North and Fanatic are known to have one of the best international freestyle windsurfing teams in the world. To keep this team fed with new talents, team-managers all over the planet keep their eyes open for national riders who are outstanding in a way of style, dedication and motivation to push the sport also on an international level. The Baker brothers from the United Kingdom were already proving their sense for upcoming talents by hooking up Max Rowe in 2011. Within a year, this support led straight to the international team of the brands. Recently 16 year old Oscar Carmichael got recruited by Nik and Ant Baker and hereby makes it to the fresh faces category of the EFPT.
We talked to both, Max and Oscar, a rider with a lot of routine and a rookie, about the importance of support, their sponsors and goals and the value of the possibility to train and travel together.
Name: Oscar Carmichael
Status: Rookie /Fresh Face
Years sailing: 5
Favorite move: Shaka
Favorite set up: North ID 4.7 & 89 l Skate
EFPT: Lately, followers of continentseven.com and mpora.com saw your summer video produced by Adam Sims (Blacklab) in which you show new-school freestyle on a very high level. Looking back on 2011, which where your most memorable achievements in windsurfing?
Oscar: Definitely learning to shaka, that’s a moment I’ll never forget (editor's note: he learnt the shaka in two days, and landed it consistently from that time on). Competing in my first pro competition at Poole Windfest and joining the North/Fanatic national team. The year 2011 has definitely been one of my best ones in windsurfing!
EFPT: We know that many brands saw your potential and offered you deals. In the end Nik Baker of North/Fanatic/Ion UK took you under his wings. Why did you choose these brands and how does it feel to be part of the team?
Oscar: I chose North/Fanatic as I tested the kit and I thought it worked better for me than any other kit for new-school freestyle. It’s sick! Also I was really impressed at how supportive the Baker brothers were to the whole team, who they help with advice whenever needed for example.
EFPT: Is it an advantage for you to have the experienced EFPT/PWA rider Max Rowe (UK) as a team-mate and are you planning any trips/projects/training together?
Oscar: Yeah it’s a great advantage, Max is always helping with tips about competing, kit settings etc., which is a great help as Max is such an experienced rider. In the future I’m sure we will be training together in the same places and I look forward to it.
EFPT: All equipped with new gear now, what can we expect from you in the upcoming season, what are your long-term goals and will we see you competing on the EFPT?
Oscar: I am really looking forward to getting more time on the water training, as soon as I finish school in June I will go straight out to Fuerteventura. Hopefully I will get a chance to compete on the EFPT and the PWA tour this year but it does depend on dates and finances. Fingers crossed, as it would be great fun and the experience would be sick!
Long term I would like to be competing in as many PWA tour events as possible and would aim to eventually rank in the top 16.
Name: Max Rowe
Status: Experienced Player
Years sailing: 10
Favorite move: Shaka
Set up: North ID 4.2 & 89 l Skate
EFPT: Max after some years of training and working as a windsurfing instructor, you are now focusing more on your professional career. In 2011 we saw a very solid performance from you on all the PWA tour-stops. How much do you owe this to North/Fanatic/Ion who hooked you up at the beginning of 2011?
Max: Yeh I owe a lot to them for sure, because without their support I wouldn't have been able to go to most the events this year. Especially to Nik and Ant Baker who have helped me out a lot this year. Also the kit has made a big difference to my sailing, before I was switching between kit a lot and never really felt settled. Now I feel like I've got the best gear possible and I feel very confident on it!
EFPT: Starting as a national rider you now made it to the international team. What advice would you give Oscar, who just joined the team recently?
Max: It definitely feels good to be a part of such a successful international team. Oscar needs to carry on doing exactly what he is at the moment. He's young and very motivated and he's definitely going to go far.
EFPT: Now that you could seal the international deal, will you still be working as an instructor or do you have other plans for 2012?
Max: I will continue to work as an Instructor for 2012. However, with such a demanding calendar it's getting harder to find the time to do so. I've worked out in Vassiliki for Club Vass for the past five years and it would feel strange not going back! I've spent way more time there than at home and Im sure I'll be back out teaching at some point during the summer.
EFPT: All over the world we see young freestyle talents coming up with lots of dedication and motivation, just like Oscar. What are your thoughts on the future of freestyle windsurfing, both in the media and competition?
Max: I think its got a bright future! This year we had such a big year in terms of number of events and coverage. I believe that freestyle is what's bringing a lot of fresh talent into windsurfing.
EFPT: To round up, Oscar do you want to say something to Max and Max is there anything you want to say to Oscar?
Oscar: Hahaha, ummm, It’s sick to be on the same team as you dude and I look forward to sailing with you soon! Over and out, Oscar.
Max: Haha ok then! Please wait a few years before you start kicking my ass!!!!
It's always great to have people who believe in you. It doesn't matter if you sort out the deal of your life right from the start. What matters though, is to keep up the motivation, push it, go travel, see new horizons, show respect, have fun and therefor always support the ones who lay trust in you.
Max is a good example for what is possible in one year. He proves that he loves what he is doing, in every dimension and still enjoys returning to Vass to show others the fascination of this sport.
Oscar is the future - young, talented and open-minded. He learns in a playful way by bringing skills from other board-sports (skateboarding/snowboarding) into freestyle windsurfing. By showing a lot of captivation for the sport and respect for the personalities in it, for sure he will go far in the upcoming years.
We wish both, Max and Oscar, a very successful season 2012.
(Photos by JC, Globalshots)