Making friends with people on Maui is as easy as scratching your nose! I’ve lost count of just how many people we met while being in Maui who we’ve become friends with and I’m happy to say Jason is one of them. He always greets you with a welcoming smile and reading through his interview it’s clear to see he’s a family man with a strong sense of positivity in his life and attitude.
Jason Diffin is the man behind the design and development of the Goya sails. With a wealth of experience in sail design as well as a talented and avid windsurfer he begun to work at Goya in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. He is not only responsible for design but also the testing and production of the sails and has made huge strides in moving windsurf sails forward.
Jason has given us a great in-depth & open interview and we’ve also taken the opportunity to ask him a few extra questions about his work at Goya.
Name: Jason Diffin
Status: Married, 3 kids, Busy and Stoked!
Where are you currently based? Maui- August to May, Hood River (The Gorge) for May, June, July
Sponsors: I have working relationships with first off GOYA Windsurfing, then Maui Fin Company, Streamlined Windsurfing and Dakine
Why are you so passionate about windsurfing? It’s a lifetime sport that is forever challenging, fun and there is always room to improve. Also I value the people and relationships that windsurfing has brought me, and also the travel.
Most visited website? (Other than Facebook!) SURFLINE
Three words you believe describe you: I Don’t Know
Three words that others might use to describe you: I Don’t Know
A phrase or motto you live by: Change direction if you don’t want to wind up where you’re heading
What was for breakfast this morning? Pint of water, Oatmeal with fruit and nuts, double espresso
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? My Grandfather Carl Diffin. He was a dream grandpa and a great guy and I miss him a lot still. He knew how to have fun…
If you were a superhero, which power would you want to have? Flight, of course! … and the ability to breathe under water. And the ability to conjure whatever I want any time I want. Perfect…
You’re going on a windsurfing trip to a desert island, other than your windsurf gear, what 3 things do you take with you? Surfboard, Wife, Kids
What one thing can you not live without (non-windsurfing related!) Good food and clean water.
Favorite place to eat. Casanova in Makawao, Bale sandwich in Kahului
When you travel what don’t you leave home without? My macbook and a camera
If your life story was being made into a movie, who would play your role? And who would be your leading lady? Ha ha that’s a funny question.
Who would you like to sit next to on a long haul flight? An empty seat.
You have four dinner guests, what’s on the menu? Italian. Or maybe Indian…
What poster did you have on your wall growing up? Mark Angulo, Giant back arching look back loop at Ho’okipa circa 1988.
Money is no object and you have one of those awesome transporter pods from Star Trek so how would you spend your fantasy 24 hours? Perfect, empty warm water surf.
What person would you like to swap lives with for one day? Kelly Slater or Tiger Woods, but I would want my life back after 24 hours- guaranteed.
What song reminds you of summertime? Summertime by Sublime
Do you play any other sports? Surf, Bodysurf, Mtn. Biking, Golf
What would you do if you won the lottery? More of what I do already, but with a staff to take care of some of the menial tasks.
If I take a look inside your refrigerator what would I find? Milk, cheese, eggs, tortillas, beer, assorted veggies, 8 types of hot sauce/chili paste, and about 10 pounds of carrots
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be? Meriwether Lewis or William Clark. I’m fascinated with USA west natural history, pre-colonization.
How long have you been windsurfing? 26 years
Where is your favourite windsurfing spot and why? Maui is my “spot”- warm and there is every type of condition you can imagine- except for cold.
What equipment are you sailing on at this current time? I have a magical 2 year old Quad 78 from Keith Teboul, some really tasty new 4 batten proto sails, a new crazy light and strong mast, new booms, killer fins, I’m so amped on my gear right now…
Who was your inspiration when you started windsurfing and why? My best friend Travis in Florida, and the reason is that it was fun and the girls loved it and liked to cruise with us as well.
What’s your preference? Multi-fin or single fin? Jumping or wave-riding? Whatever best suits the conditions. No rules, no limits.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting out in windsurfing and would like to progress in the sport? Pick the right gear, don’t have your lover teach you. Get 5 lessons to get started.
Which move are you currently trying to master? For me after this many years, it’s more about my feeling and mindset than about any particular move. I enjoy the process of mental brush and floss, keeping my mind and body nimble, ready to anticipate and react quickly. That’s the beauty of windsurfing- nothing is the same twice, everything changes and everything moves and it’s a non stop process of learning. I feel like I’m still learning about windsurfing, but it’s more about the essence of the action rather than a particular move. I would like to get more consistent on my wave 360’s…
Windsurfing was a hugely popular sport in the 80s. Do you believe it will make a comeback and if so how can people help this along? The 80’s and 90’s were a different time. When windsurfing came along it was revolutionary, it was radical, it was approachable. It’s still all of those things, but people now have other choices- kiting, or stand up paddle or whatever. That being said, windsurfing has settled in to a very solid place on the market scale. There are a lot of people windsurfing and a lot of new people coming in to the sport. Kids and adults both. These are the new good old days. Windsurfing is alive and well and thriving, and don’t let anyone lead you to believe otherwise…
If you could do it all over again is there anything you would change about your windsurfing career?Nope.
What is your most vivid or favourite memory of a personal windsurfing moment? Always sailing with friends and enjoying epic conditions.
Where was your scariest ride? Tell us a little about the experience. Outer Sprecks, the winter of 96. Me and about 5 friends launched from Sugar Cove and sailed upwind. I got lucky and punched straight outside the outer reefs in one tack from Sugar Cove, which put me well over a mile, mile and a half out to sea, by myself. The waves were the largest I had ever seen, never mind sailed in, by far. It was massive. I got upwind to the peak proper in about 3 giant tacks. I thought I would cruise just outside the peak, a little upwind, just check things out, and wait for my friends. Well, I tacked on a massive wall way on the outside and thought I would just cruise in a little and kick out before it walled up, but the wave stood up out of the depths so fast, and so much farther out than all the other sets, that before I knew it, I was locked in to the face and committed to dropping in. So I just went for it. Over powered on a 4.5, old school single fin 8’3”, and a fully energized north pacific NW swell set wave that I have to guess was in the neighborhood of triple mast high. The wave was drawing so hard off the reef. I was way too deep to go right, I could see that immediately. All I could do was try to get to the bottom without exploding and fade in to the left that I was finding myself locked in to. I got to the bottom by the skin of my teeth, dug in my inside rail, faded left, the wave stretched and smoothed out, and all at once I realized I was going to be OK, and I looked back and watched the lip throw over my track, and it felt like it took many seconds from the time the lip threw to impact at the bottom of the wave, it was like everything was in slow motion. I rode the left until it closed out, timed my straighten out OK and managed not get rushed by the close out, and rode in to the inside reef. Then the adrenaline really hit me. I had to lay my sail down and sit down for a moment. I was shaking so hard and could barely breathe. It wasn’t that I did anything so radical, it was just to be that close to so much power, basically alone, way offshore, really taught me a lesson about the type of situation. It’s all good until it isn’t then it can be really bad. I got lucky on that one and it was a lesson I’ll never forget.
If you weren’t a windsurfer, what would you be doing? Wow, I don’t know, my life has been centered around windsurfing for so long, I don’t know. Probably more of what I do outside of windsurfing now. Cruise with my kids and wife. Grow our businesses. That sort of thing…
Do you have any lucky charms when you sail? Not superstitious at all..
What has been your biggest windsurfing achievement to date? Staying in it, and more stoked than ever after 26 years. Also marrying in to a pretty stoked windsurfing family as well!
What are you doing when you’re not windsurfing? Chasing around one or all of my three kids.
What kind of training do you do, be it physical or mental, to keep you in shape for windsurfing? I try to keep my core strong, try to stay hydrated and keep the potassium in when I’m sailing. And most important is that I have to remember not to impose my will on the session- let it play out, stay in the moment because that’s the essence of windsurfing.
What are your favorite conditions to sail in? Side, side onshore wind, 4.2/4.5 logo to mast high surf, clear water, sun.
A Little More…
What’s your role at Goya? I take care of the design, testing and production of the Goya Sails product line. I work closely with team riders and customers to develop new designs, and then I go to China to put the best of these new designs in to production and check quality.
How long have you been working there and what’s kept you there so long? I’ve been with Goya since 2008, and it’s people that I work with that have kept me here. Francisco and Lalo Goya are absolutely amazing sailors, business men, and overall guys, and every day I work with them is a pleasure. Keith Teboul has been one of my closest friends since 1989, so it’s a dream to come to work and talk boards and sails every day. Levi blows my mind- on the water and on land. He’s such a cool and stoked and humble guy, and I’m absolutely honored to be building sails for him. Laurent Guillemin, Pascal Bronnimman, Molly Sanders, Marcilio Brown, Bernd and Norm Roediger… I’m surrounded by and work with such an amazing collection of people… I sometimes have to pinch myself that I’m not dreaming about this career and life.
Having been a sail designer for a while now, do you ever get ‘designer block’?! In other words, how do you manage to come up with new designs and concepts & better products each year? Simple- I’m working for and with all the people mentioned above and the ideas come like a waterfall every day… sometimes it’s challenging to choose which ideas to put my time and energy in to…
When you head out to Ho’okipa, so many windsurfers are using Goya sails. What is it about them that made them so popular? We try to offer our local riders and friends a good price on the gear for one thing. Otherwise, we really try to work closely with every one of our customers to make sure the gear works well for them, they are well tuned, etc… We are a hardcore windsurfing shop, no other products 6 minutes from Ho’okipa, and we take this seriously. We want people to be stoked and we’re willing to go the extra mile with every customer to make sure they are having the best possible experience on the water- from top to bottom- sail, rig parts, board, fins. Our demo program is killer- anyone can come in and try any piece of gear to make sure they love it before they buy it. We don’t accept unhappy customers- we work with people until they are stoked.
Other than family, what do you cherish in your life and why is it so important to you? Health. 100%.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever done or said to you? “Yes!” – Cecily when I asked her to be my wife.
Do you believe in a higher power? Elaborate a little on your beliefs. That belief is still under development. I believe in science, but science still can’t explain it all, and never will be able to explain it all.
Do you have a regret you wish you could amend? aww man, everything that has happened to us has gotten us where we are,…
Tell us about an event that changed your life or your character? Having kids, no question. It really helped my to start to get my self centered head out of my you know what.
Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions? More leisurely travel.
Do you have any pet hates? Unattended and bad dogs.
If you could be anywhere past or present, where would you like to be right now and with whom? Celilo falls, Columbia river, Oregon, 16th century, alone
What was the last book you read & what was the last movie you watched? Book- The Pacific by Mark Helprin – super good – The Fantastic Mister Fox – super good
How do you want to be remembered? with a smile
A piece of wisdom you’d pass onto your kids? It’s a small world and how you act and what you do will come back to you, guaranteed. So act with respect and own your actions always.
What are your strengths? I want a full and peaceful life, and I think I know how to get it.
What are your weaknesses? Letting pre-conceived ideas, assumptions and emotions get in the way of good decisions- but I’m getting better at controlling that…
What has been your greatest achievement outside of windsurfing? Raising kids!
What is your favorite childhood memory? Growing up in nature in the woods of Michigan and the beaches of Florida
If you find yourself getting burned out or are stuck in a rut, what do you do to revitalize yourself or snap out of it? Exercise!! Massive traumatic body destroying exercise usually helps me.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years from now? Hopefully more of the same.
How do you personally define success? Doing what you want to do with your time.
I’m a big believer in… a pint of water FIRST thing every morning, and a good breakfast.
Call me crazy but…. I can’t stand cheese cake.
My favorite place on earth is…. With my family, wherever we are.
My parents are…. Complicated and simple at the same time.
I could never…. Learn to like cheese cake.
I’ve always wanted to…. Go to Indo on a boat trip.
Life is nothing without…. Relationships. I’m not a loner.
Today I will….Finish this interview!!
The internet is…. A dream come true. Free flowing information??!! I love it…
If I had the power I would change… I would like everyone in the world to have a chance at a safe and content life.
I am…. Jason Diffin, and I am thankful and I am stoked.