Whilst on a brief 48 hour stop in Gran Canaria we not only managed to score a decent session on the water in Pozo but we also caught up with one of today’s most stylish wave sailors and the pro that lives closest to the beach out of anyone, Alessio Stillrich. We decided to swing by to see how life is as a rising star in the windsurfing world.
Our first impression above all else, before we had even stepped inside, was that of how incredibly close this guy lives to the main break of Pozo. If they were to extend the beach ramps the same length again it would lead almost directly into his apartment. No more than 100m from the spot, the only thing that slows Stillrich’s daily commute to the office is the fact that his kit storage is under one of just a few houses that stop his apartment from being front row. But second row is not all that bad for the youngster, who has an uninterrupted view of the entire break.
Speaking with Alessio we soon learned that this hasn’t been home all his life: “yeah I used to live 15 minutes further to the South, the spots are not really working quite as well there and so on the weekend my Mum was always bringing me to the beach but on weekdays she had to work so I would get a Bus to the top of the email road here and then a quick taxi down. Of course I kept my kit here but I was pretty happy the day I passed my driving test, even more so now that I have moved here”.
“It was always my dream to compete on the World Tour, since the day I can remember I wanted to windsurf with the pros. I know I’m super lucky now to live where I am, to have such a supportive Mum and also to be a part of the Fanatic/North team.”
As we finish our walk up the two flights of stairs to his flat, Alessio opens the door and his dog charges at us: “haha, this is my new Husky, my girlfriend was asking about a dog and I told her that I would only have one if it was a Husky, a couple days later she turned up with this little bouncy ball. He literally pees everywhere though”. And as if he was listening to us he disappears off for a moment and comes bouncing back, we see Alessio walk by and come back telling him off and putting him in the litter tray – “you need to teach this guy to fetch your harness and wetsuit before you go on the water” we tell him. “Hahaha this would be so good, and what about the rest, the sail, the mast and extension. How cool would this be” Alessio responds.
So how long have you lived here in this apartment? “A little over a year now, it’s super nice to be able to check the spot so easy, I get so much more water time and will be out there on the pushing and falling tide everyday it’s windy”. This works out as about 4 hours sailing a day, he later told us that sometime he does a bit more but usually keeps it to 4 hours so that he can sail at a high intensity day in day out. “Otherwise I’m too tired, rest is also important and if I push too hard I feel it the next couple of days”. He goes on to tell us, “When I used to be here all year round I could easily go over 200 days on the water and that was without moving too far from Pozo, conditions are good and we get plenty of time to train“.
After a few pictures we head down to the kit storage, noting how it is en-route to the beach. “Yeah it’s nice to have the gear ready to go, again it helps me score more time on the water when conditions are good. During the summer I have rigged and ready the; 3.0, 3.4, 3.7, 4.0 and my custom 78l, quad 81 and 76 and the stubby 77. Also my side-off custom 84 for side offshore days at Mosca Point or wherever.” So all Alessio has to do is throw on a wetsuit, slap on a harness and cruise on down the ramp, lifes not too bad right now.
But we notice something in the back of his board storage, “are you moving to F2?”, “Haha no way, this is just my Mum’s board, she keeps her stuff here as well. It’s cool, she sails almost everyday. She is keen to go for a forward loop, so maybe that is the mission this summer, let’s see” he states. “And what is that?” as we notice a kind of red/orange sail. “Hey hey, no photos, haha, no that’s the new sail, I use it at the moment when there aren’t too many people around. We changed a few things, the colours are different and I have to say it’s working super nice. Very stable and lots of power through the turn, it almost accelerates me back to the wave when I’m riding here in these side-on conditions. I wish I could use it more already”.
As Alessio slaps on his harness we wish him a fun session and stand on the sidelines as he launches well above anyone else that day. This guy certainly knows how to fly.
Lifestyle Shots: Adam Sims/Boardseeker.com
Action Shots: Markus Rydberg