JH: Wow, congratulations Thomas. How does it feel to be crowned Sylt PWA Wave Champion for the 2nd year in a row?
TT: with only 3 to 4 PWA wave events per year, winning one of them really feels like a huge achievement. Last year’s victory felt like a rebirth on the PWA tour for me, it made me realize I still had the skills to perform at the highest level. Even though this year I knew I could do it again, to actually manage to beat all the best riders through the single and double eliminations and win back to back titles here in Sylt … it is truly amazing, definitely one of the highlights of my career!
JH: Watching from the beach and on the live stream it looked tough, but you seemed to make it look easy. How were you able to feel so comfortable in such difficult conditions, did you have any preparation for these types of conditions?
TT: i think my biggest talent in windsurfing is my ability to read the ocean conditions and to adapt very quickly to them. The waves in Sylt are very powerful, there is a lot of current, it is almost like a light wind version of the storm chase in a way… and this is the type of windsurfing I love, to get out in ever changing conditions and make the best of it. On top of that I grew up sailing onshore starboard tack conditions in south of France so every time we get this onshore wind from the right I feel very very confident and comfortable in the water.
JH: Let’s talk equipment as it plays a huge factor in these types of, I guess you could call them, ‚real world European conditions’. What sails were you using and how were your boards working in the Sylt conditions?
TT: i have been using the Manic HD 4.2 a couple of heats and the manic 4.5 for the rest of the event. The 4.5 manic is a magic sail for me, I also won last year using the 2019 version… it has such a big range and a lot of acceleration in light winds, that makes it the perfect sail for the unpredictable conditions of the North Sea. I basically used the 4.5 wether my opponents were using 4.7 or 5.7, whether it was onshore or sideshore… same for the board, I only used my da curve 70 litres prototype that I was using in Tenerife and I will use the same board for the Aloha classic on Maui. When you find this kind of magic combination of equipment it s hard not to use it all the time!.
JH: How does it work with discards this year on the PWA mens wave tour. With one event left in Maui, how are your chances of a podium finish?
TT: the discards rule has been changed 2 years ago: before you could discard your worst result as soon as there was 4 event results, but the consequence was that the Maui event was used as a discard by most competitors. In order to make Maui count as much as other events, we decided that we would only get a discard once 5 events had been completed in the same year. We also changed the points system to reward top results with more points : for exemple the point difference between 1st and 2nd is the same as in between 7th and 13th place. All these changes make the title race more open and exciting ! Now I dit in 6th position on the Rankings but the top 6 riders all have a realistic chance at clinching the world title in Maui. I would probably need to win the Aloha Classic for that, but a podium finish is really possible If i manage to get a solid result at Hookipa. Si i am really motivated and excited about the Maui event !
JH: You’ve been world champion, you’ve won the Red Bull storm chase multiple times, you’ve been chasing some of the most insane conditions on the planet with The Windsurf Project. What next for Thomas Traversa?
TT: i guess my goal is to stay on the same program! Winning some big events once in a while and looking for the best and most extreme wavesailing conditions the rest of the time!!!
JH: Thanks Thomas and big congratulations from everyone at Gaastra and Tabou!