Photo – Britain’s top windsurfer and Mistral Production Manager Nik
Baker welcomes Britain’s top coach Guy Cribb to the Mistral and North Sails International Team.
Guy Cribb moves to Mistral and North Sails!
(Excerpts taken from Cribb interview)
How did the move come about Guy?
“Mistral and I have been in touch re a team move for five years now as we shared similar views and aims for our sport’s development. Both of us have fulfilled our goals in this period, proving to each other we’re on the right track for a good future together, with Mistral totally revamping their brand with a new boss and new boards for 2008 that are all highly developed in terms of shapes and construction (not to mention their radical new line of Mistral Twinser wave boards due to be released very soon!) And the success of my acclaimed INtuition technique DVD.
So I am very keen on their future, they’re right at the start of an era of ground breaking boards, combined with the business prowess needed to progress in this industry. And they’re very keen on INtuition and my very real knowledge of what actual windsurfers need from the manufacturers. So we’ve got together for a long term agreement to improve freeride windsurfing generally.
Mistral’s research and development team is the world’s strongest – you’ll find most of the world’s best windsurfers actually ride, or have ridden, Mark Nelsons’ shapes (Mistral’s designer.) Their production and management has all changed recently and the 2008 boards are an enormous improvement to their boards of the passed five years. They’re using only the lightest stiffest construction in their RD range. So the way I see it is they have the right shapes, the right team in all fields of the sport from management with former Boards and More boss Boris taking the lead, Donald Scholz in marketing, Nik Baker in production, to riders with current world freestyle champion Marcillo Browne winning the world freestyle champs for Mistral already in 2007 and of course long time wavesailing superstar Nik Baker still a champion on the world tour.
Over the next years we’ll see that this professional and ambitious team will help Mistral grow tremendously, and I’d like to be part of that growth with them. It is genuinely an exciting time for Mistral, they are still the brand name that most windsurfers remember, yet for the last ten years have not had the best kit or infrastructure to actually be the best brand. But now that they have, it’s a great time to join them, right at the beginning of a whole new era. I’ll put my
money where my mouth is, within a few years, everyone will aspire to own a Mistral board.
The launch of the Mistral Twinser, which other brands have found reputably hard to engineer, if not impossible, goes to show how far ahead they are in development, with Nik Baker working his unprecedented wave knowledge into boards with Mark Nelson. To quote a PWA judge “when I got on Nik’s kit, I sailed like Nik” this is what we need from manufacturers for their top of the range kit- the actual boards the pros use. Mistral’s Twinsers are the very boards Nik rides, and Mistral’s Joker is the exact board Marcillo won the world title on. So if you’re into waves or freestyle, these boards are pretty much unbeatable.
I want to ensure Mistral’s freeride boards are also exactly what the market needs- and if anyone has sailed the new 2008 Screamers or Synchro’s, both massive test winners around the world, they’ll know that Mistral are making a serious comeback with awesome easy to use kit again, that is way earlier planing and much lighter than they used to be.
There aren’t many sailors who’d choose to to leave JP at their peak though…
Well, JP are undoubtedly an awesome brand with some amazing kit and we’ve had a great time together. JP is very well organised with arguably the best marketing and successful brand manager out there (Martin Brandner.) I think they’ve been very good with their continuity and focus in their advertising which has made them so successful to have reached the peak they’re at. They have a huge market share in the UK, the largest of any of their countries, so in some ways I think my job is done with them and it’s time to move on to a new challenge, one that I can literally be with from the very start. Imagine a new brand was launched that genuinely had the product and infrastructure to become hugely successful and you had the opportunity to invest in it in its infancy, plus you’d have some control of it’s future, it’d be a bet worth taking and an investment worth making, so that’s kind of what I’ve done.
But Neil Pryde and North Sails are direct competitors. Has this created any tension?
North and Neil Pryde are the world’s leading brands. They continuously develop the best kit. They have the biggest and best test teams working non stop in the world’s best locations. North spreads their development between Gran Canaria and
I used a North ICE in Dahab- ok, it’s a flat water location and the ICE is one of their wave sails- but I was genuinely blown away – even in Dahab’s gusty winds this sail locked in and cruised, it was very light in the hands throughout the gusts and lulls- which was amazing for any sail, let alone one that’s more at home at Hookipa!
Being as deep into the windsurfing industry as I am well aware everyone is trying to make a wave sail as good as the North ICE. But I am joining North to help ensure their freeride sails are the best out there too. They already pay special attention to ease of use – look at their Power XT base, or the downhaul trimming guide and harness line positioning markers on their sails. They are focusing on
windsurfers real needs which is very admirable for a brand that is also winning the world titles. Another factor is I think North sails look the best, their graphics and colours look awesome, and since they launched that styling, I’ve wanted to ride for North!
Copyright: Guy Cribb