A few days ago our inbox light up with the ping of a message from PWA Wave World Champion Victor Fernandez. Highlighting a short new video he had produced of Kona winds on Maui, we were intrigued to find out more. It's then that he told us he was sailing at Hookipa during this session, which is as rare as it gets due to the number of surfers usually out. So we threw a few q's his way to construct a rather unexpected ALOHA feature, here's what he came back with.
Over to Victor...
Victor, it’s been a while since the last event but you are back in Maui, what have you been up to since then?
I´ve been on Maui since the Aloha Classic pretty much. I just went back to Spain on January for 1 month and back to Maui until now. It's been a great winter on Maui with good swells and sailing different spots around the island.
Looking back on the 2015 season and there is one thing that is really prominent, the divide between those who are strong on starboard tack and those who are strong on port tack. Can you tell us first how the event in Maui was for you and were you happy with your result?
The event on Maui was great. We had a massive swells the first 2 days of the competition and everyone was ripping. I was happy with my 6th place as I sailed good, especially in the double elimination where I think I could have done better than 6th. I feel that I'm sailing better every year on Maui as I'm spending a lot of time here every winter.
Looking at the rankings for 2015 it seems that two sailors really stood out with their diversity, both are also recent World Champions; Thomas Traversa and yourself. Would you say that this is a big factor when it comes to who actually competes on the full World Tour and what are your thoughts on this?
Well, I think that the top 10 sailors of the PWA are all very good at everything as we have been competing for many years on the same competitions. I love sailing in different tacks and spots all the time, I think the more diverse you are the more fun every session can be, it helps me a lot to improve and motivates me to pull the same moves in both tacks.
Would you say we would see a huge shift in rankings should there be one more starboard tack event?
Quite possibly, what could happen this year. I think if we would have a few more events and if it would be half starboard tack & half port tack there would be more riders fighting for the title, the title will be more open as now we have mainly port tack and most of the time 1 or 2 events without a result so it makes everything more difficult if you don't make good results on the first events of the year.
It’s great to see a strong World Tour once again, you will no doubt be making it to all of the events, do you make an effort to be at the event sites early to train there or do you just rock up the day before?
I usually go quite early to the events, I love to be there and get used to the conditions, to the food, to the cold or warm weather. Adapting is important to me and also is very important to choose the right gear on every location so I go earlier even if there is only a day of wind or just waves to surf or sup.
What else do you do to train for windsurfing, other than putting in hours on the water?
I love a lot of sports. I do SUP, surf, I love to play tennis, basketball, golf. I also do my gym training 3 times a week depending on how many hours I sail a week.
Do you ever see what you do as a job or is it still totally 100% passion?
It's mainly passion but I also see it as a job as the other sports where you have to travel, train, take care of yourself and not being at home so much but I love it so much that for me it is not an effort to do it and I really appreciate it and I know I'm a very lucky person for doing this.
There is quite a lot of discussion at the moment about the competition format within freestyle, live scoring is intended to be introduced this year but the format needs to adapt, do you think the same is true for waves or is the format working well?
I think for the waves it actually works well, live scoring is great and it's a big step for windsurfing, for sure it needs to be improve with some details but people love it at home.
So you scored Kona winds in Maui and told us that it’s extremely rare to sail Hookipa, how did that come about and how is the famous reef break on the other tack?
Hookipa with Kona wind is usually full of surfers as the wind blows side offshore and the waves get more tube but this day was just too windy and not big so it was very hard for surfing and as soon as there is less than 10 surfers in the water you are allowed to windsurf at Hookipa. This day was super fun.
It’s going to be like this for the next couple of days, is Maui misbehaving a little lately and how does the forecast look?
There is a big swell that should come this evening and the kona wind is already blowing so we might have a good day at Hookipa or Lanes. When there is more than 10 surfers at Hookipa we usually sail at Lanes which is just the wave upwind from Hookipa and it is an amazing left.
You are shooting 2017 gear, can you let us in on anything new that we can expect?
I just can say that the new graphics are sick! I was impressed at how cool the new Fanatic boards, North Sails and ION stuff look! I can't wait to go in the water with it.
Lastly, how is your calendar looking before the first PWA event of the year?
I'll be on Maui until the end of April and then back to Almerimar in May. I will be looking at the forecast for Pozo to go there as soon as the spot is on.