INTERVIEW Sebastian Koerdel – Vice World Champion 2016
JH: Hi Sebastian. Congratulations on becoming the 2016 Formula Vice world champion! How was the racing?
SK: Thanks man! It was a tough week, the first days we had super exhausting competition with up to two full hours of racing and then the waiting game started for the rest of the week.
For me it was kind of hard to get in course racing mood because I was so focused on Slalom all year. However, I enjoyed it a lot after a while. All the tactical possibilities give you a lot of chance to fight back, even when you messed up the start a little. I made good use of that because my starts weren’t so great. I felt that my board speed and overall performance increased from race to race. I tried different setups and fins and in the last races I felt really good. Actually in the last race I had a comeback from a 10th position at the first gate to a 2nd place on the finish line and I had a good lead in the race which was cancelled on the last day. So overall racing was good for me. I was hoping for some more racing but you can’t change the weather.
JH: You were using the new Vapor sails. They look great, but tell us how they are working on the water.
SK: Yes, people seem to like the new colors. Me included! But I loved the sails even more on the water. If the equipment is good, you get that confidence on the course and you happily take every confrontation with other riders because you know you’re going to be faster. That’s exactly how I felt with the new sails. We completely redesigned the 10, 11 and 12 and obviously got some good performance out of it. Most of the time I used the 11 and right away when I got on the water, the sail felt very stable and balanced. It was easy to handle and I could race for a long time before getting exhausted. When I had the right trim it felt like the sail was flying by itself and I’m just holding on getting pulled forward. Definitely the best Formula sail I ever used. The 12 also feels a lot lighter and more balanced compared to last year’s sail. It has amazing light wind abilities and moves in a more connected way when pumping. In racing I also scored a second place with the 12 so performance wise it is definitely up there.
JH: You also had a good year on the PWA with a podium finish in Denmark. How did you find the tour and the current level on the slalom tour?
SK: Well, I had a year with ups and downs on the PWA. Fuerte and Sylt didn’t go as expected but Costa Brava was good and my first PWA podium in Denmark felt awesome! This year more than ever I found that the Worldtour is mostly a mind game! You can be as fast as you want, but if you don’t get your head together you cannot succeed. The difference between Denmark and Sylt was for sure not my speed. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to perform good in my home country. Well, that pressure was not good and I lost my focus. That alone ended up in a 20 place drop. Which brings me to the second part of your question. The level on tour seems to get tighter and tighter. Right now there are probably 20 guys or even more who can make a podium on a single event. However, I enjoy that situation. A mistake can cost you a lot but as Denmark showed if you get it together everything is possible.
JH: Transitioning between PWA Slalom and Formula windsurfing must be a little different. How do you prepare and train for both disciplines?
SK: Basically my whole year evolves around the Slalom tour. I train for it all year round so you can imagine when I jump on a Formula Board it feels weird at first. However, I did so many hours course racing in my live that my learning curve every year is pretty steep. I did one Formula event in Swiss where I also lined up against good German guys this year. It helped me a lot for the worlds to at least get reminded how to race properly. The direct preparation started 10 days before the Worlds at the event site on the Azores. I trained and tested there with my Nordmann team mate Nico Prien and got used to the conditions. We got a little unlucky with the wind but in the end it was good training.
JH: Where do you call home and what is it like for windsurfing and training?
SK: My home is the lake of Constance in the very south of Germany. You can get some beautiful days of windsurfing on the water and the landscape is marvelous, but it’s not possible to do a World cup preparation there. In winter it’s freezing cold and in summer there is just not enough wind. Since last year I spend a big part of my year in Tarifa to do a proper preparation.
JH: What are you plans for the this winter off season in preparation for next years tour? And how do you training methods differ to your competitors?
SK: My winter season starts next week. I drive down to Tarifa to get out of the cold at home. The rest of 2016 I want to concentrate on my body with a lot of cardio, gym and good food. When the new equipment arrives I will concentrate on testing and tuning. The last part of the training right before the season I want to train in life like conditions. Getting together with other riders, doing starts and racing on a slalom course.