drag.
What kind of fins do you use at your quads?
I have generally gone a little smaller than recommended with the fins. For example in the 84 Hardcore, I put 300 fins in instead of the 350. - same with the 83 Wave Cult. For the 75 Wave Cult I use the 300s except in Pozo where I put 250s in to loosen it up.
Where did you score the best surf this year?
Morocco was actually really good. We run a Wave Camp there each year in May. This year we scored some amazing conditions. The best thing was that it was at the end of the week and all the clients were really happy and really tired, so we actually had some time to enjoy the conditions for ourselves!
Give us the 4 best wave-riding destinations around the globe per season.
Spring - Maui
Summer - Canaries
Autumn - UK/Europe
Winter - South Africa
Which do you prefer, port or starboard tack?
I used to much prefer starboard tack, but now I would say I am probably slightly better on Port. To be honest I really don’t mind now - I am pretty much equal both sides. I still prefer to ride with wind from the right, as it’s my natural surfing stance. I do wish we had a tour that really tested sailing on both tacks, it would certainly change a few of the ranking positions!
Which jump do you consider to be the most technical?
For me at the moment the push loop forward. It’s really hard both technically - to stop a rotation and change its direction - and also very hard mentally. I have been trying it for a long time now, with not much success.
Who is the most stylish rider at the moment?
In proper down the line, Levi Siver has always been one of my favourite guys to watch. Personally I think his style is the best. In onshore, Philip Koster is ripping and I think the world took note after his performance in Tenerife. Thomas Traversa is also amazing to watch in any conditions – he is highly underrated and has one of the smoothest styles out of everyone. Also watch out for Camille Juban - he is young and sailing so well. Lastly, is actually Nayra - her front side port tack onshore riding is as good as anyone’s, especially in terms of simple powerful smacks!
Interview by: Zakel Windsurfing: http://www.zakel.ws
Photos: RRD / John Carter