Phil Horrocks is without a doubt one of the UK’s best wavesailors. If you met him on the land though, you would never know. He is friendly, modest and quiet spoken. He definitely prefers to let his sailing do the talking!
Boardseeker caught up with Phil to ask him some questions that are slightly different from the norm...
When did you start to consider yourself a pro windsurfer?
Never, really. I was just someone who started doing it more and more. Eventually I was windsurﬁng more than working. I’ve never stopped working completely though – I have always done something alongside the windsurﬁng. You have so much down time that it’s a waste if you don’t do something else.
What one piece of advice would you give to the aspiring grommet?
Make the most of the time you have. Don’t expect to get rich from it, but use the time to travel as much as possible and subsidise your lifestyle. If you can, have some sort of plan for later on - it’ll make the transition back to ‘normal life’ easier!
What has been your biggest breakthrough in terms of windsurﬁng?
Having the conﬁdence to really go for things - seeing a big wave and not chickening out! But to really go for it, pushing not only your technical ability but testing the boundaries of fear and overcoming them.
If you were to rate your ability between 1 and 10 where 10 is the best windsurfer in the world, where would you put yourself?
With windsurfing, it’s a hard one - if you go off rankings, I may well be top 15 this year, but in the grand scheme of things a world cup ranking means nothing! There are sailors well below that who are better than me, likewise some above who I believe I’m better than! I like to think that when things are all ticking, I’m sailing at 100% and everything comes off then I’m number 1! Sadly that doesn’t happen all too often.
Who do you think is the best wave-sailor in the world?
Koster in the air for sure! On the waves it’s tougher - probably Kauli’s carving, Brawzi’s wave stunts and I think Traversa for when it’s light and junky,
Do you still get scared when it gets big?
Sure I do! Just the more experienced you get, the deﬁnition of big just changes. Big used to be head high, that went to logo and then before you know it big becomes mast and half!
Do you think it helps you to go for it in bigger waves knowing that you don’t have to foot the bill if you break everything?
Ultimately you do still foot the bill if it goes wrong! A lot of brands give you gear knowing that you sell it at the end of the year and count it as part of your salary. So, every time you bust something you do pay. If it was free and I had unlimited supply then it would help to go for it. You only have to look at how much gear gets trashed in Cabo Verde events to know that! The boys with bags of money and top contracts charge hard and go on the rocks for fun. Some of us have to
take it a bit easier and it shows!
What keeps you trying moves that you can’t do?
It pisses me off if I can’t do something! And I don’t like being pissed off!
How much money do you earn a year?
My windsurﬁng has a zero balance! I spend everything I get from the sport on going windsurﬁng. So, if windsurﬁng doesn’t pay for it I don’t do it. I always keep my other jobs separate - they pay for where I live, the food I eat, and the bills.
Do you have to pay for any of your kit?
The ﬁrst five years or so I was given “cheap” deals. £600+ a board was still a tough pill to swallow. I’ve worked at it hard over the years and right now I don’t have to buy it, which is how it totally should be if you think you’re promoting someone else's product. I’m sure Lewis Hamilton doesn't have to buy his Mercedes!
What is the most valuable thing you own?
My health, my family, my woman.
Do you ever wish you could work in an office?
Do you ﬁnd that your lifestyle interferes with personal relationships?
Ha! It places certain strains on relationships - that goes without saying, I’m sure anyone ﬁnds it difficult to be abandoned for months on end while their partners are off living the dream on the other side of the world. It just makes it extra special and worthwhile if you can come out the other side of it with it all in tact.
How many windsurf boards do you have in your possession right now?
I have a few: some older 2010 and 2011 boards. But my favourites are my new 2012s. I probably have 10 in total and 4 wind SUPs - most of which are for sale!
Which is your favourite one right now?
The JP 74 Twinser Quad is the best board out there. I worked on the development of that for a few years and what we ended up with is a great all round board. I’m proud to think there’s a bit of me in there somewhere.
Would you rather be free-sailing or competing?
Free-sailing any day.
How many waves do you think you ride a year?
Over 1000 I would guess - I’ll miss everyone of them when its gone..
What are you going to do when you can’t windsurf in competitions anymore?
Windsurf for fun! Go where I want when I want. I’ll still try to kick peoples’ asses on the water though - the only judges will be those of us out on the water though. How nice!
Phil Horrocks is sponsored by:
- JP Australia
- Gaastra Sails
- Plasma Boardwear
- The Mailing Room
- Pure Blue Water
Photos: John Carter / Jay Haysey (globalshots.co.uk)