After 30 years of a rich career, Antoine Albeau puts an end to his participation in the PWA World Tour. He who has seen several generations of windsurfers come and go, talks to Windsurfjournal.com about this decision and his future...
Windsurfjournal.com: What was the most important thing that made you decide to retire from international competition?
Antoine Albeau: I've wanted to stop for a few years. At the end of 2019, I was about to announce that it was the last season. In fact, I wasn't really watching the years go by and I was also doing a lot of things on the side. I have other projects and other interests. Building my house has already taken a lot of time, I spent three winters without really training and sailing as I wanted. 2020, there was no event, so that was settled. In 2021, we only had Israel and Marignane where I told myself I would continue the season. In addition to that, you have to know that I am in charge of the sailing school with Paola and there is a whole season to prepare. We have to look for instructors, and there is a lot of administrative paperwork to do. In 2021, I set the record for the nautical mile in Le Rouet and I won the Défi Wind SuperStars with almost all the guys in the world cup. 2022, likewise, not many events are planned so, with the Zephir Project, I really wanted to invest myself completely in it. It is a beautiful project and in 2023 there will also be a world speed championship in La Palme. This is only a PWA retirement, I'm stopping the world cup, if there's an event in France one of these days, I think I'll take part if I feel like it, but I won't follow the full tour anymore. I want to focus more on more promotional events to sail with amateurs like the Wind Challenge and all the long distance events we have in France with the Fort Boyard Challenge, the Raid La Tranche/Île de Ré, the One Hour in Italy, there is also an event in Germany. With Freddy Vallat, we are also setting up an event on the Ile de Ré, the Antoine Albeau Series, a long distance windfoil race coupled with wingfoil demonstrations. As far as the circuit is concerned, this retirement is not really due to weariness, but the 30-year history, it was perfect timing. As I put it in my social media post: 1992 - 2022, 30 years and 25 titles...
WJ: Your career is full of victories and performances. If you had to choose only one, which one would it be and why?
AA: I'm often asked this question, and it's really hard to answer because over 30 years, you have so many memories. There is no one good moment, there are several... And then you can also remember the defeats, those that were the most difficult. My first title in Denmark in 1994, it was an IFCA event where I had the slalom, the race and the overall ranking, we even won the nations' championship! At the time, we represented France with Manu Duby in the women's category, Yann Thébaut in the junior category and Olivier Augé in the masters' category while I was in the senior category. Among the highlights, there is also my world speed record in 2008 or stage victories where I won even before the end of the race. There was even a year when I was crowned world champion in slalom even before the final in Sylt. I also have fond memories of finals won on the wire against Matteo Iachino or Cyril Moussilmani, the battles with Björn Dunkerbeck. In fact, there are so many things! I also remember the Formula World Championships, the speed events in Fuerteventura. And then 2015 with the new windsurfing world speed record in Lüderitz. I also have good memories of the Aloha Classic in Hookipa, one of which I finished 5th after taking out Paul Brian, Dave Kalama (whom I beat twice) and even Josh Stone!
WJ: What is Antoine Albeau's new life going to be from now on?
Antoine Albeau: It won't be a new life because it will continue like the thread I have been following for a few years now with our activities at the sailing school and the Zephir Project, several projects that I am leading at the same time. In fact, it will be the same life but without the PWA tour, even if there have not been many events in the last two years. I'd also like to do some clinics, I'll probably organise one in Tenerife in the Canaries in February or April and why not others elsewhere, to be confirmed... And then of course, I'll continue to sail and train!
To find out more about Antoine Albeau: www.instagram.com/antoinealbeau
Source : Antoine Albeau
Photo : Carter/Pwaworldtour.com