Interview with Filip Jurišić

How old were you when you started sailing and does anyone else in your family sail? First time I touched the Optimist I was seven, my parents put me in a very old Optimist with a wooden mast. After that, when I was nine, they brought me to Split to my current club Mornar. My grandfather was a sailor and after him all my family is connected with sailing.

What was your first boat? Definitely Optimist, but before Optimist I was spending lot of time with grandfather on his Elan express.

Why did you first decide to sail the Laser? And what has kept you sailing it since? My club Mornar has a long tradition with Laser, and older generations like Olympians Arapov, Radelic, Stipanovic, and Kontides who were training in my club, keep motivating me to become as good of a sailor as they are. Definitely my love of sailing keeps me motivated, but also my goal to win a medal from the Olympics Games, Worlds, and Europeans.

When you were getting involved in sailing the Laser, were there any specific sailors you looked up to? Ben Ainslie.

So you had a solid performance in Japan, leading the first day of the Laser Standard Worlds and finishing in 24th overall before claiming 12th at the Sailing World Cup in Enoshima. What did you learn from your time in Japan? After I took a lead on Worlds I was sailing quite good until the last day, then I took a big risk trying to enter the top 8, which was going to give me some advantage over Tonči on our Olympic trials to Tokyo 2020. It didn’t pay…

How do you plan to continue your development into 2020, the year of the Olympic Games? I will keep focus on myself, try to do my best, and not pay attention on qualifications for Tokyo 2020. Tonči has the advantage regarding his achievements in the past, but I believe if I manage to sail my best, I can get my ticket for the Games.

Tell us about your relationship with Tonči Stipanović, 2016 Olympic medalist and fellow Croatian. Do you ever train together? What is it like competing for the same goal? What is your relationship like off the water? Hahaha it’s funny, realistically we spend together more days than he does with his wife and me with my girlfriend. We have completely the same program and same coaches. To work together in that situation, both of us need to have a lot of respect for each other, tolerance, and understanding. Sometimes it’s hard but sometimes it’s very helpful, and it keeps you pushing harder towards your goals! Off the water, we are very close friends.

Does your coach Jozo Jakelić coach Stipanović or any other sailors? How long have you sailed under his coaching? Jozo has been my coach since 2011. Yes he does we are a strong group of sailors, which helps to push each other and improve.

How do you work at reducing mistakes or minimizing their impact in such a strong fleet of Laser sailors? The Laser fleet is very very strong and the tempo of regattas and trainings is very intense. To follow that rhythm and improve your performance, you need a good team around you. 

Do you have any particular “rituals” or routines that you do before going out on the water to compete? Warming up is something what I do every time before going out on the water. 

As a professional athlete in Croatia, you are likely a role model for younger sailors in your country. Do you ever interact with youth sailors and if not, what’s a piece of advice you might give them? Through my club I interact a lot with younger sailors. We (my team) always try to keep them close to us during the trainings in Split, and in that way they have the best example of what they have to do to become top sailors and sportsmen. Advice to younger generations is always to keep pushing hard, and believe that all hard work will pay off. Always enjoy sailing and be happy to be a part of this beautiful sport.

Have you attained a degree already or do you plan to pursue a degree in the future? At the moment I am studying for the sport coach. 

Do you have any other goals outside of sailing? One of my wishes and goals for the long-term is to develop sailing culture on Hvar, the island where I come from.

What do you enjoy doing when you need a break from sailing? Again sailing hahah! Of course other activities like cycling and climbing the mountains. And definitely spending time on my home island Hvar.

What is your favorite place that you have traveled to because of sailing? Hard question because every spot for sailing is interesting in a different way, but maybe Limassol, Cyprus is my favorite one.

What would you like readers to know about Filip Jurišić as a person? That I come from most beautiful island, called Hvar! And that I am the sailor with the most nicknames in the fleet! 😉