The iQFoiL World Championship in Silvaplana is kicking off today! At the last contest in Garda the Dutchman, Huig Jan Tak finished in 2nd place and impressed us with his consistent foiling and tactical race skills! We caught up with Huig and asked him a few questions before the biggest event of the year!
HI HUIG! YOU HAVE BEEN COMPETING IN DIFFERENT SAILING CATEGORIES. HOW DID YOU START YOUR SAILING CAREER?
When I was 6 years old I started sailing optimist. I joined some national teams and did this for 9 years. When I was 14 I changed to the 420 class and did that for a year.
When I was 8 my dad taught me windsurfing for the first time. It was exciting and scary but when I was 10 I got hooked. I always went storm chasing with my dad when there was wind next to competitive sailing. During a 420 contest, there were also Bic Techno’s racing on the same contests and the whole day I was just watching them instead of focusing on my sailing so then I thought maybe better to change to windsurf competitions. That is how I got into windsurfing racing mode! Later I changed over to RS:X and I joined local slalom contests. I made my own team in RS:X and my team mate his dad was our coach. It went pretty well but I stopped RS:X in 2016. After that, I won a few Kona world championships and enjoyed that a lot! In my free time, I did some waves and freestyle. I also did some race boat sailing. In general, I sailed many different types of boards and boats, and I feel that has helped me a lot to be where I am today.
HOW DID YOU SWITCH FROM DOING RS:X TO BEING AT THE TOP OF THE FOILING GAME? TELL US ABOUT THE ROAD TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW.
The foil chapter started in 2018! I converted a formula board into a foil board and in 2019 I got Dutch champion and got Rapsody Yachts as sponsor. They kick-started my racing with super fast phantom gear. In 2020 I went to Silvaplana at the World Championship in the first iQFOiL contest. I did pretty well. I was surprised. I guess somehow foiling suites me. In Garda later I got 3rd place and then I realized it’s time to do foiling full time!
HOW MUCH CAN YOU TUNE AND MAKE THE GEAR BETTER THAN OTHERS IN A ONE-DESIGN CLASS AND HOW MUCH IS ON THE SAILOR‘S SKILLS AND WEIGHT?
I love one design because the competition is really close. We are on the same gear, even though you can still tune a lot of things to make it suit your style. One class design gives me peace of mind because if I am not performing I know I need to work on myself instead of buying new equipment all the time.
About the weight, in RS:X, you should be lighter, and in foiling it’s okay to be a bit heavier. For me, it’s good as I am pretty big. iQFOiL shows a broader range of weight where you can perform with the gear. From 80-95 kilos should be fast in the men’s racing I think. Each weight has its advantages and disadvantages in different situations. That is already a big gain from the RS:X as I think the weight window was narrow.
WHAT IS YOUR MAIN GOAL IN THE IQFOIL RACING?
1st place in the World Championship in Silvaplana!
ON A GOOD WINDY DAY, WILL YOU STILL BE OUT THERE FOILING?
On an epic windy and wavy day you will see me ripping in the waves on my wave kit! Wave sailing is and will always be my biggest love in windsurfing!
WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIP TO BECOMING A GOOD FOILER?
To be a good foiler you need to get in touch with your feeling senses and board feel. I got a good board feeling through all the different disciplines and different boards. Train as many different things and just feel. Don’t think or use facts all the time, just really try to feel!
DO YOU HAVE ANY GOALS TO COMPETE IN THE PWA WORLD TOUR ALSO?
I did my first PWA Slalom in Croatia and it was a blast! Unlucky for me we were racing more on the fin than on the foil! But I´m looking forward to doing more events on the Tour.
ARE YOU BEST AT TECHNICAL OR TACTICAL?
I think I have a good mix, but I am not that strong on the physical side yet, but I am working on it!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING BESIDES FOILING?
Next to foiling full time, I am helping out my parents on their organic farm where they grow vegetables. So I am also a kind of a windsurf farmer!
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE WINDSURFING IDOL?
No doubt, it is Josh Stone! The reason is that I met him already when I was 6 years old! Before that, I saw him on TV and the PWA recap of 1997 where he was ripping in the waves! It was just awesome! When I met him he signed my poster, and it’s still hanging on the wall! Josh Stone, he is the man!
GOOD LUCK IN SILVAPLANA IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HUIG!
Photos by: Rommert Schrijver and Martina Orsini.