UK born Will Ward is a permanent resident on Fuertevnetura. With a unmistakable aggressive riding style his go for it approach is the perfect fit for Witchcraft. We caught up with Will to get the lowdown.
When and where did you start windsurfing?
I started windsurfing at 11 and it was fecking hard work. It was at Draycote Waters, a lake in the Midlands, UK.
What appealed about the sport and what’s made you stick with it?
I wasn´t really into team sports and wanted to do something on my own. My father windsurfed and he showed me how. The sense of freedom, going fast and always wanting to progress to the next level made me stick with it.
You did a bit of competition back in the day but not so much lately. How do you see windsurfing competition?
I don´t really like competing as it means sitting on the beach a lot when conditions are good.
Tell us about Fuerte and when you discovered the place.
I came on a holiday with Andy Funnel (RIP) and John Skye and never left. The original plan was to spend a year on each Canary island but that never happened.
Now a full time resident something must’ve struck a chord with you about the island. What made you decide to move there permanently?
Basically where I lived in the UK was horrible, far away from any sea and I had to get outta there. The warm weather, consistent winds and waves were a dream to me.
Does Fuerte still hold as much as interest for you these days? No itchy feet?
The place is great but sometimes you gotta leave to appreciate it again. But that is good, sometimes it is good to visit other places and be happy to come back as well.
And what about the windsurfing on the island? Talk to us about that. Is it world class all the time or do you have to wait for those special days?
That depends on what you call world class. It isn´t always mast high, cross off and 25 knots. Those days happen but not that often. However we do get a lot of good side shore riding days, sometimes with lighter or more wind and sometimes with smaller or bigger waves. I also like to sail cross on shore Punta Blanca when it is windy. The conditions on Fuerte are more spread out over the year compared to the other islands. We have a lot more spots all around the coast and most of them are point breaks with side to side off wind. Over the years you do get spoiled and don´t go out in everything.
How does it compare to elsewhere?
Considering other locations on average it is still bloody good all through the year. The world class conditions we get only a few other locations have the same. And then not more often than here either. The other Canary Islands certainly don´t get anywhere near as good wave riding conditions.
You’re known more as a wave head but have dabbled with flatter water stuff in the past. Do you only head out for a sail when conditions are pumping or are you happy to simply have a blast?
I prefer waves but also happy to have a blast or go freestyling occasionally.
Talk to us about your relationship with Witchcraft. When did that come about?
I came to Fuerte with four production boards and snapped them all in the first few weeks. I asked Bouke for help and he gave me an old used board. Later on when I did well he made me new boards.
What’s expected of you as a team rider for Witchcraft?
Go sailing and be nice to people whilst talking about the kit. Try to get some good pictures.
What do you love about WC gear and why?
It doesn´t break. I hate it when you break something in the middle of a session or even worse when you are on holiday. Witchcraft gear also just works really well.
Do you get involved with the R&D side of things or are you simply happy to just ride WC gear?
I don´t really get involved with the R&D side of things but I do indicate what I like and don´t like and then I leave it to Bouke to improve it.
What about away from the water? As we understand it you love a bit of MX? How does that fit in with your routine?
It is a good alternative when it is not windy and it keeps me fit.
Ever suffered any injuries while riding bikes?
Are you a ‘go for it whatever’ rider or do you consider other aspects; injury and time off the water for instance?
When moto crossing I am careful not to get injured. Windsurfing I take more risks.
What about daily life? Tell us a little about what you do for work? Is your job about lifestyle or do you simply grab sessions when time allows?
I have my own pool cleaning business and work in the morning. I am my own boss but also have responsibilities to customers so have to work around that. When I am on a trip my dad runs the business.
Any plans moving forwards with your windsurfing? New spots to sail or moves to stomp?
I´d like to get more consistent with wave 360s and I´d like to visit Cape Verde on a good forecast.
Final thoughts, thanks and praise?
Many thanks to Bouke, Stephen Gibson and my mum and dad.