Name: Andraz Zan. Age: 24. Nationality: Slovenia. Discipline: freestyle. Brand: F2. EFPT ranking overall 2012: 5th. This is what you can find out about this European freestyle windsurfer quite easily. Yet do you know what brought him to where he is now, why he considers himself as a non competitive person and how he helps to make freestyle windsurfing more popular by putting a lot of his own time and money in? No? Then you should read this interview and find out more about Andraz Zan.
EFPT: What does freestyle windsurfing means to you?
Andraz: I was ski jumping for ten years before I started with windsurfing professionally. It was a nice sport for me but after doing the same thing for a really long time, I got really bored. I have been always freestyling in my life, like in snowboarding and skateboarding. That was the reason why I started with freestyle windsurfing as well. Beside the fact that we don’t have the right conditions for wave sailing at my home spot I also never get bored with the process of learning new moves. It's almost impossible to be able to do everything yet in every session you learn something new. That's what makes freestyle and windsurfing in general interesting.
EFPT: You are a producer, a rider, a coach and many people look up to you. Do you think it is enough nowadays to be 'just' a professional rider?
Andraz: Absolutely not! Back in the days the promotion of the sport and everything what goes with windsurfing came by itself, but now it is important that you find a way how to promote the sport and yourself as an athlete. It is certainly crucial to promote your brand but it is more important to try hard to make windsurfing more popular again. Otherwise I am scared that the trend for this amazing sport will go down. Only to promote the brand you are riding for is not enough after my opinion. This is why I also really like to teach windsurfing and produce videos. Obviously the internet have conquered the world and especially videos are getting more and more important. This is my motivation to film, edit and release outstanding material for the people to see that windsurf is still cool! (editors note: watch Andraz's latest productions at his VIMEO channel: http://vimeo.com/andraz )
EFPT: Your video projects always get a lot of attention. Where do you have your knowledge from and how do you plan to use it in the future?
Andraz: I am studying multimedia as much as time allows me. Beside that I got most of the knowledge on my own and through the cooperation with other film makers. There are many projects coming up where I will be part of the production team and I am planning some myself, because I believe that windsurfing has to go into the direction of surfing or snowboarding - at least video production wise. In my opinion this would help a lot to make windsurfing more popular again by getting it into the public eye.
EFPT: Do you think that producing videos should be rewarded by sponsors?
Andraz: Of course it should! Sadly sponsors don’t realize sometimes how much work you have to put in only to make short 3min clip. Hours of filming, hours of editing, a big amount of travel costs and cost for video equipment. If you sum everything up it is quite a big charge.
EFPT: Freestyle wise and looking back did you reach your goals for this season?
Andraz: As I can compete just in the EFPT with my F2 sails, I was very motivated to at least keep my 4th position overall after the event in Sigri. In the European events in France and England I really felt good on my equipment and I can sail much more confident than before. After a rather disappointing 13th place in Six Fours I was fully motivated to strike back in Weymouth where I became 6th and therefor ended up on the 5th place in the 2012 overall ranking. I am super happy about that!
EFPT: You mentioned to the Press Officer that you really enjoy competing in the EFPT. Why is that and where are the differences to other competitions?
Andraz: The events in EFPT are really a lot of fun! Beside the professional part on the water there is a lot of 'hanging out' with the riders, going out for dinners and generally doing stuff together when you are not competing. I got a lot of friends on the tour and we still travel together and also do some projects. I think it is also important to relax when you are at a competition and not to think 24/7 about what moves you will do in your heat.
EFPT: How did you like this season on the tour, what were your highlights and what would you wish for next year concerning the EFPT?
Andraz: First of all I was not planing to attend all the tour stops because I was looking on windsurf competitions different than today. I am not a highly competitive person, that might be the reason why I don’t always have top results. I only sail well in competition when I feel really good and when I also have a lot of fun with my friends who are touring with me. The first event was amazing! I felt really good and confident and we had so much fun in Sigri, so I decided to also travel to the other tour stops. After all I am really happy with this decision!
Beside professional the part on the water I had a lot of fun with everybody involved and we were enjoying every moment on the water and also on the beach. Also the organization and the presentation of the EFPT and it's riders through the improving media coverage is getting better and better. I really can’t wait for next year! For changes I'd wish to have more events, hopefully with a higher prize money and with a lot of participants. But most important, what Scheffy always says, keep the spirit up!