Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's all in the head

Interview with Pierre Milutin

He is a good looking guy, strong, real sportsman and great speed surfer. Born in Australia, he returned recently from Australia where he lived since childhood. With his German wife Natalie, he decided to settle in ┼Żaboric, a colourful small place on the Adriatic coast of middle Dalmatia. Well, Croatia is welcoming all its children when they decide to come back from far away. But this particular child brought with himself a couple of speed boards and sails, and a bunch of valuable windsurfing skills. Interwiev with Pierre Milutin, speedsurfer, about preparation, equipment, winds, enjoyment... and all the gerat staff that make windsurfing the most beatifull sport in the world!

In a couple of months from his return, Pierre managed to stir up the windsurfing scene in Croatia, to raise speed standards and to inspire many windsurfers to put more effort and attention in improving their windsurfing abilities. His potentials were quickly recognized and in no time he became a sponsored national rider for RRD boards and Simmer sails.

When I asked him about the interview for SoulWindsurf.com he immediately said “yes”. I told him this is not a typical windsurfing web site, but he already knew that. Pierre is our registered member, so he certainly knows what soulsurfing means.

SWS: So, Pierre, tell us something about yourself. Let’s start with your age, height, weight… ? And tell us when and where did you start with windsurfing?

Pierre: Age-36, Height-186cm, Weight-90kg.Im a guy who likes to stay fit, be strong where I need to be and to give and receive advices when it comes to windsurfing, thats where my main priority lies in life.

And most important to have good mates around ya, especially when the wind picks up.
I started windsurfing at 1993 in Australia, where I lived in a small town called Cleveland in the district of Brisbane, which we call the sunshine state summer all year around. 

SWS: Besides windsurfing, did you engage in any other sports?

Pierre: Yes I did some sports in my life when I was a youngster : soccor , athletics,long distance running and weight training... But now all I do is a bit of indoor soccor for condition and crossfit training to build up your inner core strength and of course SPEEDSURFING.....


When it blows, you don’t know me!

SWS: Windsurfing is your true love, isn’t it? Since you arrived to Croatia, you also launched among us some very funny sentences (as an English spoken person your Croatian grammar is a little off, but you know that ?) that became kind of windsurfing slogans. One of them is “When it blows, you do not know me!”. It is a sentence that you said to your wife, when you started your relationship, isn’t it? Tell us more about it, please. Why did you say that to her?

Pierre: I have done a bit of different kind of sports in my life and after a while it becomes the same procedure ,session after session but nothing has struck me more than windsurfing it is always like a new adventure when you hit the water so it is my true luv...

Ha ha about the slogan, this is no disrespect to the wonderfull women in the world...

Ever since ive started windsurfing it has taken over my life completely and I guess a lot of us find that one special thing in our lives which makes you complete.

After my wife n I saw that our relationship was getting serious I had to let her know that windsurfing is my number 1 priority in life and when it blows you dont know me...

She completely understands where I was coming from and she has never complained or argued with me when it comes to windsurfing, thats why I luv her for that...
And when the wind doesnt blow we always have our own activities to do together.

SWS: Judging from this, and I think many windsurfers can confirm that, obviously there is something in this sport, something that makes it very special and keeps us addicted to the wind, in such a great extend that we forget about everything, even about our girlfriends or wives (or boyfriends and husbands). What do you think, what is it about? What is that secret ingredient that makes windsurfers so heated up all the time, during many years?

Pierre: Windsurfing is about the freedom on the water , you against the elements of wind and ocean and feeling its power and of course pleasure.

The secret ingredient is you sail alone in your own world , all your problems have disappeared as soon as you hit the water.

The feeling of the wind in your face and the spray from the ocean and your just cruising around like there is no ending and whats most important the peace on the water , just the sound of the board tapping over the chop and the leach fluttering over your head , I would say that would be complete serenity.

SWS: Do you think any other sport has the same effect and the same potential to raise that kind of passion?

Pierre: Well with the sports I have done before I have never felt that , I guess other sports have too much competition which kills the soul side of it.
I think there are not many sports in the world that can give you the same freedom as windsurfing does.

SWS: This is a soulwindsurfing site – it is about inner experiences during the windsurfing. Tell me, did you ever experience something like ecstasy during the windsurfing? Or, some extraordinary peace, something that sport psychology calls “the zone”?

Pierre: I feel ecstasy every time when i go windsurfing but alot of the time when i surf alone.I used to do alot of wave sailing before and for me to get into that "zone" moment would be ,when i did a jump which i got to a height of around 13m and once i reached that peak i levitated for a good few seconds in the air before dropping it was like something outer of this planet an amaizing feeling.

Or like speedsurfing which i mainly focus on now , i think there is nothing close to it , the feeling of going faster than the wind and overcoming any obstical in your way      , the best part about it you dont have time to think just go for it and once you have hit warp speed i know your in the zone then , its like travelling through time , everything is like blur dream in that moment now thats adrenilan pumping.


Speed, speed, speed

SWS: Uh, I know exactly what are you talking about!

OK, let’s talk now about the windsurfing. What your best results are in the speed surfing in Australia and Croatia? What do you think about Croatian spots and winds? Which one you like the best?

Pierre: My best results in Australia is 500m – 40kts and a peak of 42.6kts.

And In Croatia my 500m is not so good due to finding a good long speed strip but the search goes on, and my best peak is at 37.9kts with a 34kts 5 by 10sec average.



Well about the Croatian spots I still havent found the right spot yet or something close to it, but I think soon we will find somehting.

The winds here are great and strong which is what we need for speedsurfing and once we find that precious spot it will be hammer time.

The best spot I like so far would be Srima but I guess you have to get it on a good day to get the better results and to get a good forecast that is not too wild.


SWS: What do you think about the Croatian windsurfers? Speed scene is quite young, actually non exsitent. Do we have a chance, in comparison to the world classes?

Pierre: I reakon the Croatian windsurfers are really good and they show a lot of motivation and interest in the sport .

Yes speed is very young here but we have to start somewhere and every begining is hard and thats why I will be pushing it full throttle to get it on top.

We have started of with the GPS team challenge and so far its started to go good , but what we also need is a GPS comps to get people involved so they can see whats it really about and of course to see who will be the fastest, it is my easier to organise   than a slalom event all you need is a GPS.

 
I think we have a chance compared to the rest of the world , but it all comes down to finding the right spots and having the right equipment and a lot of time on the water , practice makes perfect.

And maybe start running some serious events that you can draw the internationals sailors to come to Croatia for speed , I know for sure when we find some decent spots and good results starts coming up there will be other sailors in europe coming to speed with us.

SWS: What do we have to do? For example, when I was last time on the water with you, I made a little more than 30 knots, and you were somewhere around 33 knots. What is the secret? Equipment? Skill? Strength? Can I speed surf like you?

Pierre: Well for that particular day I would say it came down to probably not bearing off deep enough down wind or not trusting your gear to preform how you want it to or the fear factor which a lot of sailors have a problem with , sometimes big gear can get a bit scary!!

Whats the secret , the secret is all about trimming your gear first , it has to ride and feel right so your purpose is just to sit in your harness and let her rip, if something doesnt feel right find out what it is an adjust it go back on the water and test it again and fix the problems until you get it right.

Skill is for me the most important factor when it comes down to slalom or speed ,  knowing how to stand on a board when sailing meaning getting into the right position    and how to make your gear go faster with changing your stance and style you will be surprised how much of a difference that can make.
But all these factors that I have written here have to fit into one box to get the perfect combination and the right reciepe.



It is all in the head

SWS: When talking about the windsurfing, I have heard from you something that I know very well: “It’s all in the head, in the mind…” But, please, explain for our readers what do you actually mean by that? Do you really think that mind is more important for the speed than other elements, like the equipment or the state of the water?

Pierre: Look equipment does come into the game but other equipment can also work, it just comes down to a lot of time on the water and adjusting equipment to go faster.
Mind is the main key to go fast , if your mind is not in the right state you will never get anywhere in the speed world.

The way I look at it my mind controls everything in what I do and I have to trust my instinct to succeed to go faster , there is always at the back of your mind what happens if the nose of the board dives into the chop at high speed or if the fin lets go  what will happen to me at that moment when I crash, these are obsticals that you have to accept and overcome ,its like saying “Mind over matter”.

The more you learn to trust yourself and of course your equipment the better the results get and ending up being a better sailor.

SWS: One of the things you said to me was: “No guts, no glory”. Is it really so? Is it really true that sometimes you just have to trust yourself and the sky is the limit?

Pierre: Speedsurfing is about pushing your limits and beyond , that means there is no time for error, there are boundries to be pushed.

You have to get yourself in the right state of mind , for example before you go out listen to some hard core music to get yourself totally pumped up and ready to destroy.

You will be amazed how much you can push once you get into the rhythm and again “Mind of matter”.

And once the gust hits you than just go for it with a positive mind , no backing down , thats the only way you are going to find out whats the “other side” like.

Whats also important is to learn how to crash in a dangerous situation ,sometimes you have to picture yourself while your sailing what should I do if the fin lets go how shall I fall and where ,but mind you this is all a split second desion.


The importance of the fin


SWS: Let’s go back to the material things. Something very specific, in which I am interested in. Tell me something about the fins. How important is the fin for the speedsurfing? Let’s say I have the same board and the sail, and I change the fin, what would be the percentage of its influence on my performance?

Pierre: A fin is the most important factor in speedsurfing this is your engine, you will have to learn to trust your fin and in many kind of conditions that it wont let you down, thats why its always good to buy a good speed fin to gain that trust and to push the limits futher.

The bigger the fin the more drag it makes, meaning you will go slower instead of faster.
A fin from one size to another can make a difference in a couple of knots speed and also choseing  the right fin for the right conditions.

For flat water and say 25kts+of wind you will be looking at a size of 20 to 24cm fin , as the wind gets lighter you will need a bigger fin because you will need the lift from the fin to get the board out of the water instead of dragging in the water.

For choppy waters a bigger fin is prefered because a smaller fin will tend to spinout due to the height of the chop which for sure will be higher than the fin , thats why a longer fin will catch on quicker through choppy waters and a much less chance to spinout.

This is something you really need to test while your out on the water to see what works , if you have 3 fins for that one board try all 3 in that day of sailing and see what results you will get out of each fin and for next time you will know what fin to use in that particular day that you sailed.

In speedsurfing, depending on the conditions you will always put the largest sail you can handle and the smallest board you can ride and the smallest fin that can handle the setup you have put together, the disadvantage of a smaller fin is very hard to point strongly upwind and if very choppy waters it tends to spinout a lot , so like I said you always have to adjust to the conditions you are presented with.

The best fins for flat water are stiffer fins which means the tip of the fin does not twist as much just a slight bit , and for choppy waters I would say a softer fin in the tip because it absorbs the chop better and less likely to spinout.

And always keep in mind to buy the best fins on the market when it comes to speed ,look on the internet sites and see what fins are doing good results and that can determin what will you get in the future , and the best sizes to get are from 20 to 30cm , anything longer than that does not consider as a speed fin.



SWS: Tell us the three most important things that speedsurfers have to have in mind regarding the equipment?

Pierre: 1. The terrain , have good look where you will be sailing and where you will do your speed runs , make sure its not too shallow and that it is not too gusty you dont want to go out in small gear and spend half the time swimming!!!

2. Always if possible especially if there is a strong wind happining to have at least another sailor with you on the water so you can keep an eye out on each other, you never know what is waiting for you around the corner.

3. FEAR – fear causes hesitation and hesitation causes your worst nightmare to come true. If you come to a situation that the sea state is too rough than dont speed sail at the end you will see its not worth it , you can really hurt yourself badly and demolish your gear. So fear sometimes does help but only when you need it , but if the sea state is good then overcome the fear of going faster meaning trusting yourself and your gear and conquer your quest.
 

Beginners and ladys


SWS: You have to know that this article will be read also by beginners, or by people who are not the windsurfers. What would you say to them? Why should somebody start to windsurf right now?

Pierre: Buy some gear and get on the water you will not regret it , for windsurfing you will need a lot of patience to learn but once you have mastered the trade you will have the next great thing in your life and you will look back and say im glad that I did it and you will feel the great experience of freedom and most of all we are one big tribe so anywhere in the world where you go all windsurfers will accept you and take you in as one of there own!!!!


I would say if the ocean and wind has a lot of influence on you then no one can stop you ,  there is always someone there to teach you the trade and I say there is nothing better  than a bunch of  friends on the water sailing together, man its a great feeling!


SWS: You also have to know that ladies are more often on this site than on the usual windsurfing sites. What do you think about the ladies windsurfing? There are not many of them here in Croatia. How about Australia? Do you think ladies should windsurf more? Sometime I hear they think it is not for them, and male windsurfers often behave like they do not belong here. Is it true? Do you think this has to change?

Pierre: I would luv to see more of the women windsurfers on the water , I reakon this would be a much better atmosphere , but I dont think guys promote the sport as much to the women now days and thats a bit sad.

I have taught and given tips to some women windsurfers in Australia and that makes me feel good and a great deed has been done ,and the good thing about this that these women get other ladies to join up and to share the expirence.

The great thing about it is after a good session on the water we all sit on the beach and have a chat about the session we've had today and for sure give out some pointers.

That is nonsence that windsurfing is not for women , the problem is that women think it is a strength sport and you have to be strong and that is not true , it all comes down to technic once you have mastered that there is no such thing as strength anymore , “enjoyment”.


I think women should get into the sport and a little less listening to male man who talk negative to them about the sport because at the end of the day we are all one ...

SWS: And at the end, what are your goals for this year? Slalom races? 40 knots in Croatia?
Pierre: My goals this year is to go on one of the world speed events to see how the top guys go and to travel around searching for new speed spots ,and hopefully to reach 45+ kts that would be a good starter and to crack the 40kt mark in Croatia which I think it wont be a problem just as long we find a good spot...

And yeah I will enjoy doing some slalom events here in Croatia and to get to know more windsurfers.

And hopefully we can organise a GPS event here in Croatia as a starter and to see where that goes.

And one more thing to get you guys going faster which I always will be there to help, Aloha and thank-you.


****

So, that’s it.

Pierre. Speedsurfer.

I, for one, am very happy that he showed up here in Croatia. Together with other great guys from all around, it seems we changed the atmosphere around the windsurfing here. There is more friendliness, more team work, more support among the windsurfers.

I must mention WKC site, and their team of windlovers who make miracles, and also the project of GPSteamchalenge from Australia in which Croatians are in, with two teams: CroNorth Aeouls Speedhunterz and CroSouth Borealis Speedhunterz.

There is something good in the air…eh, excuse me …in the wind!

Thank you Pierre for your time and words! I wish you all the best, many good winds and see you on the water!