Turnbull Talks: Tom Squires
As part of our summer range, we honoured Turnbull's Bespoke Pattern Cutter by commissioning three pocket squares featuring charming windsurfer-inspired designs. An avid fan of the sport, George was even more over the moon to find out that the Turnbull marketing team had invited British windsurfing extraordinaire Tom Squires for a Bespoke fitting ahead of his trip to Tokyo later this year.
The winner of the prestigious Princess Sofia Trophy as part of the British Sailing Team’s windsurfing group and, despite his late start to sailing, has outperformed his teammates on the world stage. We asked him to join us in Bury Street for a fitting and to model some of our new season collection around Mayfair. Find more about his journey to date when we caught up with him in-store.
Turnbull: First things first, how did you get into windsurfing? And when did you realise that you could take it to your debut Olympics?
Tom: I got into windsurfing when I was 11, down in Cornwall. It was the summer holidays, and my dad, sister and I saw an old windsurfer for sale, and my dad decided that it would be fun to give it a bash. Initially, mastering the windsurfer was hard when we were on holiday and being able to turn around was just a myth. But we soon got back home to Oxfordshire and found a reservoir and sailing club not 15 mins away from home, which had an RYA Training Center. We took up a weekend course to show us the ropes and then so, spent every Tuesday and Thursday evening at the various evening club sessions.
Tom with our pattern cutter George, at his bespoke appointment.
I am not a born racer. I got into windsurfing because it was fast, fun and I had a talented group of friends to do it with. I learnt that there was a pathway of racing other kids starting at Oxford Sailing Club between us, then regional, then national, where you could be talent-spotted to race International at Junior then youth level, then into senior. The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) have the best pathway to help kids develop their racing skills in both windsurfing and sailing. And this, along with racing the 'old boys', made an enormous difference to my windsurfing. And when I was 17, I broke through into the senior scene, dropping an apprenticeship in horticulture to go full-time windsurfing.
Before you got into windsurfing, you were an avid gardener. If you were not busy representing the UK in windsurfing, do you think you would return to those roots?
It is likely, my love of the outdoors and working hard is what has helped both my windsurfing and being in the garden. On the other hand, windsurfing has given me so many experiences it has made me realise there are so many things I am interested in its scary not having a plan after windsurfing but also exciting!
You moved from Oxfordshire to Weymouth, the home of British Sailing, to pursue windsurfing. What has been the biggest challenge moving away from home, and how has the sailing community in Weymouth helped?
Not being able to windsurf with my dad & Sister. Getting advice from Mum, the simple things that help you at 'adulting'.
Luckily, there are a group of like-minded guys and gals in Weymouth to help figure things out. Although our perception of reality has become slightly warped, as a group of individuals sailing a range of windsurfers, catamarans, kite foilers and dinghies, we do well and winning medals within the British Sailing Team. Everyone is devoted to their sport, and it is hard not to be driven and pursue not just getting to the Olympics but with a chance to medal.
Tom choses his fabric, 1255 36.
With the pandemic making international travel difficult, your road to the Olympics has been complicated and must have been frustrating at times. Are you finally feeling the famous 'Olympic buzz', and what are you most looking forward to about finally returning to Tokyo to compete?
Yeah, the Olympic buzz has come in hot and fast, so many emotions and not going to lie, a healthy amount of covid stress and uncertainty with it! Along with Brexit, it has been tricky, to say the least. But I am more driven than ever to make every moment count.
Finally, do you have any secret rituals that you complete before you compete? And what weather conditions should we all manifest to ensure you have the best chance of medaling in Tokyo?
No real rituals, but when I am getting ready for the race, minutes before the start, I go for some speed tests. This is when you can get some confidence in your speed. This is where I come into my own and be outright slow! Normally, you would be worried, but that is when I am like, 'this is my jam, I'm always slow before a race'. Then I know I am ready to bash out a standout day! Sometimes it is worth being slow before a race, just to see the fear in my coaches' eyes! If you can please send over 15-20 knots of breeze, flat water, minimal gusts and shifts and a bit of sunshine, that will be perfect – thank you!
Image Credits: Alex Natt and NewWave Windsurfing