It\'s that time of year when sponsorship deals get re-negotiated.
So far the biggest news is that Kevin Pritchard has left Maui Sails. Kevin, Phil McGain and Barry Spanier left Gaastra several years ago to revive the Maui Sails brand. They certainly did a good job, with Kevin bagging them a World Title and lifting the profile considerably. Kevin has been Phils sailing partner for 15 years now (along with brother Matt, they formed The Team). It is therefore with some surprise that we hear Kevin has left Phil Mcgains wing and the Maui Sails brand.
Kevin had this to say on his blog: " Well, I guess it is officially and end of an era. After 15 years of working together with Barry and Phil it is time to take on new challenges and take the other side of the road. Disappointing to say the least but it is time to move on and go into the brave unknown. As for now, I dont have a new sail sponsor and I am currently looking at all other brands. I have some offers from other brands but at the moment I have not committed to any. I am going to go out and test all the brands that will loan me some sails and we will see what happens. I think it will be fun to get out on the Prydes, Gaastras, Norths, maybe some Goya\'s, Severn also look to have a good range this year so it is all kinda up in the air. I just hope to get some gear soon as it looks like the wind is going to come back and the boys at Maui Sails came and grabbed all the gear that I have been riding, so I have nothing to sail on at the moment. I guess I better go down to HiTech and get out the credit card.. "
Also leaving Maui Sails is Bonaire freestyle specialist Taty Frans (who has also proven himself pretty handy in slalom over the past 2 years). Taty will now be sailing for North Sails.
Another Freestyler to change brands is Laure Treboux. Laure is ranked 3rd in the World and certainly has what it takes to win the title. Laure moves from Naish (boards & sails) to Fanatic and North Sails.
Other departures from Naish are rumoured to be Dan Ellis and Ben Van Der Steen. There are also rumours that JP (and possibly Pryde) have their eyes on the current World number 1 wave sailor, so we will have to see if anything comes of that.
German freestyler Andre Paskowski will be breaking his long association with F2 and be joining the Fanatic team this year. Now that F2 is no longer part of the Boards & More group (Fanatic, Mistral and North Sails), it will be interesting to see how it effects other previous F2 riders.
Leaving Fantic this year are \'Cheo\' Diaz and Remko de Werd. Both have been long time Fanatic team riders and top World freestylers. It is rumoured that Cheo will be moving to RRD.
The last change (which we havent heard officially yet, but beleive to be true) is that Keith Teboul is changing from Simmer to Goya sails this year.
Thats it so far!! We will let you know as and when we hear more......