Simmer: Congratulations to finishing overall top 3 on the PWA Wave World Tour! What an amazing year you had on tour! How does it feel now that is all over?
Thank you so much!
Yes, it's been amazing and it's been a true emotional rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs all through the season. It's always hard to drop from 1st to 3rd overall especially with some very tricky conditions at hand that don't let you express what you can really do. After sailing in full on conditions first half year it was a bit of a disappointing finish to the year for me.
But I had to remind myself, that all I was dreaming of before this season was first podium in a single event. I managed to get into 4 finals, onto 3 podiums (2 times in 2nd) and on an overall wave podium as well. I realised I should be over the moon! I think it finally sinked in when I was handed the trophy during the closing ceremony night here in Hawaii. I was holding it and thinking "Holy moly, I can't believe I'm 3rd in the World!". It's epic to become the first person from Poland to ever step on the overall PWA Wave podium. I hope more Polish wave-riders will fallow my footsteps in the future.
I felt quite emotional standing up there and especially listening to Sarah-Quita's lovely speech. I was quite proud I managed to compose myself and not cry on the podium to be honest haha.. but the moment I got off it I started crying like a baby! So sooo happy!
Simmer: You started off the year with a 2nd place in Pozo, and a 2nd on Tenerife. How did you prepare for these events and what helped you to raise the bar?
It was definitely a combination of things. My boss used to say, "Like every overnight success, it takes 10 years of hard work". There's something to it. I have been pushing hard for many years and trying to spend every single possible minute on the water. I was getting better and better results and often luck wasn't on my side when I needed it most.
This year I decided to quit my full time job as I managed to save up a bit, and commit to training full time. I didn't get the best conditions but I did most with what I got. I trained super hard, watched a lot of heats, analysed myself and other competitors - men and women. I also worked with Jorge Vera Garcia, who at first just gave me a few tips and by the end of the summer ended up coaching me full time. He was actually the one who called my overall podium long before the season and I didn't believe him haha.. If anyone needs some coaching I recommend getting in touch with Jorge via www.drwindsurf.com even for online coaching alone.
Sailing without all the work stress on my mind, free to try moves day by day rather then with weeks in-between helped me progress much faster. I also finally gotten over my injury and fear of hurting myself again. Something just clicked in my brain and I started to love jumping overpowered again.
Knowing one of my downsides was landing moves when really overpowered (like in Pozo) I would train on a sail size bigger then the boys all summer in Oz. It paid off when the hurricane hit Gran Canaria during the World Cup.
For Tenerife I felt more confident because the spot is much more like my WA "home spot" Coros. I sailed more relaxed and managed to throw in a new jump I was working on just for fun - one footed backloop - in the semi final heat to secure the final. I wasn't actually planning on it but I felt so comfortable in that heat I went for it and it paid off. I really enjoy the type of conditions we got in Tenerife - a bit more wave and a nice, comfortable 4.2 wind.
Simmer: How did you feel coming into Sylt?
I was super excited. I knew I am leading the tour but I didn't let the fear of losing that paralyse me. I approached Sylt with good preparation and confidence that whatever happens, I did everything I could to be ready.
I love to compete, and losing is part of it, so I was not scared of it. Women are sailing at such a great level it is really a pleasure to watch them all and a privilege to be able to compete against these long standing amazing pros, whatever the result.
Sylt is a challenge and one of the most technically and physically challenging spots to compete at. And I always loved a challenge.
Simmer: Sylt and Maui both presented really tough conditions, tell us a bit about your experience during these events.
Yes for sure Sylt is always the most tricky event on tour, where a lot is down to luck, it's sometimes just a lottery. The clouds come and go making it always impossible to chose the right sail for the duration of the heat.
I was happy that we had nice side-shore conditions in the single elimination and when I secured 2nd (even though in the final I really struggled ending up completely overpowered and then completely underpowered) I was over the moon. With how strong the current is and how quickly the weather changes there are no guarantees. It was great to make another final.
My mood changed in the double elimination when I found myself stuck on the inside with no wind at all for the whole duration of the heat. It was a heartbreaking way to lose the tour leader position, but that's competition.
Came Maui and conditions seemed as challenging, this time due to the size of the swell. I didn't want to let Sylt story happen all over again, so I headed out to my heat long before (more then one 20min heat early). I took 4.2 as it was very windy and made my way all the way out the back. Unfortunately before my heat the wind dropped significantly and I was sinking out the back. There was no time to come and change and risk not making it out again in the low wind. It just didn't go my way. First wave turned into nothing and I got stuck on the inside with big set coming and no wind. I only got time to catch one real wave in the end. It was my first experience competing Hookipa and it wasn't what I hoped to show. Unfortunately, with no conditions for double elimination I didn't get a chance to redeem myself. I hope to do better next year!
Simmer: Which equipment have you been using on the different events?
I have been using my 72l Flywave in Pozo and for most of Tenerife event. I only used 78l Cortex in Tenerife once when the wind was very light in the first heat.
In Sylt I used 78l Cortex and during the windier heats 78l Flywave. I always use Blacktips as they are a bit softer being 4 battens, making both wave riding and jumping much easier for a rider my size.
My Board of choice for Hookipa was 78l Fywave. I used a 4.2 Blacktip in my heat.
Simmer: How are you going to spend the off season outside of the tour?
For sure I will try to sail as much as possible. I will also be working on a bigger video project this off season with a few trips to new destinations planned I can't share just yet :) In two days I am finally going back home to Poland to see my family after long 7 months travelling and competing and after few days there I am finally off to Western Australia, still my favourite place to sail in the world by far, I can't wait to hit the WA waters again :D I will be running clinics there this season as well so stay tuned to my website www.justynasniady.com if you're interested.
Simmer: Will you finish on top next year?
Haha.. I sure wish to! I will definitely train with this goal in mind and time will tell if it was meant to be :)
Thank you Justyna! Enjoy some windy days on Maui!