After an amazing season of racing on the PWA World Tour, Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra) has announced the biggest transfer so far this winter. Reunited with the man that designed him some of the fastest sails in the world, Dan Kaseler, Maynard could now have the weapons he needs to edge out in front and take the top spot in 2010.
We caught up with Maynard to find out more…
PWA: What made you change to Gaastra? Was it the money or the gear?
FM: It was more the fact that Gaastra was a good fit. I felt the need for a change, a new challenge, and Gaastra came along with sail designer Dan Kaseler, who I believe has the ability to give me the tools I need to win. I wanted to try a different angle to go after the title, and I thought that staying with NeilPryde perhaps left me without the possibility to develop and tune sails that might out perform what Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) has. I’m willing to take the risk at this point in my career, and I want to go for it.
PWA: When did you decide to make the move?
FM: I tested the new Vapor at the beginning of December and made a final decision mid-month.
PWA: Do you think the sails will work well with your RRD boards?
FM: In reference to RRD, I feel that we have an array of market leading shapes that would highly please even the most critical customer. We worked hard and made clear improvements over 09 so every size is world cup race-ready. With that in mind, how the new combination worked together was obviously very important when I tested the new Vapor. I was happy to find out that the new sails and my rocker lines/vee planforms fit well with a good balance between lift and acceleration. I am confident that the equipment will be good enough to challenge.
PWA: What will your main role be in the Gaastra team?
FM: I don't know if I have a 'main role' as such. I want to keep my focus and work hard on my goals, take part in some development work, and generally be one of the guys. I am new to the team so I don't want to step on any toes.
PWA: Are you looking forward to working with Dan Kaseler again?
FM: Yes I am. We had a lot of success together in the past, in fact a tremendous amount of success in a very short time period. He is extremely clever, and has come a long way with his design knowledge from when I last used his sails in competition. I think he has a very good grasp on making racing luff sleeves that are almost like fixed carbon wings with their tension, but still have great dynamic flex properties.
PWA: So do you think the new Vapors will give you the winning edge? Are they up to the job already or will they need some more development?
FM: I certainly hope so. I think everything will obviously come out onto the table after the first couple of races. Can I answer that question then? :)
PWA: What are your initial impressions of your new 2010 race gear and what will you be registering with the PWA?
FM: At the moment, I am only sure of what boards I will register. They will be the RRD X-Fire 90, 112 and 135. I will thoroughly test my new sails before making any registration decisions. I am 100% involved with the board development so I know I am happy with how they perform in terms of top-speed, gybing, acceleration and range. With the sails, my first impressions were good, although the sails needed a few adjustments, but I am confident that they will perform well on the racecourse.
PWA: Where are you preparing for the forthcoming season?
FM: I go to the BVI’s in mid January to spend some time with my family, although I will train hard there regardless. My real equipment 'festival' tuning sessions will begin in earnest in March to be ready for my first event in Leucate, France (Mondial-du-Vent - April 11-16), which is an invitational long-distance and speed event with 10 windsurfers against 10 kiters. Antoine will be there so we will be able to see where we stand right away against each other. Then preparations for the first PWA event in May will continue in Europe.
PWA: What is your main aim for the 2010 PWA slalom season?
FM: To win the PWA slalom title.
PWA: Are Gaastra expecting you to win the title?
FM: I would assume so, yes. But that is a long and difficult road that will require top focus and hard work. And a bit of luck here and there will do no harm. I’m hoping that I can put it all together in 2010, so we'll see what happens. I also want to win another speed title. With the slalom however, Antoine has been on dominant form for the several years now. Whoever wants to beat him, and there are many guys who can win, must bring only their A-game every day, every race, every event, and then one has a shot at the title come the end of the season.