Meet the man at the helm of WildWeb, Mr Paul Changuion. Not only is Paul a visionary leader at our fine establishment, and all round good guy, he is quite a sportsman too. A ‘yachtie’ to be exact! Recently he went on a tour to Brittan, to partake in an important sailing regatta. His infamy in the SA yachting fraternity is well known and sometimes he even finds his mug printed in community newspapers, for his sailing achievements, like the recent article published in the Ballito Fever titled, “Life on the Waves”. It was quite a flattering read for the boss, with the lead calling our guiding guru an “adventurer on land, expert sailor at Sea…”.
For this weeks blog we thought we’d paste the transcript, taken from the Aug 10 Ballito Fever, Sports back page.
Life on the Waves:
By Sophie Thompson
Royal Natal Yacht Club’s sailor Paul Changuion from Uldloti Beach is relishing being home, having recently returned from competing in the 42nd Squib UK Nationals Championships. “ I love sailing offshore and you can’t get better conditions than Durban,” enthused the experienced yachtie. “The Water is warm, and the wind and waves are a sailor’s dream.”
Talking about sailing in Brittan last month , he said, “Dartmouth is an awesome location.” We had great fun. We had never sailed a Squib before but managed to finish 27th out of 72 boats. It was motivating sailing in a massive fleet like that. “It really brought home the fact that if you want to compete internationally you need to do more sailing overseas, where the fleets are bigger.”
Changuion who has been sailing for 27 years, mostly in the Hunter hull class has recently been dabbling in and Extra. “The Squib is a Hunter hull with a different deck and sail configuration, which was a real learning curve. They are great little boats and are accessible to the average sailing enthusiast.”
The North Coast sailor hopes to continue this new-found relationship with the British Squib Association with an exciting exchange programme. “We are wanting to invite a Squib sailor to compete in our annual Hunter Nationals and that they will reciprocate in the hope that we can grow the wonderful sport of sailing.”
By day, Changuion is the director of WildWeb, a website design company he started at the turn of the century having worked in the yachting industry for seven years. In 2001 he took some time off with his friend, Hayden Phipps, to journey across Africa together.
“The experience was phenomenal. We paid our way by doing web development and photography for remote safari lodges and managed to see some truly awe-inspiring places. “But the ocean is my home,” admitted the tanned sailor.
“I can’t wait to introduce my daughters to the magnificent sport. Polly and Amelia are five and six, so that day is coming soon.”
When asked what his favourite sailing memory was, he paused. “There have been so many over the years: 49er sailing was like running on to a rugby pitch every time we went sailing in the breeze – invigorating. Winning the Vasco Da Gamma race to East London was really fun and sailing the boat incredibly hard through the night with the kite up off the Wild Coast will always stick in my mind.”
Other highlights are; “The recent Riverview Manor Laser Nationals, 49er sailing in South Africa when we had a tight bunch of competitive boats, the J22 Worlds in the US, the Vasco Da Gamma win when it was still Durban to East London and last year’s Lipton Challenge Cup was also really fun, with a great bunch where we were the only boat who managed two race wins.”
In conclusion, Changuion said, “It is a real privilege to be able to sail competitively. It gives you the most incredible opportunities to see new places and make great friends with common interests. The sport teaches you tons of lessons, which you can apply to business and life. Sailing has also given me the opportunity to travel and engage in local culture.”