The 2009 British Wave Champion and umi editor Jamie Hancock has joined the international team of Tabou and Vandal Sails. He will compete in the PWA wave events, that's if he has enough time off from putting together some sick vids, and will also take part in all the UK based events. Here's a quick interview with the 25-year-old rascal from umipictures.com
How did this move to Tabou / Vandal come about? "I used to be with Gaastra / Tabou on a national level sponsorship a few years back. At the time I had already been talking with Gaastra / Tabou chief Knut Budig and Matt Pritchard about a possibility of representing a new sail brand called Vandal - just at that time it was simply an idea. So it has always been something that was on the cards, perhaps just a bit delayed."
Do you think your success in the British wave tour helped you sign this deal? "Yes I think so. Winning the British title this year was incredible with probably the best conditions in UK competition history. But aside from that, I always had a good relationship with the guys at Gaastra / Tabou and worked hard getting exposure for them as well as winning a couple of events previously. So we have just picked up from where I left off, but this time as an international rider."
Ah, international - so you’re in the money now! "Haha, no not quite, but I have much more opportunities to do more in windsurfing which I'm really grateful for."
Have you been able to try out your new kit yet? "Yes, I tried it for about five minutes before my hands froze and the wind died. I'm in the UK at the moment and it is freezing! I’m pretty confident I will like it though, I always loved the Tabou boards and they suit me perfectly as I am a similar size to Thomas Traversa and the boards always work for lighter sailors. For the last two years I have been using customs shaped by Keith Teboul and have kind of missed out on the introduction of multiple fins in production boards. I know that Thomas and Tabou shaper Fabien Vollenweider have worked closely on developing the twin/quad fins for years but I was really surprised how well this year’s production Da Curves worked. They feel surprisingly close to how my custom boards worked and turn amazingly well. Well, at least for five minutes they did! The boards really show how good Thomas and Fabien's partnership is and it’s great to be with a brand knowing their production boards are the business. "The new Riots are simply amazing, like nothing I have ever used before. They're compact and very light. They have four battens and seem to work on less downhaul than normal. I'm not quite sure how they work so well yet, but they just do, and better than anything I have ever used before."
What are your plans for this year? "I will compete on the PWA Wave Tour and perhaps be able to attend some of the Wave Classic events that Thomas helps to organise. I also want to work with umi on producing better and better film projects. Basically combining the two and doing as much as possible."
Any plans for going abroad? "I leave for Cape Town in a week and will meet up with Alex Mussolini and Ross Williams to do some port tack training for this year’s tour. I'll also be heading to Maui to meet up with Matt Pritchard, check out the new boards and hopefully get some decent conditions."
How do you think your chances lie on an international level? "I really don't know. It's hard to know how the pressures and nerves will be a few minutes before my first heat. I also think that sailing with people at the highest level will definitely help me to improve, that's something I think I've lacked over the last few years."
Move wise, do you think you can keep up with the top guys on Tour? "Well, I prefer jumping on starboard tack to port which is not so great for this year’s World Tour. But it’s no good being good on one tack so I like the challenge to try and 'catch up’. I can probably keep up with some of the top guys with wave 360s, takas, tweaked pushies and doubles, but it's the consistency of these guys that I definitely will need to work on cos that’s what wins heats!"
Apart from the cold, what else is keeping you off the water? "Well, with the worst weather to hit the UK in 30 years, I'm locked away in my editing room finishing some clips that will be released by umi while I'm in Cape Town. There’s some big wave stuff from the Canary Islands coming along as well as a special project we did with Thomas and Alex called 'Just Like That', which I think is pretty exciting."
Finally, is it true that you'll be doing some slalom and formula competitions as well? "Haha, no way!"
Words by umipictures.com