by Chris Yates
Frenchman Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) enjoyed a sensational 2012 as he snatched the PWA Slalom World Title from the claws of his nemesis Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) at the final event of the year in Sylt. After re-capturing his world championship status, Albeau has now racked up an amazing 20 world titles throughout his prestigious career.
Antoine Albeau - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
An already amazing year was made even better for the Frenchman, due to a super-human effort in Luderitz, Namibia, during the Luderitz Speed Challenge as Albeau not only held on to his world speed title but he also increased it. The record now stands at an astonishing 52.05 knots over 500 metres with a maximum peak of 54.10 knots, which equates to a staggering 100.19km/h. On completion of such a memorable year we caught up with Albeau. Read the interview below.
Here we are with Antoine Albeau, PWA 2012 Slalom World Champion and windsurfing speed record holder,
PWA: Hi Antoine, how are you?
AA: 'Good after the season I had it can be only good.'
PWA: First of all PWA 2012 Slalom Champion, and now windsurfing speed record holder, what a season…..what are you going to do now in the winter?
Antoine Albeau takes third - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
AA: 'I don't know really, I am getting my slalom gear soon and I will start to try it some time.'
PWA: During the PWA season we saw you going really fast and always battling at the top of the pack with your speed, When did you start thinking on going to Luderitz? Did you do any type of different training for speed than for Slalom?
AA: 'My training was the same for speed and slalom, I wanted to go to Luderitz, I had to go has well as I was the record holder.'
PWA: What about equipment? what can you share with the PWA site followers? Can you tell as some sails/boards/combinations? did you use production and custom gear?
AA: 'I was on my 5.8 and 5.4 most of the time, my sails were production sail like Anders (Bringdal (NeilPryde)), for the boards I was using my 42cm and 40cm wide RRD customs, we don't need so much gear as we want to go fast in at least 35 knots.'
PWA: What about this 'myth' that to go really fast you have to be big and heavy? we saw some 'small' people also going fast in the channel? Do you think that with the right gear everybody can go fast?
AA: 'No you need to be at least a certain size, someone with 75kg will not go 50 knots I don't think so, but anyone can fight for his personal record and this is really important.'
PWA: The channel looked good but when we saw the first videos we really appreciated how narrow it really was. What was your main concern about it? Was it as dangerous as it looked?
AA: 'The problem is that it is not so hard to go on the canal and this is the problem, this can be very dangerous because if you take the canal and you are not able to hold the straight line you can hurt yourself badly.'
PWA: The Slalom season should start in a couple of months now, are you more confident now after the title and speed record?
AA: 'I think that after my 20th world title I will have a bit less pressure but I will fight hard for the next one.'
PWA: The Slalom tour in the PWA is getting more and more competitive, what was the best and also the worst moment on the tour this year?
AA: 'My best moment was Alacati and Sylt, my worst was Italy when Bjorn Dunkerbeck overtook Gonzalo (Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails)) on the finishing line and Fuerte because I had amazing speed and I had the possibility to fight for the first place but I went over the line early twice during the event.'
Antoine Albeau and Julien Quentel - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura World Cup 2012
PWA: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to start competing in the tour?
AA: 'Be strong at your national events and then come and compete on the PWA.'
PWA: Any hints on what sizes are you looking at for the next season?
AA: 'I think will use the same size boards and sails as this year, I still need to try all my gear and I will see.'
PWA: Lastly, so all of your fans can get to know you a bit better, what is your favorite move? favorite food and drink?
AA: 'Favourite move.... I will say a big backloop at Hookipa, food can be a nice chicken curry and drinks water or natural juice.'
PWA: Well, thanks Antoine for your time and we look forward to seeing you on the PWA World Tour next year.