From the King of the Lake to PWA Klitmoeller there is one man who has seen it all. He’s been there when the first spocks were landed in competition to the gravity defying attempts at the triple forward. Commentating in five different languages and keeping hundreds of thousands entertained and informed, the PWA wouldn’t be the same without him.
Name: Roberto Hofmann Hometown: I live in Latina, Italy, 50 km south of Rome for 10 years now Homespot: Latina bay. It’s good in all conditions, with some good thermal activity in spring and nice waves in spring, autumn and winter First time you stepped on a windsurfer: It was back in 1983 in Greece, when I was a kid…since then I always knew windsurfing is the best sport in the world Favourite discipline to do: Wave sailing and Slalom Favourite discipline to watch: Wave events in good conditions like Klitmoeller or Cape Verde Favourite rider to watch: Philip Koster while Jumping, Kauli while riding Who motivates you: Everybody that enjoys windsurfing as much as I do!! Ultimate gear setup: For waves; Loft sails Pure Lip 4.7, Aeron carbon boom, Nove Quad 88 lt, for Slalom the Loft Racing Blades are the best you can get
BS: First up, your PWA profile says that you entered your first ever PWA event in 2011 at Fuerteventura, how was it and will we see you at other events in the future?
RH: Yes in recent history, however, my first PWA event was in Sylt, 2011. I had not competed since the end of 2000, when I competed in some freestyle events, when freestyle was very basic. Now I will only enter once in a while for Slalom, which I really like. I had some pretty decent results during the early world cup years around 1995 1998 in Slalom and waves. I finished 5th overall in a wave event in Puerto Rico, and I did a few finals in Slalom during the historical event at Tarifa…
BS: What about speed sailing, waves and freestyle, do you or have you tried them and what do you enjoy doing out of them?
RH: Yes as I mentioned I competed in the first 3 editions of the King of the lake at Lake Garda,. That event really started modern freestyle. I love sailing waves, in Italy we really get good condition but I spend a lot of time around the world sailing the best spots. Maui- South Africa- Western Australia and many more. For me wave sailing is the most fun. In the last couple of years I also started doing some speed sailing for fun, because with the GPS it’s all so easy now, and I am leading the rankings on an Italian GPS website!
The most important thing for me is to get on the water, no matter what discipline, everything between 10 50 knots is fine!
BS: Ok so you’ve been the voice of many PWA events for a number of years now, when was the first time you were asked and how did it all come about?
RH: It kind of just happened during the first editions of the King of the lake… I went out maybe in the second round, and they had a guy on the mic who didn’t even know the moves, or even the names of the guys out there, so I asked them to let me help out a bit. Then it just turned out that I had to do the job because it just sounded more professional and I could do it in every language. The next step was then Fuerte, I went there as competitor, but the organizer asked me the same, because some of the riders told him that I was really good in the commentating. So the word spread fast between the organizers and since year 2000 I’m doing the most important events!
BS: You speak 5 languages fluently. This is probably your biggest asset when it comes to commentating on the World Tour, that and your extremely friendly personality, what would you say is the hardest event of the tour for you and which one do you have the most fun at?
RH: Yes I speak perfect Italian, German, French, English, and my Spanish is good as well. I can switch very easy from one language to the other, and this is a big advantage I guess! The hardest event is Fuerteventura because it’s 10 days non stop (Slalom and Freestyle) with strong winds and flying sand, so it’s always a challenge for my voice. The most fun is Austria, good combination between action and relaxation.
BS: Talking of fun, can you tell us some of your most memorable moments on the tour and any funny highlights?
RH: There have been a lot of fine moments, but last year in Klitmoeller watching Philipp Koester take his first wave title at just 17 years old, and to be such a cool teenager (not feeling the pressure), was a highlight. His jumping is just over the top…he has set a new standard! But also some really exiting slalom racing in 50 knots in Fuerte gives me a very strong feeling, being a competitor myself, I understand how hard it can be out there on the water!
BS: Heading back to home, what are the conditions like for you there, do you get to sail a lot or do you go away and sail on your travels more?
RH: For me sailing in Latina is the best feeling. My girlfriend is also a great sailor, and it’s fun just to cruise with her. Then when it get’s more challenging with bigger waves, it’s a lot of fun to just sail with friends. We can get really good sized waves and side offshore wind. I think a spot near Rome can give some of the best conditions you will find around Italy. There is good times and bad times…
BS: What are your thoughts on the latest news that the Olympics will not be hosting windsurfing in 2016? Is there a positive that perhaps this could benefit the PWA Tour, more young kids coming into the disciplines?
RH: I think that the Olympic class was just not exciting enough. It’s too much a sport of its own. None of the RS-X riders ever appear in a PWA event, and this was isolating the class too much. I think that there should be a lot more new ideas in the Olympic concept. They should use Formula boards and bigger sails to perform planing in light winds, and that might attract some big names to try and get a medal for their country. Look at other sports like Tennis in the Olympics, for a guy like Roger Federer it’s still an honour to go to London and try to get a medal for his country. This should be the same in windsurfing, why not have a few of the big names try to get a medal for the country!
BS: What’s in store for Roberto ‘the Hoff’ Hofmann in the next 5-10 years?
RH: Hard to say, windsurfing will always be part of my life. Everything I do is around windsurfing 365 days a year. I sell LOFT SAIL and Maui Ultra Fins in Italy, I still do a few races myself, I commentate a lot more so nowadays, I’m quite busy. Unfortunately, I don’t have the financial possibility to retire, otherwise I would just windsurf and dedicate the time to my family, which sadly comes a bit short on time with me!! But I will do all this as long as I can..
Ok, some quick fire questions:
- Who makes you laugh the most: Anybody that has a good sense of humor
- Who do you desperately want to see on the podium: I hope Kiri Thode get’s the title in freestyle… too many second places for him!
- Where would the dream spot be for the PWA: South Africa for waves and Slalom
- What is the best move you’ve personally seen in windsurfing: Pushloop Forwards are sick
- Best PWA for party: Austria…if you are young
- Best PWA for sailing: Fuerte for Slalom and Freestyle, Denmark for Waves
- Most memorable PWA event: I think that in way every event has something particular… unless the wind sucks!
- Next PWA mega talent: Hard to say, but I see a big motivation in slalom with Antoine Questel
- Favourite windsurfing movie: Minds Wide Open
- Number of naked people spotted at Sotevento (PWA Fuerteventura) in one day: Too many. Looking too bad. You never see any nice naked people there… average age 65!!
BS: Thanks for the interview, any last comments?
RH: Yes that windsurfing has given a lot me, and I give it all I can back to windsurfing. I receive a lot of compliments from people around the world for my commentary and I think this is a good motivation for me! But I could not do all this if I would not spend at least 200 days a year on the water!
- LOFT SAILS (i am agent in Italy and the brand is really expanding)
- Maui Ultra Fins - most innovative fins around
- Mystic for Clothing and wetsuits
- AERON booms
- Nove Nove Boards from Italy