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Cape Town Winter NEW Cat Rugged phones ad.

It was another epic winter out in Cape Town, for anyone that has been following me on social media It would’ve been hard to miss as I spent three months there heading out in December all the way through until the beginning of March. In fact it was the maximum 90 days you’re allowed without getting a visa. It was my fifth time there for a winter trip and each year it has progressed in to spending more and more time there, it’s a place that’s hard to ever feel like you’ve had enough of. I don’t think I’m the only one with that feeling judging by the amount of familiar faces I see out there every year and this year was no exception with over 20 employees from Club Vass spending some of their winter time off out there the social programme was more hectic than ever!

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During the end of the trip I got the chance to film this advert to promote the Cat Rugged Phones S60. I have to say it was by far the highest level production I’ve been apart of which had me pretty excited to see the outcome. There’s going to be a few more versions coming out in the next few months! I love it and feel that the amount of effort that went in on the days getting these shots really paid off. More action would be sweet but hey it’s a phone ad and I’m stoked that this will be pushed out through their channels and non windsurfers will get a little taste for the sport.

Check out this gallery from the trip with some of my favourite pics! It’s hard to pick the favourite moments but Valerie’s birthday spent in this amazing place in Scarborough with some amazing friends was right up there, I’m sure you’ll be able to pick the place out as it would’ve been a tad over budget to spend the entire trip there! That along with some of the glassy morning surfs and some great sessions with just the Club Vass crew out at Doodles. Already excited to spend some more time out there next winter!



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UK Windsurfer of the year 2016

When I got my fourth nomination for the UKWA windsurfer of the year back in November I felt truly grateful for being recognised once more over a spell of seven years, but I genuinely thought that would be the only joy to come from it. The line up of other sailors and their achievements alone was enough to make me think ok fair enough, that along with the general occurrence of sailors from the racing world normally coming up trumps I really had pretty much in my head written the idea off that I’d ever be the winner. So you can imagine my surprise when I got the nod from organiser Pete Davis that it was close but I’d got it!

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Of the times I could’ve won it I really think it means more to me now than it ever would’ve before. After a disappointing season competition wise in 2015, then during the off season breaking my ankle and then losing my equipment sponsor at the last minute things weren’t exactly looking as bright as they could have going into 2016. Thankfully Simmer Style took me on to develop their freestyle range and from then on things started to get back on track. It might not have been my most successful year on the tour results wise overall but I definitely had some defining heats which feel like small victories in themselves. As I’m sure any competitor ranked similarly to me would back me up on there is no heat more nerve ranking than the first heat of the double elimination, it is somewhere that until last year and only once then I had never faltered before. If you loose your heat in the first round of the double you’re ranked 33rd and score so few points for the overall that to be frank you might as well have not bothered going to the event at all. Well that’s how it feels at the time anyway! So in Austria first heat of the double I’ve got one of the toughest potential opponents in Antoine Albert. Winning that one definitely felt good and kick started my confidence again for the rest of the year as I went on to finish 17th in that event and managed to repeat the result in Fuerteventura, again having some heats which felt like the best I’d ever put together out there. Unfortunately my running theme has been faltering once I’m more relaxed by making it to at least 17th, twice loosing with heat scores I’d easily eclipsed in my previous rounds! Check out the gallery below to see some of the scores from my heats in Fuerteventura..

 

Competition aside 2016 was another amazing year for me, to just be able to travel to these amazing spots and live this lifestyle is a dream. Huge thanks to my sponsors who make it all possible! Check out the blurb below for my full acceptance speech on winning the award!

Wow what a start to 2017! Incredibly surprised and stoked to get the news that I’d won the UK Windsurfer of the year award. To even be recognised and be up there against the other nominees was a great honour and I’d like to congratulate them for their achievements in 2016. I personally thought Ross Williams would grab it after the incredible performance he put together this year.

2016 has felt like a comeback year for me after a disappointing season of results in 2015, a sponsorship change and a broken ankle I feel very humble to be heading into 2017 with this award.

To be the first freestyler since my good friend and mentor Andy “Bubble” Chambers to win this award also feels quite special and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his support and congratulate him on his on-going achievements in windsurfing. I’d like to of course thank my sponsors Simmer Style, Club Vass, Cat Rugged Phones, Mystic, Sungod and Wideye for believing in me and making this all possible. A massive thank you goes out to my Dad Peter for getting me into windsurfing and for all the countless airport trips over the last years, also to my mum Frances, sister Camilla, my girlfriend Valerie, my best mate Jay and the rest of my family and friends for all of their support. Last but not least to everyone that voted, Thank You!



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NEW Video. Spring Break from Fuerteventura – Dakhla, Western Sahara

Everything about this trip was last minute. In April Adam Sims and I scored awesome conditions in Fuerteventura, then a week full of surfing followed by a quick flight over to Dakhla for some perfect flat water freestyle! Enjoy…….



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17th at the Surf world cup Podersdorf

Having only spent three weeks warming up on my new gear and recovering from a broken ankle back in November I definitely wasn’t at my most confident going into the event which being only one of three I knew would play massive significance on the years rankings. The recovery from my ankle injury hadn’t been as straight forward as I’d hoped and still even during my final training trip it had been causing me plenty of grief. However with my mind set to positive and after feeling very comfortable on my new sails I was hoping I could start to show some form again.

After a windless event last year we were definitely due some wind and oh boy did Podersdorf deliver, the first day provided some of wildest conditions I’ve ever sailed a heat in and It was mental!!!  Nearly everybody was on their absolute smallest gear and to be honest I was really struggling; my first heat was a bit of a disaster against Riccardo Marca, I was so knackered for the last few minutes that I couldn’t complete enough clean moves. Fair play to Ricky however he’s been looking real good all winter and put together a solid performance! The wind didn’t back off the entire day so even after crashing out of the single elimination early I knew there would be an opportunity to redeem myself in the double elimination later that day. After heading home to rest up a bit I came down to watch the final heats and also check the draw for the double, there are no “easy” heats these days but the double elimination gives you a chance to go up against guys who were knocked out in the same heat as you were in the single elimination. When I saw the draw I have to say I was less than impressed with who I’d have to face.. I was up against Antoine Albert from New Caledonia who is a seriously dangerous opponent. I’ve sailed against him three times in the last two years and fortunately for me my string of finding some good form against him continued and I put together one of my best heats of the event. I desperately needed that and the confidence gained there went a long way towards helping me sail another solid heat. I was up against Yuma Kobayashi that evening as we continued to run the double elimination, the sun was setting, it was bitterly and I was still hanging on to my 4.0. They were desperate to finish as much as possible with the wind significantly lighter for the coming days and after advancing my heat against Yuma to take me into 17th place completely exhausted the prospect of being on the water at 6am the following day against Youp Schmit on a 5.3 wasn’t desperately exciting.

So there we were at 6am the following morning and the wind was right on the edge of being enough and it wasn’t looking promising to start with, as the morning went on and thankfully the temperatures increased a touch the wind started to pick up. In the first attempt of my  heat I started great and felt like I had an advantage before the heat was cancelled just two minutes before the end, I was quite dissapointed but fair enough as the wind had really started to tail off. On the second attempt it really didn’t go my way and my performance was summarised on my final attempt of a move in which I sailed away from but landed really awkwardly on my bad ankle. The adrenaline meant that it didn’t feel too bad to start with but by the time I got back to the beach I was already struggling to walk, Youp and I clambered out together as he had also sustained a muscle injury the previous day.

I was sacred at first that I’d done some serious damage and after my first consultation with an orthopedic surgeon he did mention that surgery could be on the cards, as he assesed it further it became quite clear that in Maui where I first had the injury they had missed that fact that I had ruptured a major ligament the Syndesmosis. He concluded that surgery wouldn’t be necessary as the joint was stable enough but there were some boney growths amongst the ligament that were causing the body alarm whenever the ligament came in to use. I felt relieved to know that there was a reason why my recovery had been more complicated than I expected but also a bit pissed off that they missed that even after I’d had an MRI scan in Maui. Hoping that with plenty more Physio though I can continue to a full recovery! Still though feeling quite satisfied as 17th is a solid start to the year and it felt great to regain that winning feeling!

 

 

 



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10 days of windsurfing and 40 days of hopping around in Maui

 

Well this time it wasn’t to be my most successful trip to Maui…. Everything started off just perfect, it was windy everyday and after not sailing much at all during the end of the competition season I was feeling really motivated…… Unfortunately though 10 days into the trip during a jumping session at Sprecks on my freestlye gear I had a freak accident where I ended up having no idea where I was in the air and came down very flat on my front foot…. consequently breaking my right ankle… Full story of how I managed it and the drama around it can be found in this article I did for Boards magazine… http://boards.co.uk/news/injury-update-max-rowe-broken-in-maui.html#HOewlSPkkJHpzMYw.97

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Fortunately it was a very simple break, no surgery required and I didn’t even need a cast. I was however inhibited with a moon boot under the instructions of not to bear any weight on it for at least 4 weeks. I contemplated coming home but had already got quite settled in Maui and paid for all my accommodation etc..  Thankfully my girlfriend Valerie was with me. She took amazing care of me and without her there I would’ve had no choice but to head back to England. I was pretty gutted about the whole thing and I think staying in Maui and experiencing that relaxing lifestyle everyday definitely helped me with the mental aspect of being injured. Very early on I was able to get assisted with some rehab at the Deep Relief centre in Haiku which got me well on the way to a quicker recovery. I’d never experienced a serious injury from windsurfing before so I guess I’ve been pretty lucky until now, it’s also got me very focused now on my training and what I need to improve on physically to avoid it happening again.

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Thanks to the help from everyone at Deep Relief I was lucky enough that I could spend my last 10 days actually walking around without the crutches or boot; even though the nervous doctor I first saw had recommended walking with the boot until the 11th January…… I knew windsurfing would be beyond me for a few more weeks at least but I couldn’t resist getting back in the water so I decided to take up body boarding on my mini-mal. It’s amazing how an injury can make you really appreciate even the simplest of things that you would normally take for granted. Currently I’ve made it out to Cape Town where I’ve managed to progress slowly from body boarding back into a bit more windsurfing, I’m still not at 100% but I hope to be in another couple of weeks. More news coming from here shortly…

 



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9th Place at the EFPT DAMX event in Brouwersdam

After arriving in Holland straight off the back of 10 windless days at the PWA event in Sylt everyone attending the European Freestyle Pro Tour (EFPT) event was getting pretty desperate for some wind. Most of us including me hadn’t even been windsurfing in the past month due to the lack of wind in Europe. The opening day of the event was looking marginal but still quite promising on the forecast however it wasn’t quite to be as we only managed to run a couple of heats and spent the rest of the day hanging around on standby with it never getting quite windy enough.

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After the let down of the first day it was starting to look more and more likely that we would be left without a result.. There was a small chance that the final day would be windy so we all hung on to that hope and in the meantime continued with what we’ve become very use to at windless events; Tow in!! Tow in windsurfing really kicked off my first year on tour five years ago and since then has become more and more a regular feature at every event. It’s a great opportunity to be able to show the crowds what would be possible when we don’t have wind and due to it not being limited by the unpredictability of the wind then you can understand why event organisers are pushing for more and more of it. I’ve always taken a pretty laid back approach to it and normally just partake to make sure I at least get one picture from the event, however now with the amount of prize money that’s starting to become available and a real kind of challenge from many lower ranked guys for the top spots its left me reconsidering my approach. With that in mind and whilst trying to not be too concerned that the only windsurfing I’d done in the past month had involved me being propelled by a jet ski, winch or a boat I set out in Brouwersdam to make a bit more effort to explore the possibilities of some different moves. To be honest I’d been boring myself with the kind of standard moves I normally result to during the tow in and although these safe options have seen me in some finals and on top of the podium at national events they’re never going to be enough to win events. Inspired by my good friend Adam Simms’ victory in Sylt I set out on a mission…. Ok it didn’t go very well at all as I didn’t even qualify for the final but I at least felt like it was a start in the right direction and it was so much more fun to try some different things.

Windsurfing holland tow inI was quite skeptical personally but there was a bit of a buzz around the event with all hopes pinned to the last morning. Thankfully it actually came through even better than had been forecast and come the 8:30AM skippers meeting we were straight out on the water. There was just one downside… It was absolutely freezing!! With the windchill it felt around 2 degrees. So with the winter gear on I went out and was very happy to advance my first heat against a very tough opponent Antoine Albert from New Caledonia. After that I was straight up against the newly crowned freestyle windsurfing world champion Dieter Van Der Eyken and although I sailed a good heat it wasn’t quite enough to take down the champ. Unfortunately with the wind dropping in the afternoon we could only complete the single elimination so I finished the event in 9th place which after a disappointing season competing I was pretty happy to add another single digit number to my European tour results. This will be my last EFPT event this year so I end up with a 5th from Milos beach and the 9th here in Holland. Huge thanks to Ric Jendrusch and the rest of the crew in Brouwersdam for such a professional and well run event!



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PWA Sylt and the end to a disappointing season on the world tour

               

Considering that there’s been no updates on here to do with the PWA Freestyle world tour is a little bit of a giveaway for how its been going for me this year. I’ve never been very good at writing about events when they haven’t gone my way. This year the tour finished off in Sylt with the what would be the second event of the year for the freestylers that ended without contestable conditions. Leaving me in 29th place overall…  Going into the year my aim was to hold out my position in the top 16 that I’d held on to for the past three years and start edging closer into that elusive top 10. Unfortunately I think now looking back I wasn’t nearly focused enough with my sailing in the winter time to really back this challenge up. I spent a lot of time sailing in the waves over the winter and I definitely let this take over a bit at times, this could of worked out well but I think I was using a lot of my energy to push myself in the waves but then really taking my foot off the gas with the freestyle. With the progressing level on tour at the moment its just not possible to keep winning heats if you don’t improve over the winter, its that classic scenario of younger guys coming on tour and really pushing hard. I feel like I’ve had some bad luck to go along with this but it would be too easy to focus on that. I’ve also had some great heats in Fuerteventura in the second elimination where I felt like I was sailing the best I ever had there but still overall it just wasn’t enough. I’m just trying to learn from this season as much as I can and now take that into the winter with me and start really focusing myself a bit more to try and get my level up to where I’d like it to be.

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Fortunately the Jet ski’s were on hand in Sylt to make sure we at least had some action, the tow in has been non stop given the lack of wind. Actually the last six weeks have been a disaster for me in terms of wind, I was sitting there in Sylt and realised that actually the only windsurfing I’d done since I left Greece at the end of August has involved being propelled by a jet ski or boat.. Its nice that we have this option at events but really now praying the wind picks up a bit for my last few weeks in Europe this year. The Tow-in of course has been hot discussion at the events between the competitors, personally I really feel that its a great show and still could be a great show if they didn’t have such a flat format for the competition that results in serious amounts of repetition and waiting around in between runs, going to be interesting to see how this progresses in the future. Anyway its not quite all over yet, currently in Brouwersdam, Holland for my last European freestyle pro tour event of the year; forecast doesn’t look too promising but we could still compete. Also the British championships are still to come at the end of the month in Weymouth. Massive Thank you to my sponsors for their continual support, Fanatic, North Sails, ION, Cat Phones, Sungod and Club Vass.

 

 



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NEW Video

Myself and Adam Sims traveled to Dahab, Egypt together back in March, we scored some unbelievable conditions and even managed a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon. Whilst I was out in Vass last month working as a windsurfing instructor for Club Vass Adam came out for a couple of weeks, we realised it had been 10 years give or take since we began freestyle windsurfing… Hence the name 10yearsOn!!!



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Back to Dahab

So I had three weeks spare, was in need of some flat water and on a bit of a budget… Fuerteventura crossed my mind but I wasn’t that certain on the reliability of the wind this time of year and Cape Verde was a bit out of my price range. Turned out Egypt was an absolute no brainer; no hire car costs, no faffing around rigging up, reliably windy and cheaper than ever. I hadn’t been to Egypt in nearly four years apart from a little one day work adventure to Cairo a couple of years ago from Greece with my mate Edd to drop some equipment off for the centre Club Vass used to have in Dahab. Anyway, I wasn’t really sure what to expect given that the mainstream media have been scaring all the tourists away from the Sinai for the past couple of years but I was still amazed at how quiet it is in Dahab. Its quite sad to see given that its a town that survives solely on the back of the tourist trade. At the same time it hasn’t lost any of its charm and the lack of a couple of thousand people hasn’t done anything to damage the amazing conditions this place has to offer. We couldn’t have really asked for more of the wind and everyday without was a welcomed rest day. I must of sailed on either my 4.0 or 4.4 90% of the time!

I have to say even though it sounds pretty bad that it felt like a real luxury having all my kit rigged up ready to go down on the beach and although not owned by Club Vass anymore the centre now named Dahab Stars is looking great and is still being run to an incredibly high standard. There’s still also a lot of familiar faces around that anyone who’s been to Dahab before will recognise, including Salama, Ahmed, Kamal and big Dahwood.DCIM116GOPRO

The Blue lagoon has been catching a lot of attention in the windsurfing media recently mainly thanks to the fact its gone from being a completely remote location into the first ever flood lit night windsurfing resort!! Its is also even more accessible than before with the option of a 45min boat trip up the coast to get there although it does get a bit bumpy, we actually opted for the scenic camel trip back after a “small” sea sickness incident on the way up! Pretty much a very nice German guy named Steve has invested a fair bit of money into making the place self sufficient power wise, there’s about three solar panels and a mini wind turbine and even though you still sleep with a blanket on the floor it even boasts a wifi hotspot. The spot really is pretty magical; I stayed up there for two nights together with my girlfriend and Adam Sims and the Bedouin boys Mahmoud and Santos really looked after us. Everything was arranged for us we just had to turn up with some water and couple of days worth of snacks.  Unfortunately most of the pics from there were too good to go straight online, hoping we can get a couple printed so stay tuned for them. We also unfortunately missed out on the night session as we were fast asleep and broken after sailing for five hours on our 4.0’s that day….. May regret that one but sure I’ll be back at some point. For now just a selection of my best shots from the trip, huge thanks to Lizzie Baillie. Also a massive thank you to Dahab Apartments for having us, be sure to look them up if you’re going to Dahab!  DCIM116GOPROIMG_7292  IMG_7455

 



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Cape Town done for another year!

It was my fourth time visiting Cape Town for the winter season and this place always seems to deliver. Its way more than just the amazing conditions that we got again this year; the whole vibe of the place is just hard to beat. More commonly known as a spot for the wave sailors to visit Cape Town has now started attracting freestylers in the masses, one morning on the lake this year we counted 13 of the worlds top 25 on water!! In the past for me out there the freestyle sessions had tended to take the back seat however this year with that kind atmosphere on the water it was pretty hard to avoid the lake sometimes. Saying that we definitely didn’t have the best season for combined swell + wind, with it being a little bit all or nothing; which did lead to a few good riding days up the coast but also a lot of scavenging for waves at the end. In true last minute fashion I left what I really wanted to achieve in the waves right until the end of the trip. The pushloop has been haunting me for a while now but I was determined to crack it this year which ended up with me sailing around an extremely flat Big Bay on the last day of the trip nailing myself until I landed a couple. After all it was actually quite straight forward just like I’d been told…… so hopefully with a bit more practice I might be able to throw a couple into my heats this year. Overall the trip was amazing, I definitely feel like I made more of the surrounding areas in this beautiful country this year after doing a bit more exploring up the Garden route and I even got to surf J-Bay!!  For now the winter continues for me in Dahab, Egypt where I’ll be for the next few weeks until the North/Fanatic photo shoot begins in Maui at the start of next month. Here are some of my best shots from the trip to Cape Town. By the way the blank white sails I’m using in the waves are the 2016 Hero prototypes and they’re feeling unbelievably good!!

Pool chilling Forehead cut Witsands Witsands Big Bay Paternoster Lions!  Paternoster Langebaan air funnel Langebaan air funnel Freestyle at Brandvlei Surfing Derdesteen