Interview with Marcilio “Brawzinho” Browne
If I was a young kid making my first steps in this amazing sport I would have probably covered my room walls with his posters. I would dream that one day I could hit the lip and engage myself in double rotations and that I could combine his style of vertical riding approach with insane tricks on the surf.
Celebrating the second birthday of this blog I did an interview with a former freestyle world champion who is now taking aerial surf moves to another level. One of this blog’s absolute favorites… Marcilio Browne!
Brawzinho, you are among the top riders at the moment .How do feel about the job aspect as a pro windsurfer and what are some of the sacrifices your job requires?
It’s a great job and I think there is nothing to be complaining about. There are for sure a few sacrifices like everything else. I would say mostly we spent a lot of time on airplanes, waiting around in airports, not always good conditions where we go, but that’s all minor things. What I feel that affects me the most is being away from my family for a longer amount of time.
I love onshore, grew up on a bump and jump place, always had a great time sailing on those conditions, especially when the wind is strong. Onshore gives room for trying a big variety of things, not only in the air, but also wave riding. In my opinion back side waveriding is so fun and a bit underrated by most people.
Some days ago I showed one your videos to some surfers/snowboarders. This clip blew their mind! They couldn’t believe that this sport is so underestimated. They had the impression that windsurfing is all about uphauling a sail and then falling into the water. What’s wrong with our sport? Whose fault is this?
I have no idea. I have tried many different sports and windsurfing is for sure the most fun I have ever had. I think we still have a big group of dedicated windsurfers from all over the world for sure and in my opinion it’s just a matter of time until windsurfing goes huge again, it’s to fun not too.
I have been trying this move a lot during the past 3 or 4 years , and coming from freestyle it was a bit more natural for me , as we did so many air flakas , training and competing , so it was a matter of placing and timing it right on the wave . There is still a lot to improve , I saw Levi almost land a 1 handed one last year , people trying tweaked ones , trying them coming out of a more vertical button turn is difficult as well .
What about the double air takas?
I think they are makable and I don’t know why I haven’t tried it more. I will for sure focus more on it again as soon as conditions get good. The wind has died a bit now in Maui, so I will be going to Chile for December. But hopefully conditions will be right and I can start trying them again when I get back here.
You’re one of the few riders to land push forwards on both tacks. What’s your success rate?
I think for that move it’s all about the conditions. Having strong winds and good ramps is everything; I have landed a few during the same sessions when it was like that. On the other hand , I have spent days trying it when it wasn’t that windy , or waves were to small and all I did was slapping my back and my head really hard on the water . So now I try to wait until conditions are right to practice them.
Detailed specs of you 2 most used wave boards (volume, length, max width, width at 30cm, rocker line, and distance between straps)
Probably my Hookipa boards, they are like 79l and 86l (ed: Brawzinho is 1,88 m and 85 kg). They might have a bit more rocker than production, but not much, and maybe a bit softer rails. Length and width is pretty similar. When it’s only down the line I use my stance a bit wider, like 23 inches (58,5 cm), but if there is jumping as well I use them narrower. They feel great now, myself and Francisco have been working on some boards lately that turn great but they are a lot faster that what I used to ride. I am happy because I feel like more and more I can ride similar boards for side shore and onshore.
How do you rig your Goya Banzais?
I prefer to use a smaller sail with a full set up than a bigger sail rigged more flat. So I make my sails more baggy, specially on the outhaul. If the wind picks up a put more tension on it, but I try to play more with the downhaul. I always like to use the outhaul the same, when it just touches the boom a bit.
Length of your harness lines.
Multifins have dominated the rear end of almost any pro’s board nowadays. What configuration seems to work best for you? Pls state your fins length, flex, placement between front ‘n rear, toe in (if any), what fin system are you using and if you’ve ever tried asymmetrical fins.
I use quads right now most of the time. I ride normally 14,5cm on the back and 9cm in front , and normally I like them 3 fingers apart( a bit closer together if the waves are smaller ) . My fins are not super flexi, just a bit more on the tips. I am working on some new stuff with Pio right now; they are maybe a bit narrower and longer tips. I like to use normally bigger fins compared to most people at my size.
Same as anywhere else. Check how the currents move, check where the rocks are, can’t go out if there are more than 10 surfers and be aware to avoid accidents as there are usually a lot of people out. Apart from that is all good, gets easier once you get more used to it.
You’re a part of the MPG team. Which workout routine are you following when you’re at the gym and how many hours do you usually windsurf per day?
We trained a lot during last spring, now I am having a little break from it, but might start over again soon. I used to do it 3 times a week and 2 hours per session. The routines were very different, each day was a new thing and I felt great after a few months doing it.
You’ve been chosen to compete at the Red Bull Storm Chase. With what equipment are you gonna chase the storm and how comfortable are you feeling at the 50+ knots zone?
I guess 72 and 79l boards and from 3, 0 up to 4,2. That should cover it. I am definitely not super comfortable, but I will try my best, hahahaha. We have had a few sessions with over 60knots this year in Pozo, so that was good practice I think .
I have the impression that riding giant waves for many athletes is more like a statement to their sponsors rather than a true soulful session in the ocean. Do you really enjoy riding big waves? Do you think that JAWS would be that crowded if there were no cameras?
I think it would be crowded for sure. That wave can be so fun and so scary at the same time. After finishing a long day there and catching a few good waves, it feels nice, some of them are perfect and glassy. None of my sponsors have ever given me any pressure to go there at all. I guess most people who go just want to see what it feels like and get that adrenaline rush for a few seconds, it’s for sure one of the best waves in the world when its good .
Is it that scary and how do you overcome the fear factor?
It was very scary and still is every time. I just go on my own time and take small steps. Some guys are going crazy there and trying some amazing things, but they also pay the price some times. I just try to respect my limits, take it slowly and try to go a bit deeper each time.
This time of year is manly the period of test and development of each brands next year’s product line? It’s obvious that you are not supposed to reveal details about your sponsors’ future concepts but could you roughly tell us what shall we expect in general?
I think we are improving what we already have, we have been working on the Banzai and making small adjustments to it and also working on the waves boards, mainly I have been trying different quads and thrusters. It’s good to do that in Maui as the conditions are so consistent, so we can try things over and over, day after day and really take the time when testing. I have been learning things about my gear and some improvements have been done for sure.
Watching snowboarders like Travis Rice or motocross riders like Travis Pastrana hitting huge kickers and landing massive jumps like there’s no tomorrow makes me wonder. Are we windsurfers playing it a bit safe?
Those guys are crazy for sure, some of the things I get scared just by watching on TV. I don’t know if windsurfers are being safe (maybe not as crazy as the moto/snow guys, for sure they have way more accidents ) , I think some stuff is also crazy , like people trying triples, stalled doubles , that’s risky too, if done on over 50knots of wind you can really get hurt . On windsurfing every time you try a jump is different, the ramp, the gust, the angle, so it’s a bit harder to practice the same move over and over on a similar ramp. So , I don’t think windsurfers are being safe , maybe they are not as crazy as those guys , but still some amazing things on a different way, we land on water and they land on the floor.
At the beginning of your professional career you were mentored by one of the most progressive riders windsurfing has ever known, Kauli. Nowadays you’ve teamed up with one of the most stylish, Levi. What are each one’s strong points?
I think both are super strong and influenced the sport a lot. Kauli has done probably the best rail to rail wave riding I have ever seen, he is also super creative and tuned with his gear. Because of him I think windsurfing got closer to surfing, when he came up with the twin, than on with the quads, those things allowed windsurfing to go to a new level. Levi is a super stylish rider, he has pushed some moves to new levels and have done some very unique things over the years, like his tweaked airs, wave 360’s and really good combos on waves. I think his style sets him apart from the others.
What do you think about the RS:X class? Have you ever watched an Olympic race? If you could change something concerning the equipment or the race format what would it be?
I haven’t watched it to be honest , nothing against RS:X , I just don’t really stop to go watch the Olympics, if I am home not doing much than I will sit and watch , but I don’t usually plan it, and it never happened to open TV and the RS:X was on . But I think is great , I don’t know much about it, but I think those Formula Windsurfing guys have better gear , so I don’t know , maybe would be cool if Formula went on to the Olympics…
Is out there someone who still inspires you?
Lots of people, : Kauli, Ricardo, Goya, Keith, Victor, Phillip , JP , Levi ….. Kelly Slater, Travis Pastrana ……
It really depends on the conditions. The basic tip I could say is to always open hands far apart on the boom, and try to keep the pressure on the front foot. But again, every wave is different, every spot is different, so just have to adapt. When is more side shore you can kind of keep your back hand closer and lean even more forward, making the sail more neutral and using the power of the wave. When it’s more onshore you really have to open the clew as much as possible so you don’t lose speed or get back winded, it’s also a bit harder to lean forward as much.
What music psych you up?
I like a bit of all, mostly rock, Led Zeppelin , Offspring , Men at Work , Nirvana … and some newer bands. I am really bad at keeping names of songs, so I am not sure about how my playlist would be. I just like to listen to random things, always put the iPod on shuffle.
Favorite dish after a sick session.
Big thanks for your time!
Pics: Amorphia photography, Berthuot Visuals, PWA/JC and Ian Strickland.