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Jaeger Stone – Man enough for Cold Hawaii?
Jaeger Stone – a name you may not be so familiar with, especially when thinking of Cold Hawaii, and the last few seasons of the PWA World Tour. The young man from Western Australia, with roots set deep in the windsurfing world, has just returned to the scene, after a few years off. At the moment, the 23yr old, Jaeger, is sitting pretty at no.3, on the current PWA rankings list.
So who is the “mystery man”, what are his roots, and why the long break?
“I began windsurfing when I was 11 years old, and was lucky enough to have my Dad (Stone Surfboards) shaping boards to my scale. Growing up in Western Australia, I was able to windsurf almost every afternoon in summer, as we have some of the best conditions in the world. After finishing high-school I planned to compete on the PWA World Tour for a few years, but unfortunately I injured myself. At that time, I decided that going to University and getting a Physiotherapy Degree was something that I would like to do and so it meant focusing on something other than windsurfing for 4 years – but I’m really happy I made that decision. I recently graduated as a Physiotherapist in November last year, and have been trying to windsurf as much as possible, back home, since then.”
On the 2010 and 2011 PWA World Tours, Jaeger finished 21st and 19th. Now he’s back, and his hunger and motivation seems bigger than ever. He has started this season with two 4th places, on Gran Canaria and Tenerife. This could turn out to be an historical come-back, within windsurfing, if the Australian’s year continues this way.
“Basically I’ve never competed on the whole PWA World Tour, so have never considered myself to have a ranking. I don’t know if I would have finished higher or lower, in 2010 and 2011, but I finished with those rankings because they’re based on the only 2 competitions that I did, being Pozo and Tenerife. I’m not expecting to finish high-ranking this year, as I haven’t been to any of the next 3-4 events. I’m just hoping to learn as much as I can from each location, and to gain more competition experience.”
This season’s PWA World Tour sees a double-up of wave events, since the 2012 season. That’s a lot more travelling and a lot more competing involved. And this means that firsthand experience of the spots, will mean a lot to the sailors, this year. Knowing a windsurfing spot, for a windsurfer, is a big plus. If you have experience of how the wind and waves work, on a World Cup spot… then you’re already leaps ahead of the others. Jaeger has never been to Cold Hawaii, or the other wave events after Denmark.
“I haven’t been to Klitmøller before, so am really looking forward to going to a new destination and windsurfing. I’ve watched the event online, in the past, and hopefully we get some really good wind and waves, like some of the previous years. Other than it being colder than Australia and the Canary Islands, I don’t really know what to expect and that’s the exciting part about it.”
Rejoining the World Tour, after time away, and now with a University degree under one’s belt, and a few years older, definitely has it’s hidden challenges. The PWA has progressed, as well as the competition, and the level of the wave windsurfing, since Jaeger’s last PWA season.
“It’s been really interesting coming back on to the Tour, after a few years away. Being a little bit older now, I look at things a bit differently, and I realise and pay more attention to things that I never have in the past. I feel like I’m much more prepared now as well, and I am really trying to take away as much as I can from each heat and competition. There are always surprises and upsets in competition – but it’s a competition, and no matter what those surprises are, you just need to stay focused.”
Being the new kid on the block, or not – Jaeger seems very focused and determined, and taking things one step at a time. Maybe the years off, from the World Tour, have given him a break well needed. Keeping focused, and ready for the challenges AND the surprises, might keep him in the top 3… or even higher up, by the end of the year. Either way, Jaeger certainly knows how to make a big splash on the scene.
So, to all the other PWA sailors: Watch out. The “joker in the pack” may not be that much of a joker, after all!
Marcilio “Brawzinho” Browne, from Brazil, is the “likeable guy” of the PWA tour. Competitive, focused and determined, on the tour. Laid-back, reserved and “out of the spotlight”, when not on the water. With his charm and down-to-earth attitude, Marcilio is maybe not your most outrageous windsurfer, on the tour. But at last year’s event, he did the outrageous, by beating Philip Köster, in a close fought final, and becoming not only the King of Cold Hawaii 2013, but also the PWA Wave World Champion. It had been a quiet and low-key event, on the water last year, in comparison to the previous years. Then, on the final day, the wind picked with strong onshore winds ramming the coast. This made for a tricky and exciting final… with surprises in store, for everyone.
“I was super surprised”, says Marcilio – still looking somewhat stoked. “Those onshore conditions, like we had in the final, were never really my thing”.
To add to the excitement, he was up against Philip Köster, in the final. Köster, from Germany, is generally known as “the guy to beat”, when it comes to winning on the PWA World tour.
“And on top of that, having Phillip made it even harder. So I really just focused on myself. I didn’t look at what he was doing and tried my best with what I was given. I felt like that final we were both battling more against the conditions, than each other. And then, when the results finally came in, and I had won, it was just unbelievable for me. One of the highlights of my career for sure!”
Seeing how Marcilio will build on from his surprise win last year, will be exciting to watch at this year’s event. He had a super start at Pozo, in June, ending with a podium place, in 3rd. Tenerife didn’t go too well. The Brazilian met Klaas Voget halfway, and his 2nd wave event of the season ended there. So maybe it’s time to turn the heat up, a bit! We could see a second Cold Hawaii title on the horizon, this year.
“I feel good for sure! I’m healthy and have been sailing a bunch, so I will go and give my best every time I go into the water. More than anything, I want to have fun and be happy with my sailing,” said the humble Marcilio. Never one to boost his own ego.
Being in the No.1 spot as PWA Wave World Champ, some of your time is spent looking back over your shoulder, and seeing how the other sailors are chasing your title. This year is no exception!
Marcilio, also known as “Brawzinho”, says about the competition this season, “There are a couple of guys that are very dangerous. Campello, Köster and Fernandez are probably the hardest to beat – especially in Denmark.
Klitmøller is a favourite place for many people. All year round, it’s one of the best places in Northern Europe for windsurfing, surfing and SUP’ing. And after, Marcilio won his Cold Hawaii title here, and his World title, then this quiet, local fishing village is certainly engraved in his memory.
“I really like going there and I have great memories,” says Marcilio. “It’s a very mellow little town, great for relaxing and slowing down, for sure. After traveling so much I like going there and just living slow: sailing, surfing, doing a few nice nature trails and pretty much just being around friends. The locals are so nice and they always welcome us very well. It’s a big pleasure for me to come back, and it is definitely a trip I look forward to.”
Sounds like a “match made in heaven”, or at least a match made on the waves! The humble and laid-back Brazilian, seems to have found a place he can call ”home”, while he’s focusing on keeping the PWA Wave World Champion title in his sights. Cold Hawaii could be the place his season really takes off… again!