Back in May 2018 I met up with D-1 aka Former World Champ Tim Aagesen. It’s been some time since the world championship but Tim is still windsurfing…and he’s still winning.
This interview is about windsurfing at large, history as well as how we can start growing the interest for the sport again. Tim is obviously still a passionate surfer and just this weekend he ones again displayed he’s skills at the Kona One Danish Championship which he surprisingly to very few won!
Lets dive in to my talks with this legend in windsurfing
To Tim Windsurfing was always a social celebration – a game! Tim competed next to Pete Cabrinha, Robbie Naish, Thomas Persson and the rest of the cool old gang. Traveling the world! Tim appreciates Hawaii as a one of his regular surf spots in the world. Although International acclaimed star Tim stayed true to the local crowd of windsurfers and still to this day, they have weekly gatherings on the water to fuel that competitive edge.
‘Windsurfing had my name all over it in 1982’
Tim, was it you that made Windsurfing cool: “(Tim just smiles at me) I started on the Tencate Windsurfer – wooden boom and triangle blue and white striped sail. I actually still have the wooden boom and the sail, but the board had to go some years back. It must have weighed 45 kilos at least! It all started back in the summer of 1976! Back then there was no schools or educational material so it was every student for himself! And when the passionate Dane Jørgen Johanson kickstarted a range of competitions, I started to compete. The first sponsors (Martini Cocktail and Old Spice) started to show an interest already in ’78 – windsurfing was really getting hot! My first real International result came in 1980 on the Windglider where I came 3rd in the World Championships. 1982 had my name all over it – I won everything (Tim smiles).”
In the early years how was people recruited: “Well people were really keen and competition was fierce, we all sailed on same equipment same class. The best surfers were then recruited into other more open classes and some of them reached PWA level. Focus was suddenly moving and nobody wanted to back the old classes. Looking back, I think it was then the table turned and windsurfing in general took a wrong turn. Because without the focus on class 1 and 2 the momentum of recruitment had been lost.”
Is the Industry ready to engage in a more general class: “Over the years we have seen some attempts but it didn’t succeed. To compete on equal gear and terms is by far the most important element in getting Windsurfing back to the level of interest that it had decades ago. But this demands something of the brands in the sport – something that just might not be possible, because they need to develop a class or two hereby agree on gear well aware that only one or few should produce. Most would argue that this is not good business! These days it’s a race coming out with the best individual equipment and gear only to realise that this type of development is going on year after year – to my knowledge that’s not good business.”
The question no one dare to ask – would more girls in the sport do a difference: “WOW you are really pushing it now! The thing is that the younger generations are far better at promoting themselves. Both the boys and the girls, having said that, the girls just get more likes right! But if the wind is up then the boys are still far ahead although not as much as they used to be! The girls are very cool and surely they recruit other girls – and where there are girls there are boys, right?”
What is the next thing in your perspective: “For a long time I have been following the development of the foil business via Americas Cup, smaller boat classes into Kite- and Windsurfing. A great opportunity to sail in lighter conditions without loosing the thrill of speed. But foil has less to do with board and sail, actually very little to do with the pack of gear as we would normally be depending on. It’s entirety about the foil which is making me loose some of the accumulated interest. Obviously, my heart is in SUP (Stand Up Paddle) since I own OUKAI, therefore my focus is there – but I strongly believe that there is a huge opportunity in recruiting from SUP to Windsurfing in the long run. SUP is the fastest growing water sport and it’s very likely that some would prefer more action and speed and jump to Windsurfing, which only would make me proud.”
We are running out of coffee and Tim is running out of time. He needs to put his attention to the business in hand. So we wrap up the intense interview with a few anecdotes from way back followed by a short portrait session, where I for the first time saw some uncertainty in the eyes of an awesome legend in Windsurfing history. Judge for yourself but I can still see the competitiveness in Tims eyes.
Thanks to Tim for taking the time to do this interview – to see more about what he is up to these days – just follow this link – oukai.com
What do you thing it takes for windsurfing to become cool again like in the ‘old’ day?