Caesar Finies could easily be ranked amongst freestyle’s top twenty, but this Bonarian has taken a slightly different approach to his sailing. Instead of purely focussing on aerial freestyle Caesar sees the potential in light wind windsurfing, an area often overlooked by windsurfers once they reach planing level. Caesar loves showing that there is a whole world of light wind opportunity out there, if you’re willing to grab it.
This article originally appeared in the Boards 2013 Flatwater Annual, click here for more on the latest print issue of Boards.
Growing up in Bonaire, Caesar learnt to windsurf at a young age but didn’t immediately immerse himself in the sport. Through his teens, he was a successful baseball player; “I was almost scouted for the US League, but on an important selection day I was injured. Funny, I tried windsurfing before at the Bonaire Windsurf Place and at Jibe City but I gave up immediately. I played soccer, did some running and was really hooked to BMX-Freestyle."
However, being on a small island surrounded by so many windsurfing stars in the making, Caesar couldn’t avoid windsurfing for long. He noticed the likes of Tonky and Taty progressing and landing incredible tricks, “I was inspired like crazy...and maybe a little jealous!"
At first Caesar progressed through the sport like many other islanders, quickly moving into aerial freestyle, but then he stumbled on light wind trickery.
“In the hot summer of 2005 there was no wind at all. I was hanging around on the beach and it was a little boring, so I took a super huge beginner board onto the water with my sail. Whilst playing around on the water I pushed the sail away and let it go, hands off! Like magic the sail made a turn around me and came back into my hands, while I stepped as fast as I could over the mast. The Ankle Biter was born! I didn’t consciously think about creating a new style, I was just playing around, but I knew there was something to these type of moves; Flowstyle was on its way!"
This was just the beginning, Caesar continued to invent countless new Flowstyle moves, and named the light wind freestyle movement ‘Flowstyle’. The one he likes the most is the Multiple Matrix: “While turning the sail I stand with both feet onto the mast extension spinning the sail multiple times around."
Caesar sees windsurfing, and in particular light wind windsurfing differently to many, to him light wind days are celebrated, enjoyed and made the most of, rather than moaning and just waiting for high wind days.
Caesar is able to imagine moves and then go about putting them into practice, his vision is not confined by previous moves, he wants to see what else can be done. Not surprisingly though, fun is at the top of his priorities:
“Whatever the weather I just want to go out on the water and enjoy myself! I think it is important to have fun in all conditions; light wind freestyle is awesome, it will improve your sail handling skills a lot and it looks great! People on the beach are always entertained and love watching the light wind tricks, I don’t like being the lazy bum on the beach!
“I see failure as a new possibility, this helps when thinking of new tricks! Plus, my friend Ronald Mayer, we help each other out a lot. He has a way of thinking of new tricks and sees my mistakes and tells me what I could try. I always show him my new tricks, then he tells me how to make them smoother!
But Flowstyle is not all about the harder tricks that Caesar is working on now, anyone can learn to do some very impressive light wind tricks. In fact, it’s Caesar’s mission to get more people hooked on windsurfing and exploring the light wind opportunities.
So what moves could you learn first? Caesar suggests the heli-tack, sail and body 360, then the chacho-throw. They are relatively easy, but look amazing! Over on the Boards website you will find more specific technique pieces on these moves and more light wind freestyle too, but the most important thing to remember according to Caesar is to always look where you’re going, as this is where you will end up.
Whilst Caesar has chosen to not take part in the PWA, he does have grand visions for the future and showcasing light wind windsurfing:
“In the future, especially in summertime, I’d really like to start a Flowstyle tour in Europe, North and South America. I’d like to travel from surf shop to surf shop and do Flowstyle clinics with their customers on a lake nearby. I want to get people onto the water even if there is less wind. Windsurfing can be fun with or without wind! This message must be spread!"
Click page two to learn how to do the Hail Mary with Caesar...
[part title="The Hail Mary"]
How To Hail Mary
Here’s how Caesar does his trademark move, the Hail Mary, which is named after the long through in American Football. The Hail Mary is 'a very long forward pass made in desperation' in American football...apparently...I only know because I just googled it! :-)
This trick isn’t the best one to start with, but looks incredible and is a lot of fun to do - something to work towards. The best conditions for the Hail Mary is nice, flat water and between 11 and 15 knots of wind.
- You start off releasing the UJ, taking your sail apart from your board.
- Turn the sail upside down and head into wind to raise the sail into the starting position, so you are ready to throw it.
- With the sail in the air above your head, upside down and into the wind, you go into a tack.
- Head into your new direction, 180º from where you were going and slowly start to rotate the mast towards the nose of the board.
- Continue this rotation by lifting the sail back up into the wind.
- Don't forget about stepping around the board, with the sail.
- At the start of the move you have one hand on the mast, and one hand on the leech of the sail, with the mast tip on the deck, now is the point when you lift the sail above your head and hold onto the bottom of the sail, ready to throw.
- As the sail rotates around, three quarters of the way back to the starting position you release and throw the sail upwards - it is at an angle of 45º into the wind and 45º ↑.(don't get this last bit....but then I've always been a crap windsurfer....review it and see if you are comfortable with it)
- Never take your eyes off the sail or you might get hurt...and always do this far from everyone!
- With a little luck you might catch it too...