The Loft

The Loft

Monty Spindler tells us about sail design in his Tarifa based Loft

The Loft, Tarifa

In 1998 Monty Spindler set up The Loft in Tarifa after producing world championship winning sails for Fernando Martinez the previous year from a rented loft. The Loft has gone from strength to strength with Loft sails now being distributed worldwide.

I've had the pleasure of asking Monty a few questions with some interesting answers.

 

The Loft

Monty, You commenced windsurfing at the tender age of six, what has been the highlight of your journey up until now?
Apart from my family, it would be my relationship with the wind.
Actually I began sailing at six, windsurfing around 19
.

You set up your own independent 'Spindler Design' in Lake Garda. Can you tell us a little about that?
Spindler Design was my independent Loft on Lake Garda which ran well for 7 seasons, then was sold to the Fanatic group who moved it to France. 
The SD loft produced custom Blades that sold well during slalom sailing's boom in the early 90s, as well the ART protos were built at the SD loft, so my small enterprise was well supported. 
No regrets!   Old "Spindler Design" cloth labels are sewn onto Loft protos!  The name lives on...

1998 must have been an exciting time for you, when launching 'The Loft' what advice would you give to others for undertaking ventures similar to yours.
The Loft started with a ping more than a bang. 
I think it was '98, I made some raceboard sails by renting space at the Bull loft in Tarifa, Fermando Martinez took them up to the Raceboard Worlds and won.  I was very skeptical about starting a business when the market was so sad, but his win pushed me to start. 
I rented a room at 100% Fun, bought a machine, materials and went about making sails again- 2 years after deaprting ART.
The Loft has sucsessfully entered the market on a sailmakers budget- not the normal way...  and into such a contracted market!  Very difficult!
I can understand the urge to work with the wind.  There was a time when comercially it was all expanding, then there was "the great decline".  I think that the market has finally stabilized and there will again be growth. 
Advice?  I wrote many responses here that made me laugh!...  I suppose one goes where goes their passion...  ?

Why did you choose Tarifa as your home and base?
It is more like Tarifa tugged on my sleeve...  I was working in windsurfing R&D for European firms, I think it is safe to says that this an ideal wind location for year-round R&D. 

 

What throughout the years has been your proudest moment?
Apart from my family, it would be The Loft`s first & second magazine test-winnning results- the Lip Wave & O2 Freeride, in both American Windsurfer summer 2000, then in Windsurfing magazine USA April 2001.

You must be proud of worldwide recognition through magazines, what would be your one wish for 2007?
Yes, magazine tests is where all brands are on a level playing field, at least an ideal windsurfing world.  Our French distributor Multiglisse just informed me that the 07 Lip and O2 have again won tests in his market!
May I please have two wishes?
I wish I could be a member of a mag test team... what a privelidge to contrast all those new rigs & new sensations!
I wish that all windsurfing mags placed their readerships before their advsertisers.

There is very little visibility of The Loft here in the UK where the main players are Tushingham and Neil Pryde, do you have any plans to make bigger inroads to the UK market?
My preoccupation has always been design development; I was never into the commercial side of windsurfing business.  The Loft suffers for this. 
The Loft IS making DEEP market penetration in certain markets. 
Our relationship with The Surf Store has had many years to develop, there is a certain market share for The Loft in northern England...  there are a few of our new Blades now going to The Surf Store, I hope Mike will give them an intensive test!   We also have new Formula designs that I will present to Loft distributors next month...

Since the loose leech revolution and the introduction of monofilm there has been a gradual evolution of sail design with no major changes. There has been talk of new materials such as cuben fibre being introduced. Do you foresee any big changes in the near future?
Actually I believe there has been big changes- but maybe hidden from view.  The effective wind range of rigs has made huge steps in the past +-5 years.
Big changes- probably not... our rigs are essentially so simple!  That is their beauty! 
I see windsurfing development as making the parts fit together so well that the rig becomes life-like... we sprout wings!
I hope we will soon see effective and affordable UV resistant xplys and monofilms.  I suspect that "permanent" glues, and better materials for transitions from panels to stitching (holes) are comming- as well effective inflatible batten pockets.

Having worked with many well recognised and successful windsurfers who did you enjoy working with most.
Thorkil, Fabian and I were a good R&D team. Ken Winner very organized,  Dave Perks was fun to work with.  JP Siret had perceptions that facinated me! 
Although their names are not well known, the most enjoyable & productive working realtionship was with Ronny Kiaulehn & Klaus Baumann at ART.

On a humorous note, there is a fun side as well as a competitive side to windsurfing, what was the funniest thing to happen to you whilst journeying through the waves!!
My first windsurfer was Ken Winner's trash... he had run into the channel marker in Annapolis harbor so the nose was gone- waterlogged.  The rig was all mend no meat- teak boom parts joined with rough glass work, two masts rammed together...  on my maiden voyage a Cheasapeake Oyster boat went by our place, threw a steep wake that broke my yellow Windsurfer in two parts! 

You’ve been windsurfing for a long time now, do you still have the passion for the sport after all those years on the water.
Have NO DOUBTS!...  I came into windsurfing from the Laser and Finn classes; slow, complicated, archaic and painful compared to windsurfing!
I have to slim down my board stash.  I keep buying fins!
Virgin protos are objects of extreme desire... I abandon my family for hours to test these virgins!  Time on the water is of high priority for me personally, so that I can feel design & trim changes- and get some exercise!  
 

The Loft

http://www.loftsails.com

The loft sails are distributed in the UK by,

The Surf Store
Bishopton Lake, Bishopton, Stockton,
Cleveland UK TS211EY England
tel. ++44 1740 631199
fax ++44 1740 631057
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www.surfstore.co.uk

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