It doesn't seem to be very surprising when the Caribbean, the Canaries or other countries with sea access deliver one windsurfing talent after the other. Sailors who call inland lakes their homespots though, seem to be underestimated by the windsurfing world. Yet there are freestylers who have the motivation to turn their talents into profession. We talked to Austrian freestyler Max Matissek (North/Fanatic), 24 years old, who left the European winter behind to train and enter the world circuit in 2012. Max surprised at last years EFPT tow-in event in Podersdorf, Austria where he won the qualification run and therefor happens to be local favorite for this year's Chiemsee European Tow In Championship, taking place from the 27th to the 30th of April.
EFPT: We know that friends and other people who saw you sailing, already told you years ago to step it up and enter the professional scene. What was the determining factor to do it eventually?
Max Matissek: There are loads of different things and aspects which make it hard to simply hit the entire tour. You have to be ready in all possible ways: physically, mentally, you need a certain financial background and of course a consistent performance level. In 2011 I started to prepare myself mentally for the upcoming year, trained quite a bit and won all the national events in Austria. Therefor I managed to get 'Toni's Martinskeller' and 'Surfshop Upsidedown' as new sponsors, who support me and make it possible for me to enter more international events in 2012.
EFPT: You are a local sailor from Podersdorf, Austria which became famous due to the successful PWA and EFPT stops that happened there in the last years. Can you tell us what's so special about this spot and why you also chose it for your part in Manuel Grafenauer's and Stefan Csaky's production Gaining Grounds, which was released in late 2011?
Max: For me the lake is special because I am related to it since the day I was born. That is the reason why I chose Lake Neusiedl for my part in 'Gaining Grounds'. For the production the demand was to sail at the spot that makes you feel like 'home'. This was easy for me, as I can call the lake my homespot.
EFPT: You happen to be known as someone who has a very 'artistic eye'. How do you like to express yourself and how can you implement this feature into your windsurfing career?
Max: I like to draw, as well as film and to edit videos. This feature might help me of course in the filming and editing process of my windsurfing videos, yet I am not not 100% sure how to implement it into my windsurfing career. I do all of these things because I enjoy doing them and because it is a way to express myself. And if anybody likes what I'm doing, it certainly makes me happy!
EFPT: Some people might believe, that riders from inland lakes can not become successful on the tour. What would you tell these people and what would you say to all the young guns from the lake?
Max: I would say, that there were already some sailors from lakes who became really successful. One good example is Austrian sailor Chris Sammer, who won the PWA event in Austria in 2003. I think that if you are really willing to achieve certain things and become internationally successful, you can definitely do it!
EFPT: At last year's EFPT tow-in event you impressed audience, judges and riders with an amazing air funnel into funnel and therefor won the tow-in qualification. What were your biggest achievements in your windsurfing career?
Max: This was for sure one of the biggest moments in my windsurfing career: when I won the qualification of the tow-in contest in front of all the spectators on the beach. There were so many cheering people and a loads of happy faces. That was definitely one of the best things in my life so far.
EFPT: 'Only the sky is the limit.' True or false? What can we expect from you in 2012?
Max: I will try to compete in as many events as possible, both nationally and internationally. Furthermore I have some projects running and also some future ideas, but I don't want to give away too much yet. I definitely believe that not even the sky is a limit! ;-)
EFPT: Any last words?
Max: I would like to thank Fanatic/North Austria which trust in me for many years already and my new sponsors 'Surfshop Upsidedown' and 'Toni's Martinskeller'.
Watch Max's latest video of his winter training in Bonaire
Markus Seidl, Robert Fuhrmann, Mauricio Alvarez, tow in pic by Martin Reiter