Julian Anderson, K1001, was World Champion 3 times (‘86, ‘89, ‘91) and British Windsurfing Champion 14 times. Julian is just one of the amazing riders who will be lining up in the NWF Blast from the Past Pro-Am slalom, where YOU could win the chance to compete alongside most of windsurfing’s Hall of Fame!
A few years may have passed, but it would seem that Julian hasn’t lost his touch; a NWF competitor said of him “He turned up at the NWF one year recently when it was breezy and blew everyone away, he’s still got it, phenomenally fast sailor… could have taken on Dunkerbeck & Bringdal in his day.” We caught up with Julian and although we can’t verify Julian’s fastest speed ever on a windsurfer, he admits to clocking himself recently at 37 knots – on wave kit!
1. 1.When and how did you start windsurfing? How did you get into racing? I learnt to sail a mirror dingy at the age of 11 in Ireland, co Waterford at our local sailing club in Dunmore East, a small fishing village on the River Sure estuary. I competed in the sailing club racing until age 14. I then had a go at windsurfing and begged my parents to buy a windsurfer regatta so I could do the Irish circuit.
2. You have competed in a number of windsurfing disciplines, notably racing and wave. Which is your favourite and what do you love most about windsurfing? Back in the early days I loved to race and over time I now prefer to only wave sail, although I still enjoy a blast on some slalom kit and I am looking forward to the NWF this year.
3. What kit were you using to compete in the ‘90s and how does that differ from today? What challenges did this throw up? In the ‘90s we generally used race boards but as kit was being developed we soon started to do course slalom (upwind racing without a dagger board). The biggest challenge was the cross over and keeping up with the changes of equipment. Also the development of fins would make a big change in the performance of your kit.
4. The Windsurfing World Championships are now the RS:X World Championships. Was it the Olympic class then? Did you ever have the Olympics in your sights? The Olympics was very much a light weight sport as the kit they used was generally dated, so I concentrated on the Professional fun boarding and World Cup events. I did compete in the qualification event for the ‘96 games but found myself struggling at the back of the pack due to light winds.
5. What is the fastest speed you have ever done on a board? Last year we did a quick speed trial at West Wittering on a very windy day, on wave kit !!! and clocked 37 knots, I have not got any other times but would estimate in excess of this.
6. You have been multiple British and World Champion, but was there or is there anything else that you would like to achieve? In my windsurfing life I have been very lucky to win many titles and travel the world. When I look back I can honestly say I had a blast and was very lucky.
7. How do you prepare and psyche up for a race? Back in the day I would make sure my kit was tuned to the best I could get out of it. Make sure you know the course and work out the best end of the start line to start in. Always use a watch for the start and be prepared early, have a few practise starts and find some land marks and points of reference for lay lines etc. Then go for it.
8. What is your experience of the NWF? What do you think of the Pro-Am Slalom event planned for this year? Any grudges to put to bed?! The few times I have competed in the NWF it was great to compete and to not worry about the result. Just some good fun racing and a great party on the Saturday night. No grudges to put to bed, just great to catch up with the guys from the past.
9. You were featured in the film ‘The Winning Streak’ (still available on Amazon!) Do you have any top tips or cunning race tactics that you are willing to share to give NWF competitors an edge in the Master Blaster races?! As the NWF racing is beach starts the only tip I have is to get a good position on the beach, I generally like to start as early as possible and use my speed.
10. Being a windsurfing pro and getting paid to do what we love seems like a dream to most of us. What positive or negative effects did having the sport you love as both your pleasure and your work had on your enjoyment of the sport? I have not got any negatives about being a pro windsurfer, it was a dream to get paid to do the sport you love although it was very dependent on results and promoting yourself. Some guys went down the PR route but I chose to base all my success on results.
11. Many pro windsurfers quit the circuit and go on to work in the sport, but you opted for a complete change and started up a company supplying oak buildings. How did that come about and why did you choose not to carry on in windsurfing as a profession, when it is clearly a passion of yours? In regard to working in the windsurfing industry, I did for a while and found that it was not what I loved, I would rather do my talking on the water. I always had an interest in carpentry throughout my life and generally, in my spare time, was working with wood. When I was thinking of slowing up my racing program there was a job going at one of the leading green oak framing companies. I worked for them for 12 years learning all I needed. I had always found myself looking at old traditional framed building so decided to give it a go. The rest is history and I now have been running my own Green Oak Framing Company for the last 4 years (Anderson Oak Designs).
12. What are your best and worst windsurfing experiences? What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?
My best windsurfing experience was winning the World Champs at 17 years old and then winning it 2 more times. Winning it once was amazing but proving to yourself that you can do it again is very high up there. My worst experience was dropping a gybe in the last race at the fun board World and blowing the overall title. I had been winning the event all week against many of the top sailors in the world at the time. It took me a while to get over that. The funniest thing that has happened to me was at a windless event in Sardinia, Bel Stanley, Caroline Paterson, Guy Cribb and Peter Hart and myself entered the Event Talent show and did a very poor striptease show, which went drastically wrong. Needless to say we didn’t win!!!!
13. Who do you most admire among your contemporaries in the sport, then and now? Robbie Nash, Mr Dunkerbeck, Robert Teriitehau, Anders Bringdal. (then and now)
14. Describe which windsurfing move you found the most difficult to master and why? Back Loop; to land consistently on every back loop was very tricky but with the kit we use now I seem to land more than ever, when I get the chance.
15. Where is your favourite / local spot to sail? What would your fantasy windsurfing day be? My local spot is the Witterings which always when windy has great wave sailing and testing conditions. My fantasy windsurfing day is just a good day on the water with good friends.
16. What is your goal now? My goals for the future are to carry on windsurfing forever!!!!! And be a good dad and husband to my family. Build on the last 4 year of running Anderson Oak Designs. Oh and be happy at all times.
Visit Anderson Oak Designs at http://www.anderson-oak-designs.co.uk/