His name is not exactly a household word, even in the windsurfing world. Though his work has been seen and appreciated by thousands, when outside the upper echelons of pro windsurfing, and the very tight clique of boarshapers on Maui, he has remained somewhat of a man behind the curtains. Over the years he has shaped boards for the best: Robby, Bjorn, Nik, Francisco and many more. He has worked under the labels of Sailboards Maui, Quatro, HiFly, and most recently has found a home at Drops. His latest divergence, SOS kiteboards, are becoming all the rage. He’s a competitor, artist, craftsman, and waterman. But lately it has been his avid ability to adapt in an ever changing industry that just might have brought out his strongest role: that of survivor.
Sean Ordonez arrived on the Maui scene in the early ‘90s—just as windsurfing’s heyday had begun to fade. While other custom board makers Have fallen by the wayside in the last decade, Sean’s star has continued to rise. It hasn’t been easy; and he’s had to compromise to pull it off. He’s come to grips with what some would call “selling out” for a major factory label. He’s had to weigh the values of friendship versus business, and lifestyle versus financial gain. He’s seen the glory days of the custom board shaper fade into a world of mass production and corporate marketing. And through it all, he’s found a way to remain true to his ideals, his dreams, and his vision for the future.
Sean Ordonez: Sorry I’m late, traffic was backed up all the way to Kula. It’s crazy, I can’t believe we’re we’re actually getting a traffic problem in Paia.
American Windsurfer: No worries, how was Jaws yesterday, did you get out?
SO: No, I’m so bummed out, I had a bad day yesterday. A bad day by comparison, I guess. It was probably a good day in most people’s eyes, but I got really frustrated. I was so pumped up from the day before that I decided to do the upwind thing, and I called a buddy of mine to do it together. But when we got to Hookipa the wind turned offshore. So we figured we’d go up to Maleko Gorge and sail up from there. But the shadow was too offshore there too. So we went up to the lighthouse, and it wasn’t windy enough, and there was so much current the water was churned up we couldn’t swim out to K-bay. So I said fuck, let’s go to Jaws and I’ll even jump off the rocks if I have to.
AW: So I take it that didn’t work.
AW: What got you so pumped up the day before?
SO: I went kiting at Hookipa. And it was fun. I mean, caught a couple of waves and it was really fun before I went in on the rocks. I was lucky because I had short lines and my stuff got drug onto dry rocks and Elliot [LeBoe] and another buddy were there to grab the kite.
AW: That helps.
SO: Anyway, I was so bummed yesterday that I literally went down to Kawasaki to price a jet ski [to get to Jaws].
SO: They’re a lot. I can’t afford 11-grand right now. I used to have a boat, but I sold it to buy molds.
AW: For Drops? They made you buy your own board molds?
SO: No, no. This was for Quatro, a while ago.
AW: Okay wait, let’s get some history here. How did you get into shaping boards in the first place?
SO: Before I came to Maui I had been living in Florida for a few years, and I used to work with Ricky Carol at Natural Art Surfboards. And we used to make Natural Art Sailboards too. He was a really nice guy, and he taught me a lot. Pretty evolved into… I was also windsurfing with him. We were both avid windsurfers and I did a trip back down to Puerto Rico to do a windsurfing contest. And I bumped into Ed Angulo down there, who was judging. Dave Kalama was there, and Kelby Anno, and Ian Boyd. And then I pretty much asked him [Angulo], “listen, I want to come out to Maui and would you be able to give me a job?” And he said, “yeah, no worries, just show up and I’ll give you a job.” So I pretty much packed up all my windsurfing gear, said goodbye to all my friends, took all of my $500, and just landed at the airport here.
AW: When was this?
SO: This was in 1991, in April. I landed just in time to see I think it was the Hard Rock contest that Polakow won. Actually, I think it was Dave Kalama, not Polakow, but then I didn’t really – I arrived straight at Hookipa and went straight out at Lanes and broke all my gear on one jump [laughs].
And then the next day I bought myself a truck for $400, you know, with all different size tires? It was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. And then I showed up at Ed Angulo’s factory and pretty much walked up to him and asked if he had some work available. And he’s like, “yeah, actually, as a matter of fact our laminator, Greg Putnam, just tore his achilles tendon yesterday at Lanes.”
Lucky for me and unfortunate for him, but I ended up taking a good paying job from the first day. He asked me if I knew how to laminate phazers, which were in fashion back then, and you know, I gotta admit to you that I fibbed through it a little bit. But I pulled it off and so that got me started.
From there I started learning the trade more and more and getting more proficient with it, and I lasted there for about two years. And then Angulo sold the factory to Jeff Timpone, and Jeff was a really good guy, but unfortunately he let me go. You could say he gave the job to a friend of his. And I was spending too much time in the water by this point. I was pretty much windsurfing all the time, so I can’t really blame him.
AW: He’s pretty much a surfboard guy, was he even doing windsurfers at all?
SO: Oh yeah. Jeff is a really good shaper, and he pretty much started being the ghost shaper for Angulo. For political reasons – it was pretty much of a hard break-up they had.
Then from there I just wanted to be a better windsurfer. I kept pushing it and in the meantime I picked up Hot Sails as a sponsor, back in the day. And then I moved up to North Sails, under the wing of Dave Kalama and Francisco Goya. So that was a really big push in my career, to have a little bit of income coming in from this.
AW: Is Francisco one of your best friends?
SO: Yeah, for sure. He’s one of my most respected friends at the time especially. We were pretty much – you don’t think much in those days, you just go and play and we were just hanging out. We would all show up, it was Francisco and Jason [Prior], and Keith [Taboul] too, he would show up in the afternoon. And we’d be windsurfing ‘til dark pretty much. Just pushing it until the last minute. So we developed a really cool friendship hanging out at the beach, you know, beach buddies.
From there I got a job, thanks to Francisco, who had tried one of my boards that I made at Angulo, one of my first new boards. He tried it and then he went up to Dave Mel, up here at the Sailboards Maui factory, and he said to him he should really hire Sean as a shaper and a glasser because at the time Dave needed one. So I pretty much walked into another good job. Dave took really good care of me and I pretty much, with the help of Francisco, pretty much we put Sailboards Maui back on the map. It had been going through kind of a slow period, and I started making boards for guys like Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Polakow, Nic Baker, Robert Teritehou, and Anders… Those were like my highlight days when I was just pushing it, and everyone was looking for something different. But I could say that all the push that I got was because of ‘Cisco and Polakow, who were trying to get me to make boards to suit their style.
AW: You were shaping for Polakow too?
SO: I shaped quite a few boards for Polakow.
AW: I thought he was getting all his stuff done in Australia – those Strapper boards?
SO: Well, at that time he was, but that was when he was going through a transition, and he was trying to set up his big international business, and Strapper had had a bit of a falling out with him. He was looking to branch out on his own anyway. I think all professional windsurfers deserve to just try every shaper’s boards. Because every shaper has a different style and every board has a different feel to it. And so at that time, a lot of riders saw that I was pushing it, and in the water a lot, and connecting with them and I was friends with Polakow and still am to this day. He’s one of my best friends, same as Francisco has been always. You know we’ve had some disagreements in business, but who doesn’t? So you could say that Sailboards Maui was a really good stepping stone for me. I helped Dave a lot, and he helped me. I think there was a good synergy of company. And I realized that I was bringing in a lot of business to Sailboards Maui, and it wasn’t really a name that belonged to me. So I really wanted to do something on my own and offered to Francisco. I said, “Hey do you want to go off and do something else, something of our own?” And he was pretty stoked on the idea. And then we got together with Jason Prior. We were so excited about it, we were like little kids going surfing together talking about putting together a… the name of the company was going to be called “Triline,” and “Trialine” or something. We were cracking up, we were having a good time. And then one thing led to another and we decided that we all wanted to sail a lot, and I was going to make the boards, and then after that we bumped into Keith, who was working at the retail shop down in HiTech. And he was a HiTech rider, and he was a good sailor, at the time. And then we said, “hey Keitho, why don’t you work with us too, and you can help run part of the like retail-style stuff and work in the business end.” And we started the thing [Quatro], and in a matter of a month we pretty much… there was a big O’Neil contest coming up…
AW: This was when?
SO: This was back in ’94.
AW: That long ago?
SO: Yeah, April ’94. Anyway, there was this big contest, and we had to set up the factory, do all the business, and make each other two boards each for the contest. We started the whole brand in a month, I made the logo and Francisco came up with the name Quatro. The idea behind the company, our agreement was that I was going to shape and build the boards, and run the factory end of the business, which whichI was stoked to do. And Keith seemed to develop a bit of an interest in being involved. And Francisco and Jason’s only interest was pretty much just to be in the water and not really be involved in the business. So pretty much, for quite a few years it was basically myself doing most of the business with Keith.
AW: All customs?
SO: All customs. And we were building up a huge Japanese clientele.
AW: I heard about this. Weren’t you guys getting like $2000 a board?
SO: Yeah, we were. I was the first company to put custom boards at $1800. I mean shoot, it’s more than worth it, you know? The chemicals we work with are life-threatening, nobody really knows the long-term effects of all this stuff. We get paid less than 30% profit from it. And that’s like how does a company survive if that’s your profit?
AW: So even at $1,800 a board, which back then was a lot of money…
SO: Even back then boards were costing me about $1,200 to make. And I would sell them sometimes for as low as $1,750, but I’d sell them to HiTech for $1,600, or $1,500. And they would mark them up to $1,800 and $2,000.
AW: They were like the most expensive boards you could buy back then? Because production boards then were around a thousand?
SO: Yeah, we were making them look good though. Because we were wrapping sandwich styro construction and airbrushing them, like polyester customs. You know, glassing them clear, polishing them. It was an intense labor of love. You know, a lot of bleeding hands and razor cuts, and fumes—getting high all night long laminating. In a little back-yard factory in Kihei.
AW: Didn’t you have a waiting list, didn’t it take a long time to get a board?
SO: Three months sometimes, yeah. You know, I wasn’t extremely organized with the business end of it. I was pretty much making for my bros and friends and a hardcore clientele of people. We were making for some of the best guys in the world.
AW: Weren’t you making a lot of them for Japanese businessmen too?
SO: Pretty much. A lot of really good Japanese riders too. It just happens that the company that promoted us in Japan is one of the biggest, oldest, and most expensive clothing companies over there. They pretty much built our name up to be THE brand. So they gave us a lot of market value in Japan. But on top of that, we had the sauce to prove that we were good—we had the ingredients. We were a bunch of young guys looking to rip it up, pushing it, experimenting a lot.
AW: And along in there somewhere you shaped that board for HiFly?
SO: Yeah exactly.
AW: How did that come about?
SO: I was pretty much just making ends meet, and I had an opportunity where HiFly was looking to get a board made, and take a rider and promote. Now, when we started Quatro, the initial idea of building Quatro was to actually build it and sell it to a bigger company that would take it over. And, to help each other’s image get to another level. Now in the midst of that, I shaped that design for HiFly to get things started with them, and basically I could see that the other guys probably got a little jealous that I was pretty much the only one that benefited from that situation. I was doing it as a shaper, not a rider. I was never a rider for them. I just shaped them a board. It was my job outside of Quatro, I just had to make a living.
AW: Who was the rider?
SO: Nobody. They just used my shaping image.
AW: I had one of those, I loved that board.
SO: Really? That was a good board. For sure, back in those days, looking back at it, I probably could have done a few things different, as far as business goes, but I didn’t know anything about it. It was a $10,000 paycheck to me. No royalties. One time only. And believe me, back in those days that money didn’t last for all the traveling we were doing. All the work I was doing slaving away at Quatro, and I was really frustrated at all the guys because part of the agreement we had had was for them to be involved. And as business progressed for them to be involved in marketing and other aspects of the business, but they were nowhere to be found. Except for Keith. So at that time, I started teaching Keith how to make the boards and work and fix dings. Keith has given me a lot of credit for having helped him a lot. Which I respect a lot. But we got to a point where all of us—our heads got a little big, and we were getting to be a little bit “prima donna.” [Laughs]. I tried to stay humble through it all [laughing].
AW: Now, were you competing all through this.
SO: Yeah, through all this time we were all competing, and our boards were winning. Bjorn won his first Aloha Classic on one of my SVF Sailboards Maui boards. Nic Baker was ripping it up, Polakow…
AW: I thought Dave Mel was shaping all these boards.
SO: No. Look on the tail, they were all mine. Dave made Francisco some beautiful boards that Francisco loved ‘til this day.
AW: Who’s shaping for Francisco now?
SO: Uh, he mainly has to stick with Sebastian Wentzel, due to marketing.
AW: The Fanatic shaper?
SO: Yeah. I must have made about four boards for Sebastian and he was always asking for more stuff from me. And then, when I was shaping for HiFly I went to a trade show and all of the sudden he’s the next shaper. I was like, “you’re a shaper now? Where’d you get that outline from?” That’s a little thing that most people don’t really know. And he can’t deny it. But you know what, I’ve really tried to stay non-presumptuous about the whole deal. I could really go around through my heart and say whatever, but I don’t want to render people. We’re all trying to make a living, and trying to promote a sport that has given us a great lifestyle.
AW: When everything went to Cobra, was that the death-knell for the custom market?
SO: Yeah. Well, it’s not the death, but it’s full circle. I saw it coming for a little while. It happened in the surfboard industry many years ago when they tried to make pop-out surfboards. It never really caught on back then, because at the time the custom industry was really strong. There was enough respect and demand for someone to personalize a board for you, to put your name on it and shape it for your style. Nowadays people don’t really care too much about it, they just think they can jump on anything and make it work for them. It’s somewhat true, but there’s probably about ten percent of the people in the world that can do that.
AW: You mean and have them still perform at their highest level on a production board?
SO: Yeah. I mean anyone can enjoy a non-unique board, and push it. But it won’t necessarily give them the tools to be the best they can be. Very few people can do that.
I think the fact that someone was trying to make some money, and sold all of our secrets for cheap to a company like Cobra, I mean there were guys like Marco Coppello going there and trying to make boards for their production market in Europe, and they showed them maybe just a little bit too much.
AW: Coppello was the first guy to shape for Cobra.
SO: Yeah. He’s an amazing shaper, he’s a really eccentric, good guy. He made Nic Baker some beautiful boards. He made some fast boards—the Coppello Red Line was Anders Bringdal’s racing line. Those were great boards. I like his lines, and the flow he has for his boards. Back in those days, there weren’t a lot of European shapers that had that feel to their boards. But now, a lot of ideas have blended in. I just feel lucky that I had a chance in the industry and make boards for so many people.
AW: How do you feel about how the industry has changed, now that the boards all seem to be stamped out of the same factory?
SO: I tell you what, I don’t bad-mouth any businessman that wants to get into our industry, and help it, and make money from it. That’s how I am. On the one hand, they’ve made the windsurfing equipment more available to everyone. But what they have also done, that they don’t realize, is by them offering so much inexpensive equipment with, I won’t say abusive labor, but I will say unskilled, untrained labor, where we have had a core bunch of people like a family unit – for example if there’s a local shaper in California, then there’s a group of guys that get boards from him exclusively, and so it keeps the stoke of the sport. Now what they’ve done by Cobra undercutting the local shapers, the local shapers go out of business, you kill the local shapers, or the local sailmakers, or whatever. You know what? You kill the industry. You might not kill the industry, but you kill the stoke. And then our industry becomes only a businessman’s political enterprise. It’s unjustifiable to make all this generic stuff that’s just copied and mass-produced. They should give credit where credit is due, money where money is due, and respect where respect is due. It’s forced shapers like myself to have to join their ranks just to make my living. So it’s a two-edged sword. Every local shaper, from Randy French to Ed Angulo, Timpone, everyone has had to join that game to stay alive. But you know what? Our market still continues to be the same size as it was 20 years ago. One of the most frustrating things that I’ve been most bummed about is the false advertising of professional riders, riding a “big name” production board that’s really my board painted a different color, and I’m only able to stick on my little logo on the tail. Thank god I was smart enough to get some pictures taken, and some people saw the truth behind all the marketing and advertising.
Cobra, I think… I love the fact that they’re making the sport more accessible to more people, but the truth is that they’re lying to people, saying that their product is so superior to any custom product. And making it so much cheaper that there’s no way in the world we can make a quality custom product for that sort of price. Now hopefully and thank god there are still a few people in the world that have the money to buy some of the custom boards that we make, which is helping to keep a lot of the custom guys in business. But look at a guy like Dave Mel, who’s had a successful custom board company for years, but now he’s had to make a retail shop and sell all these other products to get by, and he just makes a few boards a year.
AW: Yeah, I see that, but for you, isn’t it now like you’re becoming your own worst enemy by going with the Drops thing? Now you’re a shaper for a factory that puts out copy after copy or your boards?
SO: Yeah, absolutely. But that’s a forced situation. I would rather have stayed in my little company—Quatro—and kept that going, but there were too many chiefs and no Indians to compete with the production market. But I still say that to make the sport more accessible and stuff, great. But to over-saturate the core market, the shortboards, and all, by using false advertising and marketing that bites into our custom market, then that’s not a good thing for the sport. At least with Drops the marketing is truthful: I don’t own any custom boards anymore myself. The shoemaker never has shoes. My whole quiver is production boards that come out of the Drops factory. In my case I like them. And, it pushes me to try and make the production boards as good. And that’s why our boards aren’t made abroad with cheap labor. We’d like to make them cheaper to compete against them, but we have qualified workers who have been doing this for years…
AW: You mean at Drops in Italy.
SO: Yeah. In Italy.
AW: So how did the Drops deal come about?
SO: It kinda started when I was with Quatro. About 3 years ago, Mario, the owner of Drops…
AW: Wait, just to get this straight, were you shaping for Quatro when they went to factory production?
SO: Yeah. Yeah, I went to AHD with Keith, and I was making sure mine and Keith’s boards were made to spec. Yeah, I shaped an 8’2”, an 8’5”, and two freestyle boards. AHD was making the product for us and distributing it in Europe. But we were looking at possibly finding a bigger distributor, and we had an opportunity where Mario from Drops came to us and I didn’t take care of the business meeting. I was too busy windsurfing. Somehow or another Mario had flown out to Maui just to talk to us, and he got turned down without me even talking to him. He wanted to bring Quatro to his factory, he wanted to distribute Quatro worldwide when we were doing very well. I gave control to my business manager to do what he thought was adequate at the time, and I think he did okay given the situation. But that left the door open for me to do my own thing with Mario later.
AW: So a year later…
SO: A year later when things were not going so well with Quatro, Francisco had been riding for Fanatic for over a year, which he needed to do because he needed the money to do the world tour, and Quatro couldn’t afford him anymore. And I was happy for him, and it went okay for a while: he was still an equal owner in Quatro which was okay at first. But then it complicated things. But at that point in time – it was a critical point in time for all of us, we were all getting pulled apart by the industry. I think if we knew the power that Quatro had in the industry, if we knew how to run the business right, I think we could have done very well. I mean, we were right behind Roberto Ricci and JP going into Cobra. But we decided not to. We waited two years after JP.
AW: Looks like they did pretty well.
SO: You could say that. We were going in with JP to Cobra together, then we turned them down.
AW: So then you went to AHD?
SO: We went to AHD. It was an opportunity for us. You know, you make good and bad business decisions, and I didn’t make all of them. There were four of us. All of our dreams and desire was to stay together and keep the fire burning, but the truth is that we were torn apart due to our sponsors. Not that I blame our sponsors, but it just got to the point where everybody’s got to make a living. And everybody thought their worth was more than what they were making. Including myself. But at the end of the day, I realize that it’s all for the better: things happen for a reason. It was probably one of the best moves we’ve done.
Anyway, I quit Quatro, and I had the opportunity—one of Drops’ riders came to me, his name was Victorio Marcelli, and said, “hey I think Drops would be really excited to work with you.” So, after I finalized things with Quatro I went to Italy and signed on with them for a number of years.
AW: And now you’re shaping 130, 140 liter freeride boards—stuff you would never have made in your custom shop.
SO: No, I wasn’t into making that kind of boards for sure. In the past I had made some course boards and slalom boards when I lived in Florida, but nothing of this caliber in the custom market. Those boards are too expensive to make. But now that I have this opportunity it’s like a dream come true. It’s given me a chance to do a full line and use all the small-board concepts that I’ve developed, and use them in big boards.
AW: I was surprised you would know how to do it.
SO: I don’t, I wing it [laughing]. No, I knew what I wanted to do with them. Water flow theory in my mind is pretty basic. Length and volume distribution, water displacement, it’s all relatively very similar. It’s easier for someone who knows how to make a high-performance board and understands the flat spots, where to put the rise and kick, and the waterline on the rail, the tuck. How to create all of these things on a miniscule scale it’s easier to figure out when things get bigger. But it’s harder for someone who has all their life made those bigger boards to make a high-performance small board that works in mast-high conditions at Hookipa, yet still works in 4.5 weather at Lake Garda or the Gorge. That’s the advantage I have. Not to toot my horn, but the fact that I’ve done it for so long really helps.
AW: Do you think that windsurf board shapes are still evolving?
SO: They’re fine tuning now to a point where now it’s all about the little details. Thanks to guys like Polakow we’ve found a style that is fast, aggressive, very surfy. Now we’re improving the designs little by little, realizing that you have to combine everything together—like the sails affect the rocker lines a lot, the size fin, and placement—that’s only one thing. Once you start throwing two or three things in there it’s another story. I think windsurfing is still going to evolve. You see the young kids are starting to push the boards now with freestyle. They’re starting to push what we’ve done for years—sliding and spinning—they’re starting to take those boards to different levels. And they still don’t know what they want in particular, where they want the flatter parts, tuck, on a board. I’m excited to see these guys push it. These kids start taking that freestyle stuff to the waves, it’s going to develop into another sport.
AW: Like Josh Stone doing Grubbys on the face two days ago at Hookipa?
SO: That’s only the beginning. There’s so much more coming, getting influenced from other sports—skateboarding, snowboarding, all these sports are blending. I get bummed at people knocking other sports. Any water sport, any sport that brings more people to the water is good. It’s good for windsurfing, for surfing, yeah, the water is getting more crowded, but there’re more people in the world, so what can you do?
AW: How much of your business and effort now is going into the kiteboards?
SO: You could say that I’ve put a lot of time into kiteboarding. I got into it at the beginning. I was stoked on it. It’s just another feeling. My perspective on it for me as a board shaper and designer—look at it this way: you’re holding the board on the rail for the longest cutback and the longest bottom-turn you’ve ever had. So I can experiment with rail design, fin placement, rocker line, outline, tuck, in a very controlled and prolonged environment. So it really gives me a good feel for my designs. For me it’s been another stoke back into my shaping room. I’m not a traitor to windsurfing, I still love my windsurfing as much as I did on the first day, if anything now more than ever because everything I’ve dreamed of has now come together. Kiting is going to push windsurfing into new areas: shorter boards, that real special surfy feel.
AW: What do you think is happening with the kiting industry these days?
SO: Kiting is making some huge mistakes.
AW: Is kiting killing windsurfing? What about all these big name kiters that came from windsurfing who now are turning their backs on it?
SO: That is so stupid. For me kiting is just a synergy of all these sports. The one thing that I do have to say is that I think the attitude that a lot of people take, like they say “windsurfing sucks,” why does it suck for them? Because they were never proficient enough at windsurfing so they could never really be at that pro level. So they get into kiting, and within a week, they’re already doing stuff that in windsurfing it would take years. This thing, this “Windsurfing’s Been Cancelled” thing, that really pisses me off. They should leave windsurfing alone, man. Especially if you’ve done it before and you couldn’t be good enough, shut up and just do your own thing. If you like to ballet dance, shut up and ballet dance, but don’t say ballet dancing is better than something else. If you like to dangle, then dangle.
I do have to admit when I kite I try not to use lines that are longer than 20 meters. Like I use 15 and 17-meter lines to keep the kite lower. I want to keep the kite really low to the water most of the time to get the power and the feeling like if you are water skiing or wakeboarding…
AW: And more like sailing?
SO: So it’s a more windsurfing-direct feel. And I’m trying to get kites that really pivot hard, so you get this really quick response. Even with short lines and things are happening really quick, things are still not happening quick enough to really wave sail, really proficiently and good. But windsurfing is like, you sheet in and GO. You hit the lip, you open up your sail, you slide, you control, you pull it back down, you’re down the line again. Kiting it’s just like away you go, and it’s loop the kite and let’s turn and go wherever the kite kinda pulls you. You want to go off the lip, but unfortunately, the kite pulled the wrong way, two seconds too early or too late, and you missed it. But you can get some nice moments. The feeling. It can be really great. But for the average person to jump 20 or 30 feet in the air, it makes them feel invincible. Which other sport do you know you can do that? Motocross you can, but you break, you break your leg or your back like I did.
AW: You broke your back?
AW: When was that?
SO: Last year. I was motocrossing, I was really lucky. I had a compression fracture in three vertebrae: L4, L5, and L1. And I got a fractured ankle. It was stupid.
AW: Were you bed-bound?
SO: No, I was lucky, I was just walking on crutches, and the drugs were great. I stayed on crutches for about a month and just started doing a lot of rehabilitation, doing yoga.
AW: What kind of yoga?
SO: Ashtanga yoga. I do it at home in a heated room. I’ve done the Bikram’s quite a bit too, that’s really good. All exercise is derived from yoga, but pretty much just stretching, and getting back in the water is what really helped. Motocross is such high impact. You land hard, no matter how good you are, or your shocks are, your body is taking a beating.
AW: Any regrets, has it all been worth it?
SO: You know, I’ve lived my life vivaciously, just going for it. And all the money I’ve made and lost, I don’t regret a single moment. I’m still living in bankruptcy, but I love it. Credit cards are great, I love VISA. I’m not going to stop living my life. If people really think that I’m making a lot of money shaping, then they might as well. Please come and try to do my job. I live my life to play and design boards, and hopefully, dream up a better design that’s going to work better than the one before. I’m still trying to keep it really simple. I’m lucky now in that I’m able to cater to the masses in windsurfing, instead of just the technical professionals.