Philip Soltysiak

Philip Soltysiak :: ripper of the month

In the following interview we introduce Philip Soltysiak from Toronto/CANADA. Philip is a world-class freestyle windsurfer, he is currently ranked #6 on the PWA freestyle world tour.
After finishing the event at Lake Neusiedel/Austria in 6th place, Philip stayed in Vienna where we had the chance to meet up with him at Danube River. Together with his friends he scored a nice freestyle session at Vienna's urban windsurfing spot called "the Bridge".

Philip - under the bridge - Vienna/Austria :: Copyright hauft.at

Let´s start from the beginning, when and how did you start windsurfing?
I started windsurfing when I was 10, so in the summer of 1997. My parents both windsurfed and they got me and my brothers a kids rig and we all learnt with the kids rig and our parents original Windsurfer board.

Who did you admire in the windsurfing scene and who influenced you to become who you are today?
I’m influenced by the people that I sail with. Every day it is somebody else, but those are the people that make you enjoy your session and push you.

Philip at Lake Neusiedel/Austria
Philip ripping at the PWA freestyle event on Lake Neusiedel/Austria :: Copyright PWA/Carter

You are a pro windsurfer and participate on the freestyle PWA worldtour since 2007. Currently you are ranked #6 in the world, your best achievement so far. How do you summarize your past 5 years on the tour, what has changed for you between now and then. What's your key to success ?
From my first year on tour up until this one things have been progressing very consistently for me. Of course I always wanted better results, and to improve from one contest to the next. I knew my windsurfing was improving, sometimes it did not show in results, but over the long run after many contests and many eliminations I was always glad to see my name moving up on the results list. I finished my first 2 years on tour in 17th overall, then 10th overall in 2009 and 6th overall in 2010. So far this year I am still ranked 6th overall. I think the main key to improvement apart from windsurfing a lot and learning new moves is that I am comfortable competing, I am accustomed to how the heats run, what the judges look for, and most importantly how to prepare myself mentally for a competition.

What freestyle moves did you work on lately and just crossed off your todolist ? Do you have a signature move?
I was out sailing today, but I didn’t land any new moves. I really enjoyed doing kono’s, culos, shove-it spocks and flaka into flakas today. Every day I have a few different moves that click, and if you land one sick you just want to do it over and over. So every I feel like I have a different signature move.

Philip under the brige
Under the bridge :: Copyright Hauft.at

Where do you want to see your freestyle windsurfing progress?
I think it’s going in the right direction, we see more emphasis on power moves that can impress an audience, we have more international events on the world tour and we can entertain a crowd with tow-in if the weather is not co-operating. It would be cool to see more contests worldwide at the EFPT level with a bit of prize money, because at every spot there is a local talent that is killing it and they deserve a chance to compete, make some money, and a chance to move on to the world tour.

Your are the only rider on the tour on Sailworks, a well know sail-brand in the US with its roots in the Columbia River Gorge. Your are ripping on the #1 constructor Starboard and Makani Fins from Canada. How do you appraise the importance of your equipment on your road to success and are you somehow involved in the further development process of it?
Yes equipment is a really big key to success. There is no doubt about that. I am involved with the development of the sails I use, the Sailworks Revolution. The last years I’ve been completely stoked with how the sails have been performing, and the really cool thing is if you rig them on a different mast or with different downhaul/outhaul tensions they can feel either like a dedicated freestyle sail, wave sail, or stable high-wind freeride sail. The last years I’ve like my sails so much I even feel a bit affectionate to them. Of course they are working really well with the Starboards and Makani Fins, it is clear both companies have put a lot of R&D into their equipment as everything is working great as a package.

River rippers is strongly focused on river windsurfing, what rivers did you sail so far and how do you experience it compared to sailing the ocean or a lake ?
I’ve sailed on the Columbia River and the Danube. The cool things about rivers is that they often create a funnel effect, which you don’t get on an ocean or lake. There is also a stronger current in play than you would find on an ocean or lake. I like that we windsurfers have a variety of places we can sail; rivers, lakes, oceans.

So now that you stay in Vienna , how to you experience this urban spot in downtown Vienna?
This spot is really cool. The wind around the Vienna area is mostly either NW, which is good for the lake, or SE which is good for under the bridge. If I wanted to I could even take the underground to the sailing spot under the bridge. It’s a cool little freestyle scene here, because you normally wait for a gust to come down the river, and if it’s busy a line forms by one wall, until the gust funnels under the bridge and everybody goes off planning to the other side to do their moves. It’s a cool style of sailing. I need to thank all the local riders here that showed me the bridge and let me sail here, because of course it’s actually a local secret spot.

Your interests beside Windsurfing ?
I study a bit on the side to slowly get my university degree, I don’t know if I would really call that an interest though. I’m more interested in doing other sports too, like skiing or mountain biking.

Either / or:

Twinser or Quad?


Kiri style or Gollito style?

Golito style!

Barefoot or booties?


Rock or Rap?


Tatoo or not?


MAC or PC?


Single or taken?


Finally, lets have a look into the future. What plans do you have for the rest of the season 2011 and beyond ?
At the moment we have a lot of contests coming up on the PWA World Tour: Bonaire, Aruba, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Aftewards I plan to go to North America to test some sails, maybe compete at the AWT in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, then compete in Sylt and afterwards a mix of visiting new sailing spots and going back to old favorites.

Philip's sponsors:





Many thanks to Philip for beeing ripper of the month and to Felix Hauft for providing this exceptional video footage!
For more please visit Philip's new website:/www.philipsoltysiak.com and www.hauft.at

Philip somewhere on the PWA tour
Copyright PWA/Carter

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Author: Administrator