Questions for a Champion : Interview of Rico Leroy, official Woo Ambassador
Between Rico Leroy and Woo, it's a whole story! Old friend with Guy, Rico contributed in particular to the development of Da Kaï, and as ambassador and shareholder, its commitment with Woo is unfailing. Today, he shares his time between Hawaii and Lacanau, where he is an instructor in the Lacanau’s club Big SUP. He was kind enough to grant us this interview during which he returned on his relation with the brand Woo and shared his visions for the discipline.
Rico, you have the status of an official Woo’s rider. How this link built up itself?
It made a few years that I practised the outrigger canoe in OC4 between The Hawaiian Islands and France. Then one day, Guy asked me if I was willing to help him to design an OC4 for his brand Woo. That only request flattered me. It was the dream which came true. I always wanted to designe an outrigger canoe, but I did not imagine that one day I would make it. Thus I helped in the development of Da Kaï, and if I had to do it again tomorrow, I believe that even with ten years of experience moreover, I would make it in the same way.
Training On V6 with the Va'a Nui team
You are a famous waterman and SUP rider to wrinkle above all. What inspired you to try in the outrigger canoe for the first time?
I began a little bit accidentally by replacing a competitor during a competition, the famous Buffallo Big Board Classic in Hawaii. I jumped into Bonga Perkins’s outrigger canoe and it snatched me at once! On my return to France, I began to look for an OC4 and I began practising the discipline very seriously. In 2004, I began the wave’sSUP and we introduced me to the downwind’sSUP in 2007. This year, I began the outrigger canoe before moving on at once with Molokai2Oahu in 2009.
In what does the outrigger canoe differ most from the SUP?
In reality, the outrigger canoe is not so different as it of the Stand-up Paddle. Certainly, we sit and not stand up, but that I teach it to nobody! The main difference which I could quote is that with outrigger canoe we tend to slide much more quickly and with much more ease than on a board of SUP.
Does the outrigger canoe help you to improve your techniques of SUP? How?
Most of the very good SUP riders are very good rowers in outrigger canoe. I can quote Titouan Puyo and Travis Grant as example. At the level of the training, the SUP and the outrigger canoe are extremely additional. In the end, both machines are very similar!
What is your best memory with Woo?
I had so many good memories with Woo that it is difficult to isolate only one. When I think of the first tries of Da Kaï in Guéthary I have to admit that it was particularly heart-warming me. I also think of the negotiations that I had to end with Kamanu to being able to make Puéo and V6 Unlimited under license, and then there are the titles of champion of France which I won in OC1.
What advice would you give to anybody who wishes to make of the outrigger canoe for the first time?
I would advise to all the beginners to try to get closer to a club not to go out too often alone, because it is better than the trainings are watched at the very beginning. Even if, one time in his outrigger canoe, we are always alone in a sense.
Beach fire during a step of the Da Kaï Expedition
What are your impressions of the Feline, the new model of Woo?
I haven’t had the opportunity yet to test the new Feline, but she looks great! By looking at the official video of its launch we perceive at once that she is light and handy, and that she attacks waves with conviction. It really tempts to try it and I hope to be able to make him soon.
To watch the Da Kai Expedition by Rico and Sarah, click here !