- Hi Finian, first of all congratulations for your great Victory.
How do you feel now being the first RRD rider to win a World Cup on an RRD production board?
FM: It feels great. The last winner of a World Cup for RRD was Anders way back in 1994 so I am proud to be able to make this fantastic result now in 2012 for the company.
- After the tough beginning of the PWA Slalom season, what were your expectations approaching the always tough Fuerteventura slalom event?
FM: After so many injuries and bad luck this year I was finally healthy again so mainly I was relaxed for the event. The pressure to perform was less than usual because my year ranking was finished to go for the world title. So I just wanted to have fun, that was the point.
- Could you please comment for us about the 4 eliminations that allowed you to take home the top result?
FM: The first round was run in diffuclt conditions with very offshore and gusty winds. I had a great start in my semifinal but there was a big wind hole plus the wind shifted even more offshore which meant that I couldn’t make any speed to the 1st buoy starting at the pin. This meant I didn’t qualify for the final. In the loser’s final I was 2nd and fighting for first but the leader almost fell at the mark and I had to avoid him suddenly and lost many places so this round I was unlucky and came 13th. In round 2 I was very fast on my 7.7 and 114 in every heat qualifying easily to the final always in the top 2. Then in the final of R2 I had a good start but not enough speed off the line and Antoine had a better angle and more off the line speed to the buoy and came down on me, we had a good fight on the first leg. My first gybe was a little wide and I lost a place to Pierre so the result was 3rd.
The next two rounds were simply magic. I was extremely fast on my 6.9 and XF 98, what a combination! I felt like I was starting well all day and with this speed I could control my heats to qualify for both finals. In the finals of both rounds 3 and 4 I had good starts but mainly I was faster than the others in the heat so I managed to pull away on the first leg. The sail, board and fin were fitting really well together through the chop so once I rounded the first buoy I really took it easy on the two port tack legs going out to sea to avoid mistakes and then hammered again full speed on the starboard tack legs coming into the beach. The chop was pretty significant in rounds 3 & 4 so it was technical and difficult to navigate the situation. Overall, it was great racing, the best of the year so far.
- Which boards/fins did you use during the event?
FM: I used two boards for the event, the 98 and 114. Both performed extremely well in the diffuclt conditions in Fuerte. Stable, fast and accelerating well at all times. With the 98 I used a 34 fin and with the 114 I used a 38 with the 7.7 and a 40 with the 8.5 (only one heat)
- …and which ones during the winners’ finals?
FM: For R2 I was on the 114 with a 38 fin and the 7.7 sail. For R3 & R4 it was the 98 and 34 fin with the 6.9. All working really well!
- RRD riders looked like always being the fastest during the whole Fuerte event, being the reference rider for the development of RRD slalom weapons, what is your feeling looking at the overall performances of X-Fire boards under yours and your team-mates feet?
FM: Aurelio (as shaper) and I (as designer) have worked hard for several years together at the RRD factory in Grosseto to develop the X-Fire slalom range and I agree, this event in Fuerte showed the true speed of the current models because clearly Antoine and I were the fastest in the fleet, this was easy to see as we won many qualifying heats and 3 of the 4 finals. Julien was very quick as well and Fuerte is not his strongest event normally yet he has his career best finish of 6th to keep his top 3 overall ranking. That says something.
Overall, the team is strong and things are coming together nicely with the XF program after a lot of progress, new designs and testing the past several years. So this is very satisfying for me to see after so much hard work and it is great for RRD.
- Which were the tough moment of the event?
FM: There was one moment that things looked a little difficult. The semifinal of R4 I was comfortably qualifying after a bad start and had to recover some places but Pieter Bijl fell at the last mark and I went wide to avoid colliding with him. Then Jimmy Diaz snuck inside to take 4th place and he shot out of the mark with a 4 board length lead going to the finish. I realised to myself: ‘you have some work to do here, go full!’. I had a really good sensation on this run with a very good top-speed and managed to get Jimmy just before the line to qualify for the final. This was the tough moment in the event for me.
- In your opinion which was the key moment that opened the event to a great result for you?
FM: Honestly, it was the first round quarterfinal when I was on my XF 98 and 6.9 combo. I started in the middle of the line and above and behind Bjorn. Before the first mark I had rolled him straight over the top and clean. It was at this moment that I though ‘hey, I can do this’.
- When did you understand that you were in position to make something special?
FM: When I qualified for the last final I knew that I needed to make the best of this heat to go for the top and it worked out!
- How were your feelings waiting for the wind the last day of competition?
FM: Surprisingly, I was relaxed and wanting to race as I was still feeling good from the day before. But around 3pm, 1 hour before the last start, that is when I started to feel a few nerves but not nearly as much as I thought I would feel. Generally, I was having fun and really enjoyed the whole experience.
- Which are now your expectations and your goals for Turkey event and the end of the PWA slalom season?
FM: My goals for Turkey are to continue to have fun, enjoy the great racing there and see what happens. No pressure. The main point is to have fun!
Ciao and thanks again for this moment of glory you share with RRD family!
Thanks to Roberto and the whole RRD family for their support over the years!