WA: You’ve just come third here in Cabo Verde; do you think you’ve still got it in you to win this event?
KP: “I’d like to think so, but the waves here are just so critical. You have to get the right waves to win the heat. It’s definitely a huge advantage to have the wave knowledge that Josh has, and to some extent Kauli, as he was down here real early to train for the event. But this wave kinda suits my style, it’s the same direction as Hookipa, and it’s a big powerful wave, so I’d like to think that one day I could win here.”
PWA: What do you think Josh did differently to you to win your heat?
KP: “I think he got slightly better waves, and just rode them a little bit better. He was more in the critical section; he’s got a lot of confidence, he knows exactly when and how that wave’s going to break. He’s ridden so many waves at Ponta Preta he knows it so much better any anyone else, and that really helps out.”
PWA: Did you have any tactics to try and beat Josh?
KP: “I was just trying to get the best wave out there, and really focus on my wave selection. We were both getting a bunch of good waves so it was really a case of giving it all I had on everything I got.”
PWA: When we spoke to Kauli he said he felt forced into doing aerials to try and beat Josh. Did you feel pressured to change your style?
KP: “I think when your sailing out there you’ve got to have that big air off the main peak to really come out looking good. I was definitely looking for that, and Josh goes for exactly the same kinda thing. But, i couldn’t say if Josh’s style was influencing my game, maybe it was, but I was just trying to give it my all.”
PWA: Do you feel that Josh had an advantage having the local crown behind him?
KP: “It’s definitely hard, like one wave, he got a real nice one in front of me. I was just getting ready to bottom turn and suddenly I hear the whole crowd erupt. It’s really hard to stay focused when it’s like that. It doesn’t make me nervous, but you feel this whole vibe that everyone wants Josh to win. I dunno, maybe it even influences the judging a bit, like when the crowd goes wild for one of his waves, it’s going to be hard not to think its better than my wave, which has no cheers or anything.”
PWA: Josh can be quite clever on the water, pulling onto waves, then getting off them deliberately so his opponents can’t get them. Was he doing that in your heat?
KP: “He’s a fierce competitor and he uses all his tactic to his advantage, for sure. In this heat he didn’t really do that to me, but in years past we’ve had our scuffles y’know.”
PWA: Would you employ tactics like that to win?
KP: “ Sure. If that’s what it takes to win. It’s all part of reading the conditions. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just competition.”
PWA: If you had to make the call right now. Would you rather be the PWA Wave Champion or PWA Slalom Champion?
KP: “Probably the wave champion. I think that amongst professional windsurfers, the wave title is slightly more sought after than the slalom. But for me this year I’m focused on both, and just trying to give my best in competition.”