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The Athlete Story - Huig-Jan tak

Last month we introduced you to USA water-women Fiona Wylde in The Athlete Story. For this month we have the Flying Dutchman Huig-Jan Tak who just finished the International Games Italy in 2nd place. We asked him a few questions about who he is, how he got into windsurfing and what his goals are.

How did you start with windsurfing?

When I was around 3 years old, my dad took me along on his windsurf board in the warm waters of Florida. I don’t remember much now, but it must have planted a small seed somewhere in my head. After I learned how to sail in a sailboat, I quickly got on an old TenCate windsurf board with a small kids rig and sailed back and forth during warm summer days on the waters around our home.

I made my first planing meters when I was around 10 years old, and I continued to surf during stormy days with my dad. Loving the thrill it brought me, and which it still does today.

Why did you choose the iQFOiL?

So after those fun beginner years I got onto the BicTechno293 class. Loved the course racing, the fairness and peace of mind which comes with one design racing. therefore I continued the path on the RS:X 8.5 and later the 9.5 kit. In 2016 I quit racing on the international racing circuit to focus on study. 2 years later foiling was alive and kicking and I thought this would be the ideal discipline to be a weekend warrior on the national racing circuit. Got my hands on the old Neilpryde carbon foil and started fooling around with it. After a while I wanted some new highperformance stuff and managed to get it just in time for the worlds in Silvaplana in 2019. That’s when I got the serious racing bug again and wanted to compete as much as possible. So best option in my opinion was to invest in a IQFOil kit. And since then racing has been happing on a continuously evolving level.

Interview continues under the photo

What is your background in sports?

As a typical dutchie I started with speedskating in the winter months and sailing in the summer months. In between I played some soccer an did some athletics, but those sports did not really stick with me. Eventually I got hooked on the sailing and windsurfing when there was a nice storm. The speedskating got less and less because the watersport season got longer and longer.

When I was in my teens, I picked up wind skating and long boarding, perfect sports to do when conditions on the water where not superb. During my RS:X times I needed to get some cardio work in and mostly did this on my roadbike or mountainbike, but sometimes also on an

old division 2 raceboard with a homemade SUP

paddle in creeks around the farm I grew up on.

Interview continues under the photo

What is your ultimate goal (on the iQFOiL?

I never look too far ahead. My ultimate goal on the iQFOiL is to land a forward after I win the World Championships later this year in Silvaplana, Switzerland.

During the last international games, you came in 2nd place, how did you make this happen?

Well since last autumn I went fulltime on the training together with the support of the Dutch National Team. We made some solid hours on the water and pushed each other a lot. I think those 2 months in Aruba which seemed like a lot of fun were also worthwhile in the preparation of this season. Just picture training every day in champagne shower racing conditions.

Interview continues under the photo

How and where do you train?

Since autumn last year I joined the Dutch National team, with them I have already been training on some amazing locations. Although Scheveningen, The Netherlands is the home base of the Dutch Federation I haven’t sailed here yet. During the winter months we went to Aruba for over two months to train and work on our settings. Last week I had my first training session here in Holland after traveling through Europe this last spring.

What is your favorite race format? Slalom, course race, marathon?

Marathon it is! Nico, Clement and I had such an epic battle for 45min long during the last International games, the excitement and adrenaline that it gives does not get topped by any other format.

Which wind range do you prefer? 5 to 12 knts, 13 to 18 kots, 19+ knts

The more wind the bigger the adrenaline shot you get, I love it when conditions get gnarly. So let’s say life starts at 19+ knots.

Anything else we should know from you?

Although I have the Dutch nationality, I almost had a Colombian passport. I was born in Santafé de Bogotá, because my parents where working there. Sadly policy in Colombia in that time was to not give a Colombian nationality to expat kids. But the Colombian vibe still runs through my veins.

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