Today, the FPT catches up with upcoming freestyler Tim Gerdes from the Netherlands! The Brouwersdam local tells us about how he doesn’t complain when it’s 4.8 or windier, the moves he is working on, and about where he sees himself in a couple of years. He also sheds some light on his recent sponsor change to Severne, as well as his early windsurfing days. Read the full interview to get a glimpse into the mindset of a rider that spends every possible moment on the water, aiming to be the best in the world in the near future…
FPT: Hey Tim, how’s it going? Enjoying your winter training so far?
Tim: Hi! Thanks for asking! Here it’s all good, after a tropical summer in Brouwersdam it’s back to normal with cold temperatures but lots of wind! Besides a little injury on my hand I am still rocking it on the water as much as possible. The winter plan is to go skiing for 1.5 months again in order to stay allround! While I am still young I think that is very important. When I get back from the mountains, I will take a look at where it’s windy, and will probably go for a 2 week on-forecast trip!
FPT: Sounds solid! You recently switched sponsors as well right?
Tim: Yes I have! When I did the FPT event in Austria this year it really made me realise how connected I am to Brouwersdam as a place and a company since I’ve worked there for 4 years now already. So, when I got back we started thinking about the best ways in which they could support me. I am really happy Severne Windsurfing came through and I have to thank Rick, Jeroen and Thewes for that too!
FPT: Great to hear! You ride your homespot together with some other exciting and sponsored riders like Tigo Kort (JP/NeilPryde) and Bodhi Kempen (Severne). How do you like sailing in such a historical location for freestyle windsurfing?
Tim: The thing is that this spot has pretty much everything. Some days out on the water here I will never forget, and it is basically a place where champions are made. I’m super happy to have the history of this place on my side!
FPT: How long have you been windsurfing for, and how did you start out?
Tim: I started when I was around 12 years old, and I have absolutely no plans to quit! My parents raised me with all kinds of sports, and together with skiing, windsurfing came out on top. With my father being an elite sailor himself I have had the perfect support since day one. I began on an old Mistral at the most gusty lake ever, until at some point we started going to a few different spots. As I was getting better, we slowly upgraded the gear and I liked it more and more.
FPT: What drew you to freestyle, and did you try out other disciplines before that? And are you still doing any of them at the moment?
Tim: Before freestyling I was all about cruising on the lakes and sea. I learned most of the jibes and how to jump first which I think is really important. Going for an AirJibe too soon is tough, you need to have good all-round skills before even trying it. What I think drew me to freestyle in the end is being surrounded by other more experienced freestylers! I’m still grateful for the boys who took me with them as a youngster. Thanks to sailing with them I have learned all my moves! So I think having freestyling friends on and off the water was key. Right now I try to be a lot in the waves too. I really like wave sailing although Holland can make you patiently wait for good conditions. Thanks to Foilstyle I get to fill those waiting periods nicely!
FPT: Yeah, we’ve seen you throwing down some serious moves on the foil!
Tim: Foilstyle allows me to be on the water twice as much. For that I like it already, but now we can also do some sick moves on it! I am interested in making new gear as well and with the discipline being young I see lots of opportunities.
FPT: Great! And what are your thoughts on Tow-in? You gave us quite a show in Austria this year!
Tim: I am sure Tow-in can be a big part of the future. A show like tricks-for-cash is perfect. Put us in a channel in some of the biggest cities, add a wakeboarding boat for a big ramp, and I am sure I will get the people’s and media’s attention!
FPT: You’ve got a super all-round approach! What is your goal? Where do you see yourself growing to?
Tim: I want to make windsurfing grow, and I do see myself as a world champion competitor in a few years.
FPT: That’s a bold and confident statement! You took part in a couple of FPT events already, how do you like competing?
Tim: It’s always something I look forward to. Just seeing the friends I made on tour is already worth it! Furthermore, you get to go to beautiful places which per definition are usually windy. My results this season were not too bad, but i’ve learned that it’s pretty easy to mess up your heat. Now that I’ve had some experience I trust myself to land my moves a lot more. A big part of it is still the opponent you get seeded with, but in the end I want a spot in the top 10.
FPT: The goal is clear! How is your sailing during competition compared to when you Freesail?
Tim: With both I am relaxed but focused on what I want to do. Staying relaxed in your heat helps a lot, so that’s something I try to be. Maybe the biggest difference is that I don’t have all the boys around me when competing.
FPT: Maybe it’s better they are not there, seeing that you guys like the risk and land moves really close to each other… What moves are you working on right now?
Tim: I just learned some of my first doubles so next sessions will be focused on the Double Culo, Double Burner and the Air Funnel Burner. For jumping moves I want to improve my Stalled Forwards, Backloops and Pushloops, although I can’t guarantee that I can keep myself from going to the next step with these too…
FPT: Of all of these, whats your favourite move?
Tim: Has to be a full planning forward loop!
FPT: Classic! What do you do next to windsurfing? How do you combine freestyle with the rest of your life?
Tim: Right now I’ve got a perfect balance. I work at Brouwersdam so I’m always near the water and my family. I work a lot to be able to get myself to all events. As we all know, windsurfing is not the biggest sport in the world, but I of course knew that beforehand. I chose to do it regardless, so I’m definitely not complaining! I’ve also started to work out a few times a week with the help of a trainer, and I already feel the difference on the water. Next to windsurfing I do normal surfing as well, and if I need to, I take the mountainbike out. Finally, I also do a lot of chilling with friends, which is very important to me!
FPT: Thanks for giving us a peek into your life Tim! We’re looking forward to seeing you on the Freestyle Pro Tour in 2023 again!