Kitesoul Magazine #16 English Edition

In this issue: Riders Column - Colleen Carroll, Red Bull KOTA 2017; ITW Nick Jacobsen, Ruben Lenten; Events: Ragnarok 2017, Banga Foil 2017; Journeys: In the Kingdom of the polar bears, The Wall Ride; Characters: Michael Zomer; Schools: Canary islands; Trends: How about learning kite-foil? Product focus: RRD rigid lines; Felipe Moure Lopez: Blind Judge 5 challenge and much more.

In this issue: Riders Column - Colleen Carroll, Red Bull KOTA 2017; ITW Nick Jacobsen, Ruben Lenten; Events: Ragnarok 2017, Banga Foil 2017; Journeys: In the Kingdom of the polar bears, The Wall Ride; Characters: Michael Zomer; Schools: Canary islands; Trends: How about learning kite-foil? Product focus: RRD rigid lines; Felipe Moure Lopez: Blind Judge 5 challenge and much more.


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EVENTS<br />

_Nick is the new King of the Air<br />

_Ragnarok 2017<br />

>> AdVENTURES<br />

_A wild journey into Svalbard<br />

>> ITW<br />

_Michael Zomer<br />

_Felipe Moure Lopez<br />

>> TUTORIAL<br />

_Strapless: The Straight Air<br />

>> GEAR<br />

_RRD Rigid Thread Lines<br />

W W W . K I T E S O U L . C O M


Foto: Jason Wolcott<br />


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phone IT: +39 3351015128 // info@corekites.com // 54.445874 N : 11.191058 O<br />


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NaishKiteboarding naish_kiteboarding naishkites.com

Editor<br />

David Ingiosi<br />

david.ingiosi@kitesoul.com<br />

Wave Thecnique Editor<br />

Mitu Monteiro<br />

Freestyle Thecnique Editor<br />

Alberto Rondina<br />

Thecnical Expert<br />

Renato Casati<br />

Photo & Video<br />

Maurizio Cinti<br />

Design<br />

Giuseppe Esposito<br />

Tradutions italian-english<br />

Daniela Meloni<br />

FEBRUARY 2017 - MARCH 2017<br />


Texts<br />

Roberta Pala, Collen Carroll, Kari<br />

Schibevaag, Noé Font, Felipe Moure<br />

Lopez, Reo Stevens, Michelle Hayward.<br />

Photos<br />

Svetlana Romantsova, Chris Bobryk,<br />

Andre Magarao, Matthew Fitchen, Red<br />

Bull Courtesy, Tom Magne Jonassen,<br />

Trond Tyss, Vincent Bergeron, Alexandru<br />

Baranescu, Courtesy Banga Foil, Toby<br />

Bromwich, Lukas Stiller, Tim Mckenna,<br />

JT Pro Center, Gabriele Rumbolo, Todd<br />

Glaser.<br />

Cover:<br />

Rider Keahi de Aboitiz<br />

Photo Jason Wolcott<br />

Publisher and advertising<br />

VISU Media<br />

Via Cavour, 20<br />

24030 Ambivere (BG)<br />

Amministratore Unico<br />

Federico Sugoni<br />

fs@kitesoul.com<br />

Registration Tribunale<br />

di Bergamo n°10/2014<br />

del 15/04/2014.<br />

Periodicità bimestrale<br />

Copyright <strong>Kitesoul</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

All content is copyright of <strong>Kitesoul</strong><br />

<strong>Magazine</strong> / Visu Media Srl.<br />


Publisher<br />

He’s a manager and a businessman.<br />

He fell in love with kiteboarding<br />

almost 10 years ago in<br />

the wild and amazing North<br />

Shore of Oahu (Hawaii). Aside<br />

from kiteboarding there is<br />

only one other important<br />

thing in his life: his baby<br />

daughter.<br />

He’s responsible for the 2014<br />

launching of KiteSoul <strong>Magazine</strong>.<br />


Editor in Chief<br />

Professional journalist and<br />

video maker with a solid<br />

experience in sailing, sea<br />

adventures, travels and water<br />

sports, he has been reported<br />

the “blue world” from the<br />

inside for more than 15 years.<br />

He fell in love with kitesurf<br />

several years ago in Sardinia,<br />

then travelled all over the<br />

world as Iko instructor.<br />


Film-maker<br />

Movie buff and keen photographer.<br />

He’s a skater, snowboarder<br />

and wakeboarder,<br />

but he actually burns with<br />

passion for kiteboarding. He<br />

started off with freestyle a<br />

few years ago, but nowadays<br />

he’s more into chasing big<br />

and powerful waves. This is<br />

what he loves the most.<br />


Art director<br />

Kiter since he was in the baby<br />

pram, he is a rider for RRD<br />

Italia and he have a Bachelor<br />

in Comunciation Design at<br />

Politecnico di Milano.<br />

With this assignment, he<br />

finally has been able to put<br />

together his two passions:<br />

kite and design.


Feel The Flow<br />


Technical Editor-Wave Riding<br />

He comes from Sal. Official<br />

F-one and Manera rider.<br />

2008 KPWT World Champion<br />

and three-time Vice World<br />

Champion. He started to surf<br />

and windsurf as a kid and but<br />

he definitively fell in love with<br />

kitesurf as soon as he discovered<br />

it.<br />


Technical Editor-Freestyle<br />

He’s the best Italian rider of<br />

the competitive kiting world.<br />

Cabrinha, Neil Pryde and<br />

GoPro official team rider<br />

and four-time Italian Champion.<br />

Alberto has won the<br />

2001 edition of the European<br />

Championship and third<br />

place in the 2012 PKRA World<br />

Championship.<br />


Technical Expert<br />

RRD Wave team rider. Kiteboarder<br />

since 2000, he has<br />

been PKRA athlete and judge.<br />

He’s a professional sportswriter<br />

for several technical<br />

magazines. He lives between<br />

Como Lake and Sardinia, but<br />

he spends every winter in the<br />

waves of Cabo-Verde.<br />


Professional translator<br />

Daniela mainly lived abroad<br />

where she graduated<br />

in Law and worked. She<br />

discovered her passion for<br />

water actvities back in 2007<br />

when she moved back to the<br />

Sardinian west coast and met<br />

her husband, the kitesurfer<br />

Enrico Giordano. Professional<br />

translator since 2009. She is<br />

a SUP lover and an amateur<br />

photographer and never<br />

misses to photo or video<br />

shoot a Kite or Sup wave<br />



Rider Kelly Slater | Photo Todd Glaser<br />

Kitesurfing still tastes of salt and<br />

not of chlorine<br />

Artificial waves parks for surfers are now spreading<br />

all over the world. Increasingly big, accessible<br />

and efficient. In January 2017, a Spanish Company<br />

called Wavegarden specialized in pools and<br />

water parks announced that it has just developed<br />

a new technology capable of creating 1.029 waves<br />

per hour that means over 16 waves per minute.<br />

While they want to keep this patent still secret,<br />

the Iberian technicians have added that the new<br />

system would allow to have waves up to 2.10 metres<br />

high, cutting through the pools for about 18<br />

seconds. The project is called The Cove, and it will<br />

debut in the upcoming months in Australia when<br />

the first water parks for surfers, equipped with<br />

this futuristic technology, will appear in Sydney,<br />

Melbourne and Perth with the brand name Urbnsurf<br />

(www.urbnsurf.co/media-coverage.html).<br />

So then, how will the artificial surf evolve? One<br />

could easily imagine that in the near future whole<br />

surfers’ generations, perhaps living hundreds<br />

kilometres away from the first beach overlooking<br />

the ocean, will use these admission-fee simulating<br />

facilities for training at any time, in spite of<br />

weather conditions, seasons and culture of the<br />

sea. Surfing will be like going to the gym. No more<br />

days spent sounding out the weather reports searching<br />

for the next swell, no more stacking up<br />

kilometres along the coast searching for the best<br />

wave, no more time spent practising the true surfer’s<br />

art, which is patience. The new chlorine surfers<br />

will enter any pool, for one or two hours they<br />

will ride hundreds of waves, identical and perfect<br />

and they will become extraordinary.<br />

What will happen is what also happened to free<br />

climbing with the advent of artificial walls and<br />

indoor facilities thanks to which today a 12-year<br />

old kid can climb VI grade walls, where bear<br />

hands climbing times have halved and one year<br />

of training is enough to climb the world rankin-

gs. Twenty years ago, anyone climbing a VI grade<br />

wall would go directly on magazine covers. In<br />

other words, the surfing technique will evolve by<br />

the second. Even Kelly Slater has become a testimonial<br />

for these water parks dedicated to comfy<br />

surfers. Way to go, that's progress baby! As long<br />

as one does not believe that things such as the<br />

mystery of the ocean, the solitude in the pipe, the<br />

hell in a wipe out can ever be removed from surfing.<br />

Luckily, at least for now, kitesurfing is not at risk<br />

of turning into a simulation sport. Those who choose<br />

to surf pulled by a kite still have to consider<br />

the weather conditions to go chasing wind and<br />

waves, still have to get in the car and reach the<br />

coast, and above all still have to enter the ocean<br />

with the proper respect. And, once up there, on<br />

the peak of a wave, always a different one, they<br />

will remain amazed by the magic of nature.<br />

David Ingiosi




EVENTS + ITW<br />

18 30 32<br />

Portfolio<br />

Colleen Carroll<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new<br />

king of the air<br />

+ Ruben Lenten<br />




104<br />

The Wall Ride<br />

116<br />

Michael Zomer:<br />

I, extreme filmmaker<br />

128<br />

In the Canary Islands the<br />

sons of the ocean are<br />

raised<br />


FOCUS<br />

178<br />

The straight air<br />

182<br />

F-one: Furtive V1/ Speed<br />



62 74 88<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok<br />

Banga Foil<br />

In the kingdom of the<br />

polar bear<br />

TRENDS<br />



138<br />

How about learning kitefoil?<br />

Slingshot launches<br />

the Academy<br />

148<br />

Portfolio RRD lines: the revolution<br />

is called ‘Rigid Thread<br />

Lines’<br />

160<br />

Portfolio Felipe Moure Lopez and<br />

his Blind Judge 5 Challenge

18<br />


Alex Neto<br />

RIDER: Alex Neto<br />

PHOTO: Andre Magarao

20 PORTFOLIO<br />

Reo Stevens<br />

RIDER: Reo Stevens<br />

PHOTO: Tim Mckenna

22 PORTFOLIO<br />

Jeremie Tronet<br />

RIDER: Jeremie Tronet<br />

PHOTO: JT Pro Center

24 PORTFOLIO<br />

Ismail Adarzane<br />

RIDER: Ismail Adarzane<br />

PHOTO: Gabriele Rumbolo

26 PORTFOLIO<br />



PHOTO: Toby Bromwich



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30<br />


Colleen Carroll<br />

Blue Palawan. Many might still<br />

be largely unfamiliar. While<br />

last year’s inaugural event was<br />

deemed a huge success industry<br />

wide, park riding and namely<br />

park competitions, can sometimes<br />

fly under most Kiteboarders’<br />

radars.<br />

Dubbed the most tropical kite<br />

park on earth, Blue Palawan is<br />

perfectly poised on the eastern<br />

shoreline of Palawan Island, one<br />

of the most famed islands out of<br />

the over 7,000 islands that com-<br />

prise the Philippines. Voted to<br />

house some of the best beaches<br />

in the world, it’s no wonder all of<br />

the best park riders, myself included,<br />

are eager to return to the<br />

stunning atoll.<br />

However, it is not only the easy<br />

breezy lifestyle and luxury living<br />

that we have to look forward to.<br />

Hanging in the wake of this year’s<br />

event, lies the likely trajectory<br />

for the coming year of the Kite<br />

Park League tour. Now of course<br />

nothing will be set after only one<br />

event yet, as we saw last year,<br />

it can be a solid indicator as to<br />

who are the real contenders for<br />

the coming season.<br />

Will Sam Light take another win<br />

for the men, continuing his long<br />

reigning dominance of kite park<br />

events? Or, will Brandon Scheid<br />

who has long nipped at his heals<br />

finally take that top seat? However,<br />

it is far from a two-man<br />

race to the top this year and<br />

looks like Light and Scheid will<br />

have to work harder than ever if


It’s coming in the trade winds…<br />

× Colleen Carroll ×<br />

Text Colleen Carroll | Photo Toby Bromwich, Lukas Stiller<br />

they want to secure their usual<br />

podium spots. With young riders,<br />

Noe Font and Ewan Jaspan,<br />

as well as other podium finishers<br />

from the 2016 season such<br />

as Craig Cunninghan and Christophe<br />

Tackmore dedicated than<br />

ever, in my opinion, no one’s fate<br />

is sealed.<br />

Not only has the men’s competition<br />

heated up over the past<br />

year of park riding but, new<br />

comers to the women’s scene<br />

have noticeably shaken things<br />

up. It was world champion, Karolina<br />

Winkowska who broke onto<br />

the park scene adding 2016 KPL<br />

Champion to her list of accolades.<br />

Attempting to chase her<br />

down for the title myself over the<br />

past year after having a rough<br />

start of the season, I can attest<br />

that the competition is tougher<br />

than ever before on the women’s<br />

front. And it wasn’t only<br />

Winkowska who made her mark<br />

on the 2016 KPL, known park<br />

competitor Sensi Graves came<br />

in full force as well as household<br />

name BrunaKajiya and up<br />

and coming rider Annelous Lammerts<br />

who all proved themselves<br />

formidable competitors.<br />

With more pro riders focusing<br />

their efforts into the park than<br />

ever before, the upcoming competition<br />

is sure to be captivating.<br />

Make sure to check back in the<br />

next issue for a full recap of what<br />

went down during the event and<br />

who was able to prove themselves<br />

better than the rest.

32<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air<br />

i s t h e n e w k i<br />

Michelle Hayward<br />

Photo credit: Red Bull Courtesy

n g o f t h e a i r<br />

On January 2nd in the evocative frame of Big Bay in South Africa it took place<br />

the Red Bull King of the Air 2017 which proved once again to be one of the most<br />

successful and spectacular competitions in the world. The 18 competing athletes<br />

expressed the state-of-the-art of the Big Air discipline. Three true legends<br />

battled for the title in the final that was held just after the sunset: Ruben Lenten,<br />

Aaron Hadlow and Nick Jacobsen. In the end, the King of the Air was the Danish<br />

rider: insane, brave and lethal.

34<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air

After almost two weeks of no wind, or at<br />

least not any wind strong enough for the<br />

Red Bull Kind of the Air, the wind finally<br />

blew! When the thick white cloud starts<br />

to creep over Table Mountain, then you<br />

know the wind is going to pump, and<br />

that is exactly what it did on Thursday<br />

2ndJanuary, just 3 days before the end of<br />

the waiting period for the event. By 3 pm,<br />

the wind had hit 25 knots and they decided<br />

to start the competition, this gave<br />

the organisers just enough time to finish<br />

the event on the same day.<br />

This year Red Bull chose only 18 of the<br />

top competitors in the world to take<br />

part in Big Bay, South Africa. The judg-

36<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air

ing criteria also changed slightly this<br />

year as 70% of the score was determined<br />

by height while 30% was determined by<br />

the extremity of the moves. There was no<br />

limitation to how many moves each rider<br />

could do, though only the top 3 moves<br />

were counted as part of the final result.<br />

Riders were encouraged to go as extreme<br />

as possible, and they did not disappoint!<br />

Though the wind was strong, and picked<br />

up to 30 knots throughout the afternoon,<br />

there were not many waves and riders<br />

had to be careful to select the right<br />

wave to boost off. There were more waves<br />

downwind but each rider decided to stay<br />

upwind, clearly careful not to get stuck

38<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air<br />

too far downwind and out of the competition<br />

area.<br />

One of the crowd favourites was Aurelien<br />

Petreau, a French rider who was new to<br />

the event. He stunned the spectators with<br />

his huge board off dead man. The youngest<br />

rider, Willem van der Meij, who is just<br />

19, genuinely showed that his age is not<br />

a hindrance by also proving himself as a<br />

crowd pleaser. The Megaloop Late Backroll<br />

was a firm favourite of many of the<br />

riders. Gijs Wassenaar, Jerrie Van de Kop,<br />

Lasse Walker and Ryan Siegelberg were<br />

just a few of the riders who named it

as their signature move. We also saw a<br />

lot more riders doing a "one-footer" and<br />

combining it with high jumps and even<br />

Megaloops. This year there were also a<br />

lot more riders unhooking during their<br />

heats.<br />

Of course the legends of the sport really<br />

stood out and made it right through to<br />

the finals. Ruben Lenten was hungry to<br />

make his comeback and did so stylishly<br />

with his signature move, the "Boogie<br />

Loop" (Megaloop Front Roll). Aaron Hadlow<br />

did also not disappoint, as he effortlessly<br />

showed off his signature high

40<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air

handle-passes and impressive loops.<br />

The one legend that could not compete,<br />

however, was Kevin Langeree who unfortunately<br />

broke his ankle just weeks before<br />

the event. But, although he was on<br />

crutches, and still recovering from an<br />

operation, he was there to support his<br />

fellow riders!<br />

Thankfully, there were no major injuries<br />

this year and none of the riders had to be<br />

rescued or taken to hospital. Of course,<br />

there were a few riders that crashed<br />

their kites like Stuart Downey and Lewis<br />

Crathern, but they managed to quickly<br />

launch them and continue their heats.<br />

Lewis Crathern then even went on to do

42<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air

the highest jump of the day. Most of the<br />

riders had two of the same kites and a<br />

few boards, as seen when Graham Howes<br />

lost his board and soon enough had<br />

another one given to him so that he did<br />

not have to body drag to try to retrieve it.<br />

Oswald Smith’s old ankle injury caused<br />

him a bit of pain, though he still managed<br />

to claim the Mystic Move of the Day<br />

award. Ruben Lenten also complained of<br />

a sore rib, though he rightfully made it<br />

into the finals. The finals took place just<br />

after sunset but that did not stop the<br />

crowd from going crazy: whistling, clap-

44<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air<br />

ping and cheering the riders on. Fuelled<br />

by all the Red Bull that was being handed<br />

out, they did not mind watching the riders<br />

compete in the dark.<br />

The finals were really close but Nick<br />

Jacobsen truly stood out with his variation<br />

and all over extremity, placing him<br />

in first place.

46<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air<br />

The new King of the Air! Aaron Hadlow<br />

came in second place and Ruben Lenten<br />

made his comeback with a well-deserved<br />

third place.


Michelle Sky Hayward, amongst the VIPs as our reporter<br />

Michelle Sky Hayward is a 25-year-old<br />

professional kitesurfer. She lives in Cape<br />

Town, South Africa with her husband<br />

Neil. She is passionate about kitesurfing<br />

but besides that, she enjoys going to the<br />

gym, spending time at the beach, travelling<br />

and of course writing. This is what<br />

she had to say about her experience reporting<br />

at the King of the Air:<br />

I had an amazing time reporting at the<br />

Red Bull King of the Air! <strong>Kitesoul</strong> is a<br />

great magazine to work for and it allowed<br />

me to gain VIP media access during the<br />

event. This way, I could meet some of<br />

the riders and people in the media and<br />

I got to have the best view! The conditions<br />

were perfect, the event is well run<br />

and the whole vibe was electric. This is a<br />

world-class event and I was so happy to<br />

be able to experience it first hand.

48<br />

EVENTS<br />

Nick Jacobsen is the new king of the air

50<br />

Nick Jacobsen<br />

The winner’s words<br />

The winner’s words<br />

We reached the winner of the Red Bull King of the Air 2017<br />

Nick Jacobsen in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) where he<br />

flew straight after the competition and here is what he<br />

told us about his amazing victory.

52<br />

Nick Jacobsen<br />

The winner’s words<br />

"I just got to Dubai to shoot a project I have been working<br />

on for quite some time now. Thank you so much<br />

for all the kind words about King of the Air. Here is an<br />

update on what went down: I went to Cape Town in the<br />

middle of October 2016 to train for King of the Air and<br />

to shoot with Cabrinha for the switch blade and all that<br />

went really well. And just by riding every day in strong<br />

conditions with the switch blade I chose to ride that<br />

kite for the event. I felt comfortable on it and everything<br />

about the switch blade just felt right. I had great expectations<br />

about myself this year for King of the Air<br />

because I really wanted to win it but I thought it was<br />

quite impossible for me! I would just have been happy<br />

to make it onto the podium. The day just went extremely<br />

well and all of a sudden, I was in the finals against<br />

two legends in the industry, two guys that I have always<br />

been looking up to. I have been following Ruben<br />

Lenten and Aaron Hadlow since they started, they were<br />

my great inspirations. I know everything about them<br />

and now we are great friends and it was so great to ride<br />

with them. They are both Red Bull riders and I was with<br />

them in the Red Bull finals so I was pretty stoked. When<br />

I won it, I was so happy, it still hasn't sunk in yet and<br />

it was a week ago. My main focus right now is this project<br />

I am doing in Dubai so this whole thing with win-

54<br />

Nick Jacobsen<br />

The winner’s words

ning the King of the air just went into the sand in a way<br />

which I am a bit bummed about. But when this project<br />

is done in a few weeks I'll go to either Bora Bora or Bali<br />

or something for a few weeks just by myself without my<br />

phone, without my laptop and then just let everything<br />

sink in and I'll go on a small holiday. It looks like I'm<br />

on holiday all the time but I'm actually not, I do a lot of<br />

different things all the time".

56<br />

ITW<br />

Ruben Lenten, happy to be back but my ribs failed me<br />

R U B E N<br />

happy to be back<br />

but my ribs failed me<br />

Still in Cape Town working on new gear,<br />

Ruben Lenten answers to Michelle<br />

Hayward’s questions and comments about<br />

the competition and his fantastic third<br />


58<br />

ITW<br />

Ruben Lenten, happy to be back but my ribs failed me<br />

How do you feel about the event?<br />

Well every year I’m looking super forward<br />

to see this event take place. Last year<br />

I couldn’t compete due to my battle<br />

against cancer but this year I made<br />

sure I was strong and confident enough<br />

to compete with the world’s best again.<br />

This event is definitely the most exciting<br />

event on the calendar and probably the<br />

only event that really pushes the big air<br />

riding to new levels. And the Megaloop<br />

Challenge in the Netherlands of course.<br />

It was my mission to enjoy riding with all<br />

the boys and showcasing my style of riding<br />

to the world. I managed to keep my<br />

head cool and make it through my heats<br />

with some of my signature moves and<br />

eventually made it to the final. Unfortunately,<br />

I took a big hit on my ribs in heat<br />

1 and in the beginning of the final I had a<br />

big crash right on it again and this just<br />

put me out of it… I was in pain and super<br />

emotional for some reason, I just couldn’t<br />

pull myself together. Coming in 3rd<br />

is not a shame but for next year, I’ve got<br />

my eyes on the prize. :-D The crown! Bring<br />

on some more wind and waves please!

60<br />

ITW<br />

Ruben Lenten, happy to be back but my ribs failed me<br />

What do you have planned next?<br />

My plans are falling into place pretty<br />

nicely and the year is filling up quickly<br />

with all sorts of happenings. From<br />

extreme projects, travelling for shoots,<br />

demos and events to public speaking<br />

and coaching around the world. My main<br />

mission remains to push and promote<br />

the sport globally to make people just as<br />

happy as kitesurfing makes me. And of<br />

course taking it to the next level by some<br />

outstanding projects. For now, we still<br />

have some time in Cape Town to work on<br />

gear. I am building some insane carbon<br />

boards with a local shaper and I’ll sell<br />

these through my web shop soon. Exciting<br />

times! :-)

62<br />

EVENTS<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok

Last stop:<br />

Ragnarok<br />

From 30th March to 2nd April, the<br />

Hardangervidda mountain plateau in<br />

Norway will welcome more than 300<br />

athletes from around the world that<br />

will compete in the Red Bull Ragnarok,<br />

an extreme marathon dedicated<br />

to snowkiting. It doesn’t matter<br />

whether with skis or a snowboard: the<br />

fatigue, the bravery and the desire<br />

for adventure are the same for every<br />

competitor.<br />

Testo: David Ingiosi<br />

Photo: Red Bull Courtesy

64<br />

EVENTS<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok<br />

The snowkiting heroes are about to return to the<br />

fighting arena. In fact, according to the Scandinavian<br />

mythology, the term Ragnarǫk refers to<br />

the final battle between the powers of light and<br />

order, which challenged the powers of darkness<br />

and chaos and following which the entire world<br />

would be destroyed and only the greatest would<br />

survive. That's how the Red Bull Ragnarok<br />

event, a snowkite competition, scheduled from<br />

30th March to 2nd April 2017 in Haugastøl, Norway,<br />

borrows the epic from that ancient myth<br />

to pay tribute to the men and women of today.<br />

Competitors similar to warriors who in this extreme<br />

trial on ice challenge themselves and the<br />

elements with just one objective: be the first to<br />

cross the finishing line.

A t t h e f i n i s h i n g<br />

l i n e t h r o u g h t h e<br />

g r e a t e s t e f f o r t s<br />

The 6th edition is ready to start<br />

This year more than 300 athletes from 30 countries<br />

will gather at the starting line of this great<br />

competition that smacks of adventure, fatigue,<br />

bravery and which now rates as one of the most<br />

anticipated events in the international snowkite<br />

circuit. At its 6th edition, the event will take<br />

place on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau,<br />

a large snow-capped area, about 260 kilometres<br />

Northwest of Oslo and which between wintertime<br />

and springtime offers fantastic conditions<br />

for this discipline.

66<br />

EVENTS<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok<br />

The racetrack is a lap circuit about 15-20 kilometres<br />

long to be repeated five times. The competitors,<br />

who will all line up at the starting line,<br />

must complete the course by using only their kite<br />

and either skis or a snowboard at their choice.<br />

There will be four categories: Men skis, Women<br />

skis, Men snowboard and Women snowboard.<br />

Lastly, along the track the athletes must follow<br />

specific "gates" set up by the organizers to record<br />

the passing of each participant through a<br />

gps device.<br />

The cold, the fatigue and the meteorological aspects<br />

represent the unknown elements of the<br />

race<br />

A specific and tested race formula for a unique<br />

competition which offers a lot of fun, show and<br />

thrill both for those who actually do it and grit<br />

their teeth to give their best to get to the end,<br />

and for the audience that follows the race supporting<br />

anyone of the competitors.<br />

It goes without saying that it's not a picnic on<br />

the snow. It is a backbreaking trial lasting normally<br />

longer than 6 hours. It strains muscles and<br />

mind of the athletes who have to deal with the<br />

cold, the fatigue and especially with the sudden<br />

change of weather conditions, which often mark<br />

the divide between those who can cross the<br />

finishing line and those who have to walk back<br />

to the base camp. The wind in these expanses<br />

of snow and ice can be a friend or an enemy.<br />

Who's been there knows it well.

A d v e n t u r e f a t i g u e<br />

b r a v e r y

68<br />

EVENTS<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok

Susi May: "once in a lifetime"<br />

Over the years, many world champions and outstanding<br />

athletes from kitesurfing and snowkiting<br />

took part to this competition. Everyone keeps<br />

a strong memory of that experience and a great<br />

source of inspiration whether it was a victory or<br />

a withdrawal. The German champion Susi May,<br />

at the end of the 2016 edition said: "No matter<br />

how frustrated you feel, when you push yourself<br />

to the limits you always learn something about<br />

kitesurfing. It's one of those "once in a lifetime"<br />

experiences in one of the wildest and most fascinating<br />

places in the world".<br />

On the other hand, the three time world champion<br />

Steph Bridge who was able to win the Red<br />

Bull Ragnarok race warns those who are about<br />

to do this extreme race: "Choose the right equipment.<br />

Before the start eat carbohydrates and be<br />

well hydrated. You must persist and be positive.<br />

I wasn't able to finish the race twice, but at the<br />

third time, I won it". The Canadian champion<br />

Peter Martel, a regular in Haugastøl, echoes her:<br />

"Nothing will go as planned. But trust yourself<br />

and don't give up".

70<br />

EVENTS<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok<br />

For sure, things do get serious at Ragnarok. You<br />

do not know how you will leave that arena but<br />

one thing is certain: you will enter as a warrior.<br />

Enjoy the battle everyone!

N o t a p i c n i c<br />

o n t h e s n o w

72<br />

EVENTS<br />

Last stop: Ragnarok<br />


• Thursday March 30th<br />

16:00 – 21:00 Registration - Haugastøl Turistsenter<br />

- You must show up for accreditation or your place will be given away. No exceptions. .<br />

• Friday March 31st<br />

09:00 am Pre-race meeting - Haugastøl Turistsenter<br />

- In case the race is postponed to Saturday, a notice will be texted to each competitor.<br />

10:00 am Transfer to the race course<br />

12:00 pm Race starts<br />

- In case the weather conditions prevent the race from taking place on Friday, it will be postponed<br />

to Saturday.<br />

• Saturday April 1st<br />

09:00 am - If the race will not be completed on Friday, it will continue on Saturday<br />

20:00 Banquet dinner - Haugastøl Turistsenter<br />

22:00 Awards ceremony & after party<br />

• Sunday April 2nd<br />

Return<br />

- The timetable can be subject to change<br />

- In case the weather conditions prevent the race from taking place on Saturday, it will be<br />

postponed to Sunday.<br />


74<br />

EVENTS<br />

Banga Foil<br />

itw Roberta Pala<br />

photo Alexandru Baranescu & Courtesy Banga Foil

The Formula Kite World Championship<br />

took place in Weifang,<br />

China. Sixty athletes took part<br />

to the competition. For the Men<br />

category, the Monegasque<br />

Maxime Nocher conquered the<br />

victory using a "made in Italy"<br />

foil, the Banga BF016WA. As<br />

far as Women are concerned,<br />

the title went to the American<br />

Daniela Moroz. First one among<br />

the Italians, in sixth place,<br />

Mario Calbucci, and in second<br />

place Axel Mazella both from<br />

Banga team just like Nocher.<br />

As is known, there are high<br />

probabilities that kiteboarding<br />

will become an Olympic<br />

sport, with the foil discipline,<br />

already in 2020. Banga foil is<br />

the result of a project started<br />

in spring 2015, which aimed at<br />

developing in 12 months the<br />

fastest hydrofoil for Formula<br />

Kite competitions. The aerodynamic<br />

design was entrusted<br />

to a project team with great<br />

experience over the America’s<br />

Cup and cat C-Class foil. The<br />

design of the structure and the<br />

making of it was supervised by<br />

Luca Filippi. Banga Foil comes<br />

as a branch of PROtect Tapes<br />

using the same logics and the<br />

pursuit of excellence. The initiator<br />

of both activities is Pietro<br />

Parmeggiani who takes care<br />

of the operational aspect, the<br />

management and marketing.<br />

Banga foil production is 100%<br />

Italian, it has specialized suppliers<br />

and partners, since Italy<br />

is an excellence for composite<br />

materials. Banga foil placed<br />

five athletes in the top 10 positions<br />

at the Weifang World<br />

Championship (and in 10th<br />

place, there is the other Italian<br />

Riccardo Andrea Leccese).<br />

Besides Calbucci there are the<br />

French Julien Kerneur (7th)<br />

and Theo Lhotis (8th) and the<br />

Russian Elena Kalinina second<br />

for Women. Next event for Foil<br />

Kite will be the Gold Cup final<br />

to be held in Qatar from 15th to<br />

19th November. Prize money:<br />

€ 20.000.

76<br />


Banga Foil, the Italian brand flies high<br />

itw Roberta Pala<br />

photo Alexandru Baranescu & Courtesy Banga Fo<br />

the<br />

Italian brand<br />

flies high<br />

Following Maxime Nocher's worldwide<br />

success, the interest in Banga Foil has had<br />

a stunning growth. It's a young brand, born<br />

from the passion of two professionals, a<br />

Made in Italy product which whipped the<br />

others during the last Foil World circuit. We<br />

had a chat with Pietro Parmeggiani, one of<br />

the two creators of the idea that gained the<br />

top position in the foil world.

KS_How did you create the Banga Foil<br />

project?<br />

Pietro Parmeggiani_We started this project in<br />

spring 2015.<br />

Banga Foil is an idea of Luca Filippi and Pietro<br />

Parmeggiani, both 50 years old, with 40 years<br />

experience in various types of sailing. Luca's<br />

experience is related to sailing, sailmaking, catamarans,<br />

foil, advanced composite materials<br />

coupled with endless manual skills and creativity.<br />

I am the CEO of a major multinational group but<br />

I also have my own company that deals with advanced<br />

materials (PROtect Tapes) which among<br />

its customers rates the America's Cup team, the<br />

Imoca60, Olympic athletes, just to name a few,<br />

but we also range over other industries such as<br />

F1, motorcycles and wind power.<br />

KS_Where does the name Banga come from?<br />

PP_I could just tell you that Banga is the title of<br />

the eleventh album of Patty Smith or the name<br />

of my cat when I was a child but I would lie. Luca's<br />

son, Marco, used to repeat this word, we<br />

liked it and we used it.

78<br />


Banga Foil, the Italian brand flies high<br />

KS_What was the main motivation that made<br />

you enter the Foil world?<br />

PP_We dreamt of creating the best performing<br />

foil in the market, light, with no compromises.<br />

We were also sure, that the foil would have become<br />

an Olympic sport and we had to be ready<br />

when that happened. We entrusted the best foil<br />

designers and structural engineers in order to<br />

achieve our goal.<br />

KS_Are Luca and yourself also two foil-kiters?<br />

PP_No, we aren't. We keep on saying that we<br />

should start but then we get caught in other priorities,<br />

but we will, because we both like speed.<br />

KS_What are the main features of your foil?<br />

PP_Our foil is 995mm long, with the front wing<br />

of 630mm. The materials used are high modulus<br />

prepreg carbon and oven cooked. To get the<br />

best quality we made carbon moulds. An important<br />

aspect is the hand-made finishing which takes<br />

a lot of time, attention and experience, the<br />

Banga product is not painted!<br />

The production is 100% Italian and it is carried<br />

out in an ultramodern factory.<br />

The front wing, fuselage and back wing are one<br />

single piece which connects to the mast.

KS_Where do you purchase the raw material<br />

and what can you tell us about the factory<br />

that manufactures the final product? How<br />

much time did it take before you found the<br />

right partners, suppliers and manufacturers?<br />

PP_Italy is a very innovative country in relation<br />

to composite materials, think for instance of industries<br />

such as aviation, car and all the production<br />

sites of the major multinational companies.<br />

In addition, there are a few independent<br />

Italian companies which manufacture very high<br />

quality products.<br />

I have 20 years of experience in manufacturing<br />

and I am an organization maniac so when we<br />

started the project, we designed a factory specifically<br />

for Banga.<br />

Product quality is a matter of method and regularity<br />

of production materials, process control<br />

and we tried to create the best conditions to<br />

achieve this objective.<br />

We work in a geographical area full of skilled<br />

workers, and finding the right staff for such an

80<br />


Banga Foil, the Italian brand flies high<br />

exciting project wasn't difficult.<br />

KS_Who is behind the design of the Foil?<br />

PP_It was necessary to aim high for such an<br />

ambitious project, developing it with internal resources<br />

was unthinkable. Luca and I, each one<br />

for a different reason, have to do with the world<br />

of sailing and of the America's Cup, so we involved<br />

a group of people, both Italians and from<br />

abroad. The decision of Luna Rossa to leave the<br />

Cup helped us out as it freed valuable resources<br />

for our venture.<br />

KS_From the first version of Banga foil up to<br />

today, what are the aspects that you mostly<br />

had to keep into account?<br />

PP_The complexities are diverse, the choice of<br />

the profiles, the size of the wings, the length of<br />

the mast, geometries, in addition to these there<br />

are the rigidity and torsion related to the small<br />

size of our foil.<br />

Experience teaches that mathematical models<br />

and computer simulations can only partly simulate<br />

reality, therefore we had to create prototypes,<br />

but these can be made only once the<br />

moulds are realized. We made a few prototypes,<br />

tested them in the water for many hours and<br />

the final version began giving its results at the<br />

competition in Gizzeria. Since then it has been<br />

a boom.

KS_Who are the Banga Foil athletes in the<br />

world?<br />

PP_After Gizzeria, we have been rushed, everybody<br />

wanted Banga Foil but in early 2016 we<br />

only had a few athletes, both from Italy and from<br />

abroad, our brand was totally unknown, despite<br />

the fact that Maxime Nocher was already using<br />

Banga Foil. The World Cup in China and the final<br />

leg in Qatar represented our consecration.<br />

The rest is already history, Maxime Nocher wins<br />

the world circuit and six other athletes in the top<br />

ten positions (Maxime Nocher, Axel Mazella, Titouan<br />

Galea, Theo Lhostis, Julien Kerneur and<br />

Mario Calbucci), Simone Vannucci and Andrea<br />

Beverino in Italy, Alejandro Climent Hernandez<br />

in Spain, and the speed record-man, Alex Caizergues.<br />

In the Women ranking we are second<br />

with Elena Kalinina and I can’t go on without<br />

mentioning Jade O'Connor who helps us a lot in<br />

the development.<br />

KS_What is the contribution by the professional<br />

athletes to the design, development<br />

and testing phases?<br />

PP_Luca is in charge of the relations with external<br />

designers and testers. We are always there<br />

during competitions, to provide maximum support<br />

to the athletes, but also to gather important<br />

information for future developments. Professional<br />

athletes are essential to keep improving the<br />

product, they have a perception that allows us<br />

to make minor changes, but which do make the<br />

difference. I am only in charge of the commercial

82<br />


Banga Foil, the Italian brand flies high

and organisational management.<br />

KS_Is Banga a foil only for the Pro circuit?<br />

PP_Absolutely not. We sell very well to the general<br />

public too; we have customers all over the<br />

world from Australia to the USA, from Denmark<br />

to South Africa. Banga is very easy to use, so<br />

every rider can have one and have fun.<br />

KS_After the boom in the past two years and<br />

the foilboard more and more present even in<br />

the quiver of sports enthusiasts, how do you<br />

see the development of your foil outside the<br />

professional sport competitions?<br />

PP_We are working on a freeride version and<br />

hopefully we will be able to talk about it soon.<br />

KS_The Foil Kite world is constantly evolving,<br />

on what does the research and development<br />

team mainly focuses its efforts? Choice of<br />

the materials? Advanced applied engineering?<br />

PP_I believe that this is only the beginning of a fascinating<br />

world. We work in different directions,<br />

and for sure, the most important aspect is the<br />

design of the foil, the profile, and the geometries.<br />

The materials are equally important, therefore<br />

although our consumption is reduced, we work<br />

with various companies to have what’s best on<br />

the market.

84<br />


Banga Foil, the Italian brand flies high<br />

KS_What do you think about the introduction<br />

of kiteboarding at the Olympic Games?<br />

PP_Olympic Games? I think that kiteboarding<br />

has all the right characteristics to become an<br />

Olympic sport, maybe it's still a little early because<br />

kitefoil is not so common at global level<br />

yet and not so popular among girls. There is<br />

also a dispute related to the monopoly of the<br />

big brands.<br />

When we started this project, we did think of<br />

the Olympics and of the potential developments<br />

of this sport. We don't obviously have the same<br />

power as the major brands, but we do have the<br />

organizational and production capacity to potentially<br />

play the game.<br />

KS_What are your projects for the 2017? On<br />

which aspects of the design/manufacturing<br />

are you concentrating?<br />

PP_We are working on the evolution of the<br />

BF2016001WA which won everything in 2016. It<br />

won't be a Banga 2, but the outcome of a new<br />

project, this is why we have great expectations.<br />

First testing sessions in the water should already<br />

take place by the end of January 2017.

86<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

It is a journey she much longed for the one through which Kari<br />

Schibevaag takes us, the frozen lands of Spitsbergen Island, in<br />

the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Chasing the wind for<br />

snowkiting, with a group of friends riding snowmobiles, where at<br />

midnight the sun is still up in the sky and the polar bear is the<br />

undisputed lord.<br />

Text: Kari Schibevaag<br />

Photo: Tom Magne Jonassen & Trond Tyss

88<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

Let’s go North

The island of Spitsbergen is located<br />

so far up on the northern<br />

hemisphere that the sun actually<br />

never comes up or it never drops<br />

down, it just depends on the season.<br />

But either way, it’s an island<br />

that I’ve always been dreaming<br />

of in the back of my head.<br />

It’s winter outside, but it’s raining<br />

like it was autumn already.<br />

It’s sad to see that the winter<br />

is raining away and the winter<br />

wonderland I love so much is<br />

nearly gone. What is happening<br />

to the world? Normally it’s so<br />

cold that it’s hard to be outside,<br />

but temperatures have been<br />

changing rapidly and it’s pouring<br />

down with rain from the sky.<br />

In February 2016, I broke my<br />

nose in Cape Town, and the<br />

doctor told me to stay away<br />

from the winter and sun. But<br />

what to do when you can’t enjoy<br />

the 2 best things in the world?<br />

I planned for a quiet winter at<br />

home, but after customizing my<br />

goggles, I decided to try to go to<br />

the mountains to snowkite and<br />

get away from this sad rain.<br />

How to get to the<br />

ends of the earth<br />

When tourists think about Norway,<br />

they usually picture it dark,<br />

cold and full of snow and also<br />

some polar bears and reindeers<br />

walking around in the streets …<br />

Actually yes, we have this.<br />

This place where the polar bears<br />

are taking over is the archipelago<br />

of Svalbard. The population<br />

counts 2.000 people and 3.000<br />

polar bears. Situated north of<br />

mainland Europe, it is about<br />

midway between continental<br />

Norway and the North Pole. The<br />

islands of the group range from<br />

74° to 81° north latitude. The<br />

largest island is Spitsbergen.<br />

I always had a dream to go there,

90<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

At full blast on a snowmobile<br />

but it’s far from where I leave.<br />

It’s also good to know some local<br />

people when you decide to go.<br />

It’s an island far up north and I<br />

have been looking at the place<br />

for snowkiting for a long time.<br />

I´ve planned trips up there before,<br />

but something always came<br />

up, so I could not go.<br />

Luck was about to change. It<br />

was bad weather and not a lot of<br />

snow where I was planning to<br />

go. I was looking at the weather<br />

forecast and it predicted storms<br />

all over me. I was just looking<br />

at Svalbard like I always do<br />

and it looked like it was sunny<br />

for the next week. I was sitting<br />

dreaming that I could go there,<br />

but it was not planned and I<br />

did not have a place to stay so<br />

I was just dreaming.<br />

The next morning I woke<br />

up and saw a message on my<br />

phone. It was a friend asking<br />

me to go to Svalbard. They had<br />

a house and a guide waiting<br />

for them so I just had to take

the plane. I was right away looking<br />

at the tickets and booked<br />

one straightaway for the night.<br />

It’s easy to get there, it’s just<br />

direct flight from Oslo (with a<br />

pit stop in Tromsø). But the hard<br />

thing is to get a place to stay<br />

in the high season. I was lucky<br />

to stay with friends and also to<br />

know them so I could join them<br />

for trips. The airport is in Longyearbyen,<br />

a small city with some<br />

hotels and hostels so you really<br />

need to know where to stay before<br />

you book a trip.<br />

I waited too long to<br />

come up here!<br />

When I arrived, the sun was<br />

shining with powder in the<br />

mountains. It felt like I had<br />

landed on a white moon. My<br />

first thoughts were… why didn´t<br />

I come up here before? I saw<br />

white mountains with no trees<br />

around. It was just perfect for<br />

snowkite and skiing. I was in<br />

heaven.<br />

The first day I spent it around<br />

town with Tom and Christian<br />

waiting for the other ones to<br />

come. We went kiting a bit in<br />

an area overlooking the town. It<br />

was already midnight sun, so we<br />

could be outside 24/7.<br />

What a place and what a country.<br />

Norway never stops to impress<br />

me. There were reindeers<br />

walking around in the streets<br />

and Christian, the local, told us<br />

that they were walking around<br />

on the whole island and citizens<br />

on Svalbard, could hunt<br />

one each every year. They were<br />

so cute with their small legs.

92<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

The reindeers at Svalbard have<br />

smaller legs than the normal<br />

mainland reindeers and they are<br />

not afraid of people at all.<br />

Svalbard Islands have something<br />

that the mainland of Norway<br />

does not have and that´s polar<br />

bears. They are the biggest bears<br />

on this planet and the most<br />

dangerous predators, but they<br />

look so cute. I knew they were<br />

around, so the first day I was a<br />

bit afraid of walking around. I<br />

talked to the locals and they told<br />

me stories about the polar bears<br />

coming into town, but that was<br />

not something happening every<br />

day.<br />

When the bear<br />

comes to town<br />

We were kiting in Adventsdalen<br />

(close to town) and everyone told<br />

me that for sure there would not<br />

be any polar bears there. I had so<br />

much fun climbing the mountains,<br />

riding over the frozen<br />

water and jumping around. What<br />

a place! I forgot all about the<br />

polar bears and focused all on

the super cute reindeers and the<br />

amazing nature surrounding me.<br />

Two days later, a young hungry<br />

polar bear came into town. The<br />

local authorities tried to scare<br />

him away with a helicopter and<br />

snowmobile, but after several<br />

attempts, they had to shoot him<br />

with tranquilizer and fly him<br />

away to the other side of the<br />

island.<br />

I was a bit lucky not to meet<br />

him when I was out there kiting<br />

without a rifle. I went straight<br />

ahead to get a rifle so I could<br />

wear this when I went kiting.<br />

The polar bear came in just at<br />

the place I was kiting before so<br />

I found it safer to have one just<br />

in case another one decided to<br />

make a stop in town.

94<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

Last station: Isfjord<br />

Radio<br />

After some days, everyone arrived<br />

at Svalbard and it was time<br />

for a trip. We used snowmobiles<br />

fully packed with kite gear and<br />

ski gear. Gunvor had a friend<br />

working as a guide and we were<br />

lucky he wanted to join us. We<br />

were going to Isfjord Radio, a<br />

radio and weather station where<br />

we booked a place to stay. Gunvor<br />

used to work at Isfjord Radio<br />

before and was super excited to<br />

show us the place and also to get<br />

back to this amazing area.<br />

We started up in amazing sunny<br />

conditions with no wind and<br />

just moon landscape around us.<br />

The guide made a route we followed.<br />

We told him that if there<br />

was wind, we wanted to kite, so<br />

he knew that we all were looking<br />

for wind. It is crazy at Svalbard.<br />

It’s split in different areas and<br />

suddenly we came to a place that<br />

was Russian, Barentsburg. We<br />

had to stop and just look around.<br />

It was very different from the<br />

Norwegian town.<br />

This was Russia if you know<br />

what I mean. There were a hotel<br />

and a bar serving Russian beer<br />

and vodka.

Kite & Rifle

96<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

After some hours drive, we<br />

found wind at a glacier. It was<br />

powder, sun and wind and we<br />

all packed up the kite gear and<br />

some wind sails. It was so nice<br />

to kite around there with the<br />

amazing mountains around and<br />

also a bit scary to know the<br />

polar bears could be lurking<br />

around.<br />

A storm is coming<br />

up, let’s leave<br />

After some time the weather<br />

suddenly changed, fast like it<br />

often does and a big storm came<br />

up. We decided to pack down<br />

and drove fast down to Isfjord<br />

Radio. At Isfjord Radio it was<br />

really windy but we managed to<br />

get in and find our house.<br />

Ifjord Radio is located at Kapp<br />

Linne by the Isfjord on Spitsbergen<br />

Island. The station was

The polar bear king of Svalbard<br />

established in 1933, and has<br />

played an important role in the<br />

telecommunications between<br />

the Svalbard archipelago and the<br />

outside world. Now it’s a hotel<br />

where you can stay when you<br />

are visiting Isfjord Radio. It is<br />

reachable only by boat, snowmobile<br />

or dogsled.<br />

When we came to Isfjord, they<br />

had excellent food ready for us

98<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

and we got a good hot shower<br />

before we went to bed. We<br />

were all tired and it was a big<br />

storm outside. We all were<br />

wondering if it would stop,<br />

so we could return home the<br />

next day, but you never know<br />

at Svalbard. It is an island in<br />

the middle of nowhere, so you<br />

just have to cross your fingers.<br />

The next morning it was still<br />

stormy and the outside door<br />

in the house broke. It was full<br />

of snow in the hallway, but<br />

they told us that this was normal<br />

so they would fix it when<br />

the wind stopped a bit.

The charm of midnight<br />

sun<br />

We decided to start the trip<br />

back to Longyearbyen after<br />

a long good breakfast, but<br />

that was not so easy. It was<br />

one-meter powder and still<br />

snowing. The terrain was not<br />

easy and the snowmobiles<br />

went falling over all the time.<br />

However, it was super fun to<br />

drive in the snow, so maybe<br />

we were just playing too<br />

much in the powder and that<br />

made us fall over. Anyway, it<br />

was fun and so soft snow.<br />

Just before we reached back<br />

into Longyearbyen, the sun

100<br />

Journeys<br />

In the kingdom of the polar bear<br />

In the<br />

kingdom of<br />

the polar<br />


came back and we got this super<br />

beautiful midnight sun in<br />

the town. In April, the sun is<br />

always up, so it’s hard to relax<br />

when you have the sun shining<br />

all the time. Going to bed<br />

was for sure easy to cancel.<br />

The next days we stayed<br />

around Longyearbyen. We did<br />

just small trips around with<br />

the kites and snowmobiles. It<br />

was beautiful and windy conditions<br />

so we did not need to<br />

travel too far in order to have<br />

great experiences.<br />

Svalbard is an amazing place<br />

to be. I was so sad when<br />

jumped on the plane back<br />

home, but I knew it was time<br />

to return home. But on the<br />

way home, I knew I would be<br />

back next winter and with<br />

even bigger plans for trips up<br />

there. Now we plan to cross<br />

Svalbard from South to North<br />

with a kite. I am so looking<br />

forward to this and I hope<br />

we will succeed to make this<br />

dream come true.<br />

See you all in April 2017<br />

when the “Green Wind” team<br />

(Svalbard Snowkite Expedition)<br />

will pack its gear and<br />

travel across the total length<br />

of Svalbard, only using the<br />

power of the wind. I can’t<br />


104<br />

Journeys<br />

The wall ride<br />

Text: Noé Font<br />

Photo Vincent Bergeron

In the Madeleine Islands, East of the Canadian coast,<br />

the North Kiteboarding team searches for a spot to<br />

do the Vegas 2017 photo shooting and they land on<br />

a beach studded with red cliffs. The scenery is ideal<br />

to set up a rail and try to climb those evocative walls.<br />

The wind though can play nasty tricks.

106<br />

Journeys<br />

The wall ride

The Madeleine Islands are a small chain of islands way out on the<br />

East Coast of Canada. During the summer months, the temperatures<br />

go up and the winds kick in which leads to very good conditions<br />

for kiting. I did a trip there with the rest of the North freestyle<br />

team for the 2017 Vegas photo shoot.<br />

The weather wasn’t what we expected during the first week, it<br />

was cold, very cold. The wind was blowing from the north, that’s<br />

why it was so cold. We all thought it was going to be much warmer;<br />

however, we scored epic sessions. Vince showed us many<br />

spots and all of them had potential. It was just the beginning of<br />

the trip so we kept exploring the area and dialing our tricks on the<br />

new features we built.<br />

There was this one spot that stuck in my mind for a few days. These<br />

10 to 15m cliffs along one of the inlets with rocky red walls were

108<br />

Journeys<br />

The wall ride<br />

Shall we set a wall ride up?

the perfect spot to set up a wall ride, but the only way that was<br />

going to work was with South West winds which unfortunately are<br />

very rare at this time a year. Apparently Craig and Vince had been<br />

there previously but didn’t get to ride them. We wanted to setup<br />

an incline rail up to the top part of one of the rock walls. The cliffs<br />

stick out and create little bays so it was just perfect to wall ride<br />

the top of the cliff and land on water downwind of it.<br />

A few days later, on a very cloudy and cold day Vince mentioned<br />

there was a chance of it blowing south west. That could be our<br />

only chance to ride that spot during our stay there so we headed<br />

to the beach. The wind was really light barely enough to ride but<br />

we still gave it a try. Drove the uHaul as close to the cliffs as possible<br />

and, carried the pipe and legs on knee-deep water all the way<br />

out there. It was very tricky to secure the pipe on the cliff. It was<br />

slippery and we were balancing it with a little rock we found. We<br />

went back to the truck and although we could tell it wasn’t windy<br />

enough I still decided to pump up my 14.5m Vegas and give it a try.<br />

To hit a set up like this you want to be powered and able to get<br />

more power out of your kite instantly in case anything goes wrong.

110<br />

Journeys<br />

The wall ride<br />

Waiting for South-West winds

There were a few puffs of wind and I was riding back and forth approaching<br />

the rail but I couldn’t get enough speed. I stuck around<br />

for quite a while, Craig even pumped his own kite and tried for a<br />

bit but there wasn’t enough wind for us to feel confident enough<br />

to hit it.<br />

I almost gave up so many times, but kept remembering that it<br />

could be the only chance I had to ride that feature. It was getting<br />

very frustrating, sometimes you work a lot to get everything lined<br />

up and the wind doesn’t cooperate. That’s what makes kite park<br />

riding so special. It’s never good, until you have an epic day that<br />

makes all the other bad ones worth it.<br />

That put things into perspective for myself, we were out there far<br />

away from contests, tours and judging trying to make something<br />

special. All the work you put by finding the location, building the<br />

rails, getting the crew together and setting up a feature like that<br />

pays off when you come up with photos like this.<br />

In the end, I only got about three hits on the feature, definitely not<br />

what I was hoping for after waiting for a gust for so long but that’s

112<br />

Journeys<br />

The wall ride<br />

Never give in<br />

how it is sometimes. We ended up getting one okay shot so it was<br />

worth it. Park riding itself is already very hard make happen, when<br />

you're trying to get shots like this one where you only have a handful<br />

of opportunities.

Charming Hotels<br />

and Constant Winds.<br />

Let this<br />

Brazil<br />

surprise<br />

you.<br />

members of egroup.net.br<br />

Visit our websites and book your next kite trip!<br />

JERICOACOARA • CEARÁ • BRASIL PREÁ • CEARÁ • BRASIL vilakalango.com.br • ranchodopeixe.com.br

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64.048018 - 16.189157<br />

The EXO harness can significantly increase the length of your sessions thanks to its comfort. We worked with<br />

a human kinetic science lab to help us on this project, their scientific approach and knowledge of human<br />

morphology enabled us to create a harness providing a level of comfort that was previously nonexistent.<br />

The EXO has been developed to optimize load distribution and thus prevent the rider from having misplaced<br />

pressure points such as on the floating ribs or lower back. The body no longer has to compensate for pressure<br />

on the wrong areas with muscle contractions or taking unnatural positions. This reduces the fatigue and pain<br />

of the rider, allowing him or her to ride longer and with more comfort.<br />

manera.com<br />

Italian Distribution - E-mail: lucamarcis@hotmail.com

116<br />

Characters<br />

Michael Zomer: I, extreme filmmaker<br />

Text:David Ingiosi<br />

Photo: Michael Zomer Courtesy

Michael Zomer<br />

I, e x t r e m e f i l m m a k e r<br />

The young dutch video-maker has just finished filming Ruben<br />

Lenten chasing storms. He had already worked together with the<br />

“king of megaloop” back in 2015 when they produced the innovative<br />

web series called Ten Days with Len10. Here, he tells us<br />

about himself, about his passion for action sports and about<br />

his friendship with Lenten. He expresses his impressions about<br />

kiteboarding video productions but above all, he explains what<br />

it means today, to be a video-maker who constantly deals with<br />

extreme situations.<br />

One of Ruben Lenten 2016<br />

latest works is Code Red,<br />

a captivating video project<br />

where this dutch athlete<br />

just few months from<br />

his victory against cancer<br />

got hold of his life again<br />

and started doing what<br />

he does best: the extreme<br />

kiter. The video focuses on<br />

an adventurous journey<br />

during which Ruben chases<br />

storms across three<br />

European countries. Not<br />

only wind blowing at over<br />

50 knots, but during the<br />

filming, the "master of extreme"<br />

had to put up with<br />

the cold and ice in Iceland,<br />

through snow-capped<br />

lands where also his jeep<br />

broke down. He endured<br />

the currents along the<br />

dutch coast, which he<br />

knows by heart but yet he<br />

had never encountered so<br />

strong before. Lastly, he<br />

had to find his way out of<br />

the Irish rocks, looking for<br />

remote spots and even entering<br />

the water at dusk.<br />

In such adverse conditions<br />

Michael Zomer was<br />

there to capture those impressive<br />

images; a young<br />

but yet already well known<br />

Dutch video-maker specialised<br />

in action sports<br />

who had already worked<br />

with Lenten when filming<br />

the innovative web series<br />

Ten days with Len10. We<br />

reached Michael who had<br />

just landed in Cape Town<br />

where he will be staying<br />

during 2017 and he granted<br />

us this interesting interview<br />

in which he tells<br />

us a little bit about himself,<br />

of his relationship<br />

with Ruben Lenten and especially<br />

about his job as<br />

video-maker of extreme<br />


118<br />

Characters<br />

Michael Zomer: I, extreme filmmaker<br />

KS_Michael, when have you decided to<br />

become a professional video-maker?<br />

I think I’ve always been fascinated by<br />

cameras and video. From a very young<br />

age (10), I ‘borrowed’ my dad’s handy<br />

cam and started to film my mates during<br />

skateboarding and other stupid stuff. In<br />

that time I didn’t believe this was an actual<br />

job, everybody could just apply for<br />

but over the years, I developed my skills<br />

and upgraded my equipment and people<br />

and brands started to see that I was doing<br />

something unique. I guess from that<br />

point my passion for filmmaking turned<br />

into a daily job.<br />

KS_What kind of filming education<br />

have you received and is there any

"master" that inspires your works?<br />

I actually went to an art school, but I<br />

didn’t attend many classes in filming<br />

there, I just went on doing it myself. On<br />

top of that, I’ve watched so many skateboard<br />

and snowboard movies so this is<br />

definitely where my inspiration is coming<br />

from. So if it comes to action sports<br />

productions Ty Evans and the whole<br />

Brainfarm crew are true legends for me.<br />

If it comes to storytelling I got really inspired<br />

by the way Vice magazine does<br />


120<br />

Characters<br />

Michael Zomer: I, extreme filmmaker<br />

How far can you get?

KS_What do you like to shoot the most<br />

and what's your favourite filming style?<br />

‘Cause I’m a real thrill seeker and my<br />

roots are in action sports I just really<br />

love to capture things that involve risk<br />

and adventure. I like to go beyond average<br />

to capture that one unique shot or<br />

situation I got in mind. This is something<br />

you cannot learn in film school or<br />

wherever; I think it has to do with your<br />

own personality and commitment, how<br />

far will you go? Over the time I’ve created<br />

my own style by mostly shooting run and<br />

gun and just anticipate on the situation<br />

or setting so you know where to be to record<br />

that shot in the most beautiful way.<br />

Unfortunately, this is also how I always<br />

end up standing in water or hanging outside<br />

driving verticals ha-ha.<br />

When did you meet Ruben Lenten and<br />

how did your professional collaboration<br />

with him start?<br />

I met Ruben 3 years ago for the first time<br />

in Cape Town. I was asked to create a web<br />

series about his daily life and around<br />

the King of the Air. For over a month, I’ve<br />

shared the same square meter with Ruben<br />

which have been really intense at<br />

times for the both of us. After all, I think<br />

this has created such unique moments<br />

and the love-hate relation Ruben and I<br />

share is the core of our friendship.<br />

KS_In the 10 Days with Len10 web series,<br />

there is a behind-the-scenes style<br />

that shows Ruben not just as a professional<br />

kiteboarder but also as a real<br />

guy who wants to enjoy life. That personal<br />

and sometimes self-ironic approach<br />

was shared between you both?<br />

Because I’m quite down to earth and<br />

never really treat Ruben as a professional<br />

kitesurfer or somebody with an image<br />

he eventually has become more himself<br />

to me. In the beginning we had such a<br />

hard time to get used to each other and<br />

he used to call me a farmer ‘cause I can<br />

be quite straight to him and do not always<br />

agree with his behaviour or arguments.<br />

Over the time, we started to accept<br />

our differences in personalities and<br />

even learned from each other at times. I

122<br />

Characters<br />

Michael Zomer: I, extreme filmmaker<br />

think this made me able to get to his real<br />

personality and capture him in the most<br />

pure way.<br />

In Code Red, you went along Ruben<br />

searching for storms. How is it shooting<br />

in those conditions? Do you have<br />

any special gear?<br />

Shooting in extreme weather<br />

conditions is always a challenge<br />

and there are many risks involved,<br />

not only for yourself but<br />

also for the expensive equipment.<br />

I’ve learned a lot from<br />

experience and shoots where<br />

things got damaged or even totally<br />

destroyed. I try to prevent<br />

risk and damage to a minimum<br />

to be always connected with<br />

my crew and Ruben by waterproof<br />

walkie-talkies and wrapping<br />

all camera gear up in rain<br />

covers and plastic bags. Still I<br />

can’t avoid sand and salt that<br />

goes everywhere so after every<br />

shoot I’ve to take my tripod with<br />

me under the shower and clean<br />

my 30.000 euro RED Epic-W and<br />

lenses with air dust, wet wipes, brushes<br />

and other special stuff. Having a good<br />

insurance is key!.<br />

KS_Are you a kitesurfer too? If so, does<br />

it help when you work with Ruben?<br />

What do you think about the movies<br />

this sport has expressed until now?<br />

To be honest I’m not a kitesurfer, hahaha.<br />

But I think if you compare kiteboarding<br />

with other action sports it’s quite new. I<br />

think it hasn’t showed it’s full limits yet<br />

and this is what makes the sport really<br />

challenging, it triggers riders to keep<br />

pushing it and to be more creative. So<br />

by thinking this there will be a whole lot<br />

more new crazy things and locations to<br />

capture in the future.

KS_Nowadays kitesurf movies are not<br />

just about action, but the storytelling<br />

is getting much more space in it. As a<br />

storyteller, do you like this trend?<br />

I think storytelling in action sports has<br />

become a really important thing because<br />

nowadays not only the people that do<br />

the same sport are interested in these<br />

movies but there is a way bigger audience<br />

interested as well. They might not<br />

be as interested in the technical tricks<br />

and skills but they like to know more<br />

about the lifestyle around the sport or<br />

the personality of the riders that travel<br />

the whole world. I personally like to add<br />

this kind of volume to my movies ‘cause

124<br />

Characters<br />

Michael Zomer: I, extreme filmmaker<br />

Ruben, love & hate<br />

it reaches a way bigger audience and it’s<br />

also a more challenging way of filmmaking<br />

instead of just capturing the action.<br />

KS_Who is the best kitesurf filmmaker<br />

out there in your opinion?<br />

Eyeforce did an insane job on Chapter<br />

One but I also really like what Andy Gordon<br />

did in the video he shot with Aron<br />

Headlow, this is what being creative is<br />

about!.<br />

KS_In the movies history there are few<br />

films that were able to represent the<br />

beauty and the real spirit of surfing.<br />

Can you imagine a great kitesurf movie?<br />

Yeah I think Chapter One is a good first<br />

example. If the sport keeps growing there<br />

might appear some more.

Chapter One revolution

126<br />

Characters<br />

Michael Zomer: I, extreme filmmaker<br />

KS_What are the projects you are working<br />

to at the moment and what about<br />

your 2017 plans?<br />

I decided to go wherever the wind might<br />

blow in 2017. On the first of January I’ve<br />

left my home country and went on an exciting<br />

new adventure. Together with all<br />

my equipment, I’ve moved to Cape Town<br />

and for the time being this will be home.<br />

Now I’m working on several film projects,<br />

one of them with Lasse Walker and<br />

another Red Bull project around the King<br />

of The Air. Besides that, I’ve no specific<br />

plans or any film projects lined up for<br />

the near future. I like to believe that as<br />

long as I follow my passion it will all find<br />

it’s way eventually! I’ll might even start<br />

kiteboarding myself this year, ahahah!

128<br />

Schools<br />

In the Canary Islands the sons of the ocean are raised<br />

In the Canary Islands the<br />

sons of the ocean are raised<br />

On the Island of Fuerteventura, at playa Sotavento, since a<br />

couple of years there has been a sea and water sports school<br />

dedicated to young riders, aged 3 up to 23 years old. It's called<br />

Club Hijos del Mar and it was created by an Italian couple<br />

who moved to the Canary Islands with an ambitious dream: to<br />

teach the ocean to children.

David Ingiosi<br />

photo Hijos de Mar Courtesy<br />

Their names are Alexandra,<br />

Pedro, Mario, Sara and<br />

Jakue. They have happy<br />

faces and smiling eyes beneath<br />

their wet hair, they<br />

joke around whilst going<br />

up and down the beach in<br />

their tight neoprene wetsuits,<br />

always with a board<br />

under their arm, no matter<br />

whether it is a surf board<br />

or a sup or a kitesurf one.<br />

They are the sons of the<br />

sea, or better of the ocean<br />

as here in Fuerteventura,<br />

in the Canary Islands,<br />

the waves that endlessly<br />

break on the coast come<br />

from the Atlantic. And<br />

those children love playing<br />

with waves all the day<br />

long just like they see dolphins<br />

do it, they want to<br />

surf them, slide over them<br />

and ride them as much<br />

as possible, challenging<br />

their balance. A primordial

130<br />

Schools<br />

In the Canary Islands the sons of the ocean are raised<br />

instinctive and very formative<br />

game for the kids of<br />

Club Hijos del Mar school,<br />

an association which was<br />

founded a couple of years<br />

ago by Roberta Trocchio<br />

and Roberto Caruso, an<br />

Italian couple who decided<br />

to move to Fuerteventura.<br />

The school is dedicated<br />

to raising young people,<br />

from children to teenagers,<br />

with the culture of the<br />

sea.<br />

"My husband and I have always<br />

been fond of the sea<br />

and water sports - Roberta<br />

explains - and all our holidays<br />

were dedicated to<br />

the practice of windsurfing,<br />

surfing and kitesurfing.<br />

When our children Alessandro<br />

and Virginia were born,<br />

quite naturally they too<br />

wanted to practice these<br />

activities. Then a few years<br />

ago, we bought a house<br />

in Fuerteventura and we<br />

looked for a sea school designed<br />

especially for children,<br />

but there wasn't any.<br />

This was pretty peculiar<br />

for an island like this one<br />

which represents a Mecca<br />

all over the world for water<br />

sports enthusiasts. So we<br />

decided to move there and<br />

to open one ourselves".<br />

An arduous dream,<br />

but René Egli believed<br />

in it

Sea school for<br />

kids<br />

This is how Roberta e<br />

Roberto thought of building<br />

a multidisciplinary<br />

sport centre to do with<br />

the ocean and dedicated<br />

to kids from 3 to 23<br />

years old. A school fully<br />

dedicated to sports, training<br />

and sessions in the<br />

sea but which would also<br />

spread the culture and respect<br />

for the blue planet.<br />

At first, the couple tries<br />

to cooperate with some<br />

already existing surfing<br />

centre along the beaches<br />

of Fuerteventura, but it is<br />

not easy to convince them.<br />

"They would tell us that a<br />

kitesurf school for children<br />

would never work - says<br />

Roberta - that tourism on<br />

the island had a more adult<br />

target, but we didn't give<br />

up, because we believed in<br />

the project".<br />

God job they didn't give up<br />

because after a short while<br />

they meet someone who<br />

considers their idea a bit<br />

ambitious, but definitely<br />

interesting. That person is<br />

not Mr. nobody, but René<br />

Egli in person, a gentleman<br />

who arrived in Fuerte<br />

in 1984 aboard a wrecked<br />

Golf car and laid the foundations<br />

of what is now the<br />

world's largest windsurf<br />

and kitesurf school which<br />

welcomes every year more<br />

than 25.000 sportsmen.<br />

"Rene immediately took<br />

to heart the project - tells<br />

Roberta - and made available<br />

its Cabrinha equipment<br />

and some space inside the<br />

Pro Centre 1 on Sotavento<br />

Beach and that's how we<br />

started".<br />

Learning sports<br />

and ocean safety by<br />

playing<br />

This how the married couple<br />

founded the Club Hijos<br />

del Mar, registered it as a<br />

non-profit sports association<br />

and required membership<br />

to both the Federación<br />

Canaria de Surf and<br />

the Federación Canaria de<br />

Vela. This way the Centre<br />

begins to offer surf, wind-

132<br />

Schools<br />

In the Canary Islands the sons of the ocean are raised<br />

Fun and safe<br />

lessons<br />

surf, sup and especially<br />

kitesurf lessons to children<br />

and during its first<br />

year gets nearly 100 membership<br />

requests both by<br />

local families and by visitors<br />

on holiday. Roberta<br />

and Roberto hold the first<br />

lessons, as they are two<br />

Iko kitesurfing instructors,<br />

then a team of collaborators<br />

slowly shapes<br />

up, Sergio Ruiz (kitesurf),<br />

Emilio Marquéz (Surf),<br />

Paolo Mazzoli and Giorgia<br />

Quattuzzo (sailing), all of<br />

them capable to devote<br />

themselves to the young<br />

budding surfers who have<br />

special needs and want to<br />

have fun in total safety.<br />

Working with children involves<br />

great responsibility<br />

and a specific focus aimed<br />

at making every sport activity<br />

absolutely fun and<br />

safe. "During our lessons<br />

we favour the practical aspect<br />

both on the beach and<br />

in the water - continues<br />

Roberta - and we always try<br />

to use a simple language,<br />

full of figurative references<br />

linked to their world in<br />

order to make everything<br />

perfectly understandable.<br />

So even when we explain<br />

manoeuvres and technical<br />

topics, such as safety procedures,<br />

the imperative is<br />

never dramatizing, but get<br />

them involved and responsible<br />

by playing games".<br />

Once the lessons finish,<br />

the fun continues in collateral<br />

activities, such as<br />

equipment maintenance,<br />

cleaning the beach, but<br />

also with walks along the<br />

coast and trips on the island.<br />

Playa Sotavento, an<br />

amazing gym<br />

You can play with the<br />

ocean, but you cannot<br />

mess around with it. The<br />

sea is a dynamic element<br />

subject to many unknown<br />

factors, first of all the<br />

meteorological ones and<br />

must be addressed with<br />

the right preparation,

training and awareness<br />

of the risks involved. The<br />

spot of Sotavento is certainly<br />

a terrific gym to<br />

face the ocean. Here the<br />

wind blows all year round,<br />

often with an intensity of<br />

3-4 on the Beaufort scale,<br />

it comes from the shore<br />

and sometimes it is extremely<br />

gusty. «For the<br />

very first lessons we take<br />

advantage of the large lagoon<br />

that arises with the<br />

high tide near the coast<br />

- explains Roberta - then<br />

once the kids master the<br />

technique we take them<br />

in the sea with the supervision<br />

of the instructors<br />

and the support of rescue<br />

boats. Currently, we are<br />

trying to perfect the training<br />

activities through debriefing<br />

video of the sessions<br />

and the creation of a<br />

freestyle simulator on the<br />

ground.<br />

Since last year, Club Hijos<br />

del Mar has also been<br />

organizing swimming<br />

lessons, an absolutely<br />

necessary step to enter<br />

the ocean and tackle the<br />

waves safely. For the time<br />

being swimming pools are<br />

made available to the association<br />

by some resorts<br />

and hotels on the island,<br />

but maybe in the future<br />

there could be ad hoc facilities<br />

for the kids.<br />

Competitions and clinics<br />

by top riders<br />

Therefore, there are swimming<br />

courses, athletic<br />

training, stretching and<br />

training sessions in the<br />

water for the Hijos del<br />

Mar, as well as competitions.<br />

Every year Fuerteventura<br />

hosts a rich season<br />

of events such as<br />

world circuit events of<br />

windsurf and kitesurf,<br />

stand up paddle and surf<br />

competitions, this way<br />

young kids in the island<br />

become familiar with the<br />

competitive dimension of<br />

sports. «The number of international<br />

competitions<br />

for young kids is increas-

134<br />

Schools<br />

In the Canary Islands the sons of the ocean are raised<br />

ing - says the Iko instructor<br />

- we try to lead them<br />

to competitions with the<br />

right attitude, encouraging<br />

them to compete with<br />

each other in a playful climate.<br />

So far we have taken<br />

part to the Manga Xperience,<br />

the Campeonato de<br />

España Kiteboarding Wkt<br />

Junior and the Championnat<br />

de France de Kitesurf<br />

Boarder Cross.<br />

Among the most promising<br />

"sea children" chasing<br />

victories there are Alexandra<br />

Torres, Alessandro Caruso,<br />

Pedro Reyes, Jakue<br />

Rodriguez, Alejandro Munoz,<br />

Mario Wirz, Sara Ruiz<br />

and Joan Mir. During competitions,<br />

all of them make<br />

use of the advice of some<br />

top riders that often hang<br />

out at the school, such as<br />

the Spanish kiteboarders<br />

Julia Castro and Nina Font<br />

or the Cape Verdean Luis<br />

Brito.<br />

Children of today are<br />

the riders of tomorrow<br />

As water sports always<br />

come with travelling even<br />

just for the sake of experiencing<br />

new spots and<br />

different conditions, Club<br />

Hijos del Mar also organizes<br />

kitecamps around the<br />

world. «During the winter

Kids go travelling,<br />

parents stay at home<br />

we managed take the kids<br />

to Brazil, about twenty of<br />

them and they could not<br />

wait to leave - says Roberta<br />

- these are also very<br />

formative experiences,<br />

not only sportswise, but<br />

help develop the team<br />

spirit, adaptability qualities<br />

and getting to know<br />

different cultures. That's<br />

why parents do not take<br />

part to these trips».<br />

The ocean represents a<br />

school of life for children<br />

and this is the principle<br />

on which Roberta and<br />

Roberto decided to make<br />

their bet. But children represent<br />

the future and this<br />

is why Club Hijos del Mar<br />

this year has launched<br />

the project named Kids<br />

Are the Future, to spread<br />

the culture of the sea and<br />

water sports to as many<br />

children as possible. Children<br />

who today play with<br />

the waves and practice<br />

sports, but tomorrow, also<br />

thanks to the ocean, will<br />

certainly be better people.

136<br />

Trends<br />

How about learning kitefoil? Slingshot launches the Academy<br />

How about learning kitefoil?<br />

Slingshot<br />

launches the Academy<br />

The famous brand, created in 1999 by the Logosz<br />

brothers, Jeff and Tony, has created a series of<br />

online video tutorials completely free and designed<br />

like a real and complete basic course for those who<br />

want to approach the kitefoil discipline.<br />

Text: David Ingiosi<br />

Photo: Matthew Fitchen

138<br />

Trends<br />

How about learning kitefoil? Slingshot launches the Academy<br />

As it picks up speed, the<br />

board gets off the water<br />

and the silence begins. All<br />

around us only the sound<br />

of the wind blowing and<br />

pushing our kite. That's<br />

what it feels like to glide<br />

aboard a kitefoil. Those<br />

of you who still haven't<br />

heard of this spectacular<br />

discipline of kitesurfing,<br />

it's probably because they<br />

live in a cave. In fact, over<br />

the past two years, kitefoiling<br />

has spread like an<br />

avalanche sweeping the<br />

tribe of riders, enlarging<br />

this way the boundaries of<br />

this sport toward horizons<br />

that today are still evolving<br />

and far from being defined.<br />

Boards equipped with<br />

futuristic fins<br />

Basically, in kitefoiling<br />

the rider uses a board<br />

with special hydrodynamic<br />

appendages called hydrofoil,<br />

with the shape<br />

of an inverted T, through<br />

which the gliding board<br />

rises completely off the<br />

water so as to greatly reduce<br />

friction and navigate<br />

at incredible speeds. As<br />

for the kites, you can use<br />

regular inflatable kites or<br />

better foil kites. The advantages<br />

of kitefoiling are<br />

various. Apart from the<br />

amazing feeling of gliding<br />

half a meter above the water,<br />

you can already navigate<br />

with just 5-6 knots<br />

of wind intensity, you can<br />

get in the water even if it<br />

is chopped as the board<br />

glides over the breakers<br />

and finally it's possible to<br />

ride up-wind with an up to<br />

40 degrees angle.<br />

Experienced riders actually<br />

do anything with<br />

a kitefoil: breathtaking

carvings, gigantic jumps<br />

and freestyle manoeuvres.<br />

What is certain is that<br />

this sport will continue to<br />

spread like wild fire, especially<br />

now that the World<br />

Sailing looks at kitefoil as<br />

a possible candidate for<br />

the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.<br />

Kitefoil, safety first<br />

and foremost<br />

Meanwhile, the number of<br />

foil-kiters is increasing all<br />

over the world, new materials<br />

are being tested, the<br />

number of competitions<br />

increase and of course, as<br />

it happens when a sport<br />

becomes a trend, new enthusiasts<br />

approach this<br />

discipline. Kitefoiling apprenticeship<br />

isn't however<br />

an easy one at all, not even<br />

for an experienced kiter.<br />

It takes time, dedication<br />

and patience as well as<br />

qualified instructors and<br />

possibly focus-on lessons.<br />

And it is with the objective<br />

of making the approach to<br />

this new disciple as easy<br />

as possible, reduce the<br />

learning times and practice<br />

it safely, that recently<br />

the famous brand Slingshot<br />

has launched the<br />

Slingshot Kite Foil Academy,<br />

an educational project<br />

with online video tutorials<br />

completely free and progressive.<br />

Ten lessons: from<br />

zero to hero<br />

10 lessons (plus two bonus<br />

ones) are available<br />

at www.foil-academy.com.<br />

On top of explaining what<br />

kitefoil is, what it can be<br />

done with it, these lessons<br />

are a proper basic course,<br />

which includes the neces-

140<br />

Trends<br />

How about learning kitefoil? Slingshot launches the Academy

sary quiver to be used, the<br />

assembly of the appendages,<br />

safety procedures,<br />

the body drag, water start,<br />

riding, changes of direction<br />

and jumps. Special<br />

attention is devoted to the<br />

control of the board lift<br />

over the water, the body<br />

posture and the proper<br />

weight balance.<br />

Slingshot invests in<br />

foil: from equipment<br />

to team riders<br />

The Slingshot Kite Foil<br />

Academy follows the introduction<br />

by the American<br />

Brand of the first<br />

Multi-Mast Flight School<br />

system dedicated to foil<br />

neophytes through which<br />

the discipline can be<br />

learnt progressively using<br />

three different must sizes.<br />

Furthermore, on January<br />

4th Slingshot Kiteboarding<br />

announced the entry<br />

of two new riders among<br />

the ranks of its team, and<br />

for the first time in the<br />

history of the brand, they<br />

are foil specialists.<br />

We are talking about the<br />

Mexican athlete Adam<br />

Withington who is currently<br />

taking the foil to<br />

its maximum acrobatic<br />

expression at global level<br />

and the young American<br />

rider Fred Hope who although<br />

being only 15 years<br />

old has made himself<br />

known all over the world<br />

for his aggressive style<br />

and his extraordinary talent.

142<br />

Trends<br />

How about learning kitefoil? Slingshot launches the Academy<br />

www.foil-academy.com<br />

<strong>Kitesoul</strong> gives it a try<br />

However, Slingshot does<br />

not restrict the Academy<br />

project only to foiling<br />

for the discipline of kiteboarding.<br />

In fact, it is already<br />

working on lessons<br />

dedicated also to windsurfing,<br />

wakeboarding<br />

and stand up paddle. In<br />

short, it’s foiling mania.<br />

That’s why <strong>Kitesoul</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

too, certain of the<br />

increasing success that<br />

kitefoiling will have in<br />

the future of our sport,<br />

accepts the challenge<br />

launched by Slingshot and<br />

its Academy. In the next<br />

issue of the magazine in<br />

fact it will be published<br />

an interesting report of<br />

the kitefoil self-learning<br />

test by the editors of <strong>Kitesoul</strong><br />

who will follow step<br />

by step the video lessons<br />

of the American Brand and<br />

will try to experience the<br />

magic of gliding in midair.<br />

Stay tuned!

Alex Fox:<br />

thanks to Slingshot foiling<br />

is today within everyone’s<br />

reach<br />

Slingshot brand manager and team rider explains in this<br />

interesting interview how the Foil Academy project was<br />

created and what riding level can be reached by attending<br />

every lesson. And, above all, the work carried out by<br />

the American brand in terms of design and materials<br />

aimed at spreading this fantastic discipline that will revolutionize<br />

the world of kiteboarding and not just that.

144<br />

Interview<br />

Alex Fox: thanks to Slingshot foiling is today within everyone’s reach<br />

KS_When and how the Foil Academy's idea came up<br />

and what's the long term goal with it?<br />

Foil Academy came about because of the success of the<br />

multi-mast Foiling Flight School package we launched<br />

in early 2016. The concept of being able to learn with<br />

three different mast lengths- starting small and graduating<br />

in length as you improve- was an instant hit all<br />

over the world. It didn’t take long for us to realize why:<br />

as kite foiling exploded in recent years, a huge number<br />

of kiters remained hesitant to invest in gear because<br />

they were intimidated and didn’t have the right learning<br />

tools.<br />

I guess you could say we inspired ourselves. As soon as<br />

we saw how well received the Flight School system was,<br />

we realized we were providing the right tools for learning,<br />

but there was still a huge opportunity, and need,<br />

for teaching people how to use those tools properly.<br />

There are plenty of tutorials out there on foiling, but<br />

until Foil Academy, there has never been one cohesive<br />

resource where riders can find everything they need in<br />

an easy-to-follow format.<br />

Our vision for the future is to have continually evolving<br />

content, for Kite Foil Academy as well as for the other<br />

full courses we are developing for other facets of foiling,<br />

like Windsurf, Surf, SUP and Wake.<br />

KS_How long did it take to complete the project and<br />

who in your team has been involved?<br />

From planning and developing scripts and content,<br />

filming (both in studio and in the field), editing and<br />

producing video, creating support text and narration,<br />

developing graphics and branding, uploading and organizing<br />

everything in the online software, adding fin-

ishing touches and marketing the course, the project<br />

was a huge undertaking that took team effort.<br />

In all, it took a good few months of work shared by our<br />

very talented Slingshot crew.<br />

KS_Starting from zero and with a good approach<br />

which level is supposed to be reached for who follows<br />

all the lessons of your course?<br />

Of course, this really depends on the individual rider,<br />

their skills and their learning curve, but in general we<br />

think average riders who follow the course material<br />

and use our Flight School package and Hover Glide Foil,<br />

will be up and riding confidently with a full-sized mast<br />

and will have the skills to start learning tacks, gibes<br />

and transitions.<br />

The course features some amazing advanced content<br />

as well, but for the most part that is designed as a teaser,<br />

or motivator, to highlight what is possible with foiling.<br />

The step-by-step instruction we provide is aimed<br />

at teaching the basics and getting riders foiling confidently<br />

as quickly and safely as possible.<br />

Beyond the basics, it’s time on the water, repetition<br />

and developing muscle memory that will take riders to<br />

the next level.<br />

KS_The concept of a video course for free sounds like<br />

a great expression of customer care philosophy for a<br />

brand like yours. This can be the start of a new phase?<br />

With kites as safe and user-friendly as they are these<br />

days, foiling is one of the few disciplines in kiteboarding<br />

that people are still genuinely intimidated by. From<br />

a brand perspective, we see a couple direct benefits to<br />

providing the course to anyone who wants it, for free.

146<br />

Interview<br />

Alex Fox: thanks to Slingshot foiling is today<br />

First, as you said, it is a great expression<br />

of customer service. Slingshot<br />

has always prided itself on excellent<br />

and personal customer service and<br />

this is our way of addressing a need<br />

we heard from many of our customers.<br />

Second, and just as important, is that<br />

we are in the business of getting people<br />

out on the water and having fun<br />

on all types of Slingshot gear. Foiling<br />

as an amazing aspect of kiteboarding<br />

and we are confident it is going to continue<br />

to grow in popularity. There’s no<br />

benefit to us if people are intimidated<br />

by foiling and are unwilling to try it, or give up because<br />

they have a bad experience. By providing a free learning<br />

resource, we are investing in foiling as a whole, and<br />

in the possibility of creating customers who see value<br />

in the course and decide to invest in the equipment it<br />

utilizes.<br />

KS_The kitefoil discipline is growing up all over the<br />

world and Slingshot is knee deep into this movement.<br />

What's the best innovation in your hydrofoil gear?<br />

If we’re using “knee deep” as the metaphor, I’d say<br />

we are free and clear and racing ahead, while others<br />

are knee deep in the rearview.<br />

If you look at what we’ve innovated over the last couple<br />

of years, and what we have coming in the near future,<br />

it’s clear that Slingshot carving out a name as a premier<br />

foil brand, and not just in kiteboarding. Tony Logosz,<br />

our chief designer, has his ear to the ground and is<br />

very in tuned to the future of all types of foiling. This

is an exciting and rapidly changing movement, and it’s<br />

safe to say we have one of the most innovative and forward-thinking<br />

designers in the industry on our side.<br />

To answer your question specifically, I think our multi-mast<br />

Flight School system and Hover Glide foil is<br />

our best innovation to date. Flight School instantly<br />

made foiling more achievable and accessible to riders<br />

around the world. The fact that every manufacturer in<br />

the industry is scrambling to create their own version<br />

is a testament to its efficacy.

148<br />

Equipment<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called ‘Rigid Thread Lines’<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called<br />

Rigid Thread Lines<br />

After years of study and research Roberto Ricci<br />

Designs developed the Rigid Thread Lines, an innovative<br />

formula for lines made of synthetic, rigid<br />

and high modulus fibre which represent the state<br />

of the art of this product at global level. Roberto<br />

Ricci explains it in an interesting interview.<br />

Text: David Ingiosi<br />

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova, Andre Magarao e Chris Bobryk

150<br />

Equipment<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called ‘Rigid Thread Lines’<br />

Dyneema is the innovative synthetic fibre<br />

In the past recent years, the evolution of kitesurfing equipmenthas<br />

made great strides in terms of materials, design and concept. A continuous<br />

research that sees the various brands in the market constantly<br />

committed to developing products increasingly effective in<br />

terms of performance, lines, ergonomics, appearance and style. Design<br />

studies and manufacturers are mainly focused on kites, boards<br />

and bars. It appears that not as much attention is dedicated to another<br />

part of the equipment, just as important: the lines of the bar.<br />

These represent a crucial factor for the control of a kite through the<br />

control bar and they greatly influence its performance, as well as being<br />

subject to heavy loads both whilst navigating as well as during<br />

the maneuvers. This shows how the lines are the part of the equip-

1.5 million m RRD lines all over the world<br />

ment most exposed to wear and tear and,in the worst case, to breakage.<br />

Nowadays, those manufacturers who want to offer efficient lines,<br />

highly-performing, up to date and to technology, have no other choice<br />

but to start from the specific needs of this sport and of its practitioners<br />

and avoid to recycle concepts, materials and production<br />

systems borrowed from other disciplines. These principles are the<br />

basis on which the Roberto Ricci Designs team developed the Rigid<br />

Thread Lines, new concept lines made of synthetic fibre with fantastic<br />

features and technical properties. We get a detailed explanation<br />

by Roberto Ricci, owner of RRD, who we contacted for this interesting<br />


152<br />

Equipment<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called ‘Rigid Thread Lines’<br />

KS_Every year RRD makes some changes<br />

to bars as well as to the kites. The<br />

lines however have been the same for<br />

6 years. Tell us how the development of<br />

the RigidThread Lines came to be...<br />

The Rigid Thread Lines were entirely developed<br />

by Werther Castelletti, the RRD<br />

designer, who put together this idea<br />

with an Italian manufacturer of lines. Together<br />

we created an exclusive formula<br />

to develop a kite bar which shows to be<br />

the biggest evolution for kite bars worldwide.<br />

It took us a long time before we<br />

decided to change the lines because we<br />

wanted to be 100 percent sure, actually<br />

1.000 percent sure, to create an effective<br />

product capable of meeting our needs.<br />

Currently after producing about 1.5 million<br />

meters of lines in the world we are<br />

confident that our product represents<br />

without a doubt a reference which allows<br />

us to fly high in the global market .

KS_Could you describe in detail the<br />

materials with which these lines are<br />

made of?<br />

The lines are entirely built in Dyneema,<br />

a high load synthetic fibre patented<br />

by the company Dupont here in Europe<br />

and which in the United States is called<br />

Spectra, the name of the company which<br />

patented itoverseas. The characteristic<br />

of this material is its high resistance to<br />

traction and an elongation percentage<br />

close to zero. Also, it is quite rigid and<br />

very resistant to cuts and abrasions. We<br />

used these technical qualities to create<br />

unidirectional fibre lines from the<br />

attachment point on the bar up to the<br />

tips of the kite. This natural and perfect<br />

position of the fibres prevents the lines<br />

from losing any tension, as if they were<br />

electric wires, to avoid twists and perfectly<br />

follow the direction of the forces<br />

involved between the kite and the bar.<br />

Another extremely important part of the<br />

work was the creation of a special external<br />

hard sock of Dyneema with a compact<br />

and micrometric structure which<br />

protects the lines from cuts and friction,<br />

it prevents the creation of that sort of<br />

fluff that covers traditional lines after<br />

a while, reduces the formation of knots<br />

and extends the lifespan of the lines.

154<br />

Equipment<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called ‘Rigid Thread Lines’<br />

KS_How do these lines react to the prolonged<br />

exposure to sunrays and salt?<br />

Sun, sand and salt are the lines’ worst<br />

enemies because they affect the physical<br />

and technical properties of the fibres<br />

by reducing the load resistance, increasing<br />

the wear and tear and compromising<br />

the lifespan of the lines. Salt influences<br />

the stretching properties of the lines<br />

as it crystallizes within them and when<br />

the lines stretch, for example during a<br />

kiteloop, these salt crystals prevent the<br />

line from returning to the initial position.<br />

As opposed to normal threaded lines in<br />

the market which over time are subject<br />

to the opening of the strands, our lines<br />

are fully protected by the outer sock,<br />

just like that plastic cover that protects<br />

the copper wires inside electric cables.<br />

This way the Dyneema fibres don't ever<br />

get in contact with atmospheric agents.<br />

There are many Brands which systematically<br />

announce fantastic bars evolutions<br />

which however have threaded lines<br />

easily prone to wear and tear. I believe<br />

that a serious approach to the evolution<br />

of the bars cannot be separated from an<br />

equally thorough designing for effective<br />

lines, strictly designed for the needs of<br />

this sport. During these 6 years in RRD<br />

we focused on how to make the most out<br />

of technology, materials and the evolution<br />

in this field.

No risks of breakage

156<br />

Equipment<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called ‘Rigid Thread Lines’<br />

KS_The lines are produced in Italy,<br />

and surely, this is a choice in favour of<br />

quality. Who are your developers and<br />

who are the manufacturers?<br />

Werther develops every aspect, whereas<br />

in relation to the manufacturing all I can<br />

say is that it is internal to the RRD factory.<br />

KS_What are the benefits of these lines<br />

in radical conditions, for instance during<br />

kiteloops at the King of the Air?<br />

In relation to that I wouldn't say there<br />

are that many differences in terms of<br />

performance compared to other lines on<br />

the market. Let's say that the rider may<br />

experience a more direct feeling with the<br />

kite than with other bars because our<br />

lines have a very reduced stretch therefore<br />

a more immediate and precise response<br />

of the kite to the movements on<br />

the bar. The benefits are really the result<br />

of a personal appreciation. What's sure<br />

is that those who ride in radical conditions<br />

won't need to check whether the<br />

lines have stretched or broke after each<br />

session because this is absolutely unlikely.

158<br />

Equipment<br />

RRD lines: the revolution is called ‘Rigid Thread Lines’<br />

KS_In Freestyle are there any differences<br />

in the feeling for example when<br />

performing the pop?<br />

Here again, I would say that it's about a<br />

more direct feeling with the bar and the<br />

fact that the kite responds much more<br />

precisely, without any delay and dispersion<br />

of power, especially when changing<br />

direction of the kite.<br />

KS_Do you think there is still some<br />

room for improvement in a product already<br />

so successful? Are you considering<br />

some new solution?<br />

No, we were trying lines with a different<br />

diameter, thinner lines, and we got<br />

to the point of reducing them by over a<br />

millimetre so the lines were still strong<br />

enough, but we felt that the benefit of<br />

thinner lines would have been just the<br />

weight, only useful for super light wind<br />

condition for foiling for example. Therefore,<br />

for now, as far as the lines are concerned<br />

we are super happy to have such<br />

an outstanding and unrivalled product<br />


160<br />

Video saga<br />

Felipe Moure Lopez and his Blind Judge 5 Challenge<br />

Is it possible that a nearly 40 years<br />

old rider can land one of the most<br />

difficult and spectacular manoeuvres<br />

in Freestyle, the Blind Judge 5? This<br />

is the bet of Felipe Moure Lopez, a<br />

Spanish enthusiastic rider who created<br />

a funny video saga about his personal<br />

challenge hoping to inspire those who<br />

wish to fully enjoy kitesurfing despite<br />

the age.<br />

and his Blind Jud

ge 5 Challenge

162<br />

Video saga<br />

Felipe Moure Lopez and his Blind Judge 5 Challenge<br />

This is the story about a<br />

rider born in 1978. A man<br />

who learnt kiteboarding<br />

when he was 30 years old,<br />

it’s not a bad moment in<br />

life, in general. You can be<br />

in good shape, you have<br />

more money than when<br />

you are younger, sex is better<br />

when you are 30 than<br />

when you are 20 and your<br />

willpower is stronger than<br />

when you were a teenager<br />

and just having a shower<br />

was something so hard<br />

to do when you were lying<br />

on the sofa Thirties are a<br />

good moment in general,<br />

maybe alopecia can concern<br />

a bit, you may have it<br />

or not but the concerning<br />

is always around you. So,<br />

except for that, thirties<br />

are great!<br />

This man who learnt to<br />

go upwind in his thirties<br />

didn’t know the mess<br />

he was about to get in,<br />

he didn’t know that he<br />

was starting to play the<br />

most addictive videogame<br />

in history. That thing,<br />

the kiteboarding, which<br />

seemed harmless and<br />

even healthy (it is a sport<br />

in the end, sport is good),<br />

became a hard drug.<br />

Kitesurf like a<br />

videogame: passing<br />

the levels<br />

At the beginning, kiting<br />

was just something else<br />

between all his hobbies,<br />

it was just another videogame.<br />

He passed the first<br />

stage (going upwind), then<br />

jumping, then rotations,<br />

second stage passed!<br />

Then he went for the bonus<br />

stage (grabs hooked in,<br />

easy and fun, the same as<br />

when you have to destroy<br />

a car in Street Fighter II).<br />

Then he changed level<br />

from easy to intermediate<br />

and started to unhook. And<br />

just then, when everything<br />

seemed to get stuck, it<br />

was the moment when the<br />

real craziness started, the<br />

most addictive stage of<br />

the videogame. If you pass<br />

this stage, there is no way

164<br />

Video saga<br />

Felipe Moure Lopez and his Blind Judge 5 Challenge<br />

back! We are talking about<br />

the handle pass! Apparently,<br />

it seems a kid’s thing,<br />

easy: ride fast, go downwind,<br />

unhook, pop with<br />

kite at 45 degree and pass<br />

the bar behind your back<br />

from one hand to the other<br />

one, then look at the water<br />

again and land as you can.<br />

Easy? Bullshit! The poor<br />

guy we are dedicating this<br />

lines spent one year trying<br />

to pass this stage of<br />

the simple handle pass<br />

in the air (the Blind Judge<br />

trick). But he got it. It was<br />

at the end of 2012 in Brazil<br />

when he was able to pass<br />

this stage. And, as we said<br />

lines before, there was no<br />

way back, that trick which<br />

looked impossible at the<br />

beginning came true and<br />

a new World appeared in<br />

front of his eyes, a world<br />

of possibilities wider than<br />

King Kong’s penis!<br />

My rider buddies are<br />

all younger than I am<br />

In that moment, 34 years<br />

old, he didn’t realize that

he had put off all his previous<br />

projects and he had<br />

left aside the piano, the<br />

pencil and his drawings,<br />

the gym, the Step classes,<br />

the PlayStation and the<br />

Tekken, the Rollerblades,<br />

he even gave up his habit<br />

of watching Fight Club<br />

(amazing movie) once per<br />

week. His old life had disappeared,<br />

everything was<br />

kiteboarding. Everything<br />

in his life became trying<br />

new tricks and talking<br />

about them with his kite<br />

friends: Hey, man, yesterday<br />

I got a new trick!<br />

The Hinterberger! Hinter<br />

what? Hitler? Ana Frank?<br />

Where? Burger? What<br />

the hell are you talking<br />

about?. Yes, this was the<br />

typical answer of anybody<br />

of his age. Why? Obvious!<br />

Because the people who<br />

knew what a Hinterberger<br />

is, are pretty much younger!<br />

(usually).<br />

The Freestyle 30+: it<br />

can be done!<br />

He felt alone so he decided<br />

to make a video to encourage<br />

people of his age<br />

to try freestyle tricks. The<br />

Freestyle 30+ video saga<br />

and its famous shout... Excuses!<br />

or Gallina! (chicken<br />

in Spanish). He wanted to<br />

say that age doesn’t matter,<br />

he wanted to inspire<br />

people of every age to play<br />

at the same level of the<br />

videogame, he wanted to<br />

show that it was possible<br />

to do nearly all the freestyle<br />

tricks you can see in<br />

competitions, even when<br />

you are not a young boy.<br />

And he did it! You can see it<br />

in that saga: blind judge3,<br />

heart attack, Smobe, Hinterberger,<br />

315, KGB... All<br />

this videos are full of<br />

sense of humour, provocation<br />

and inspiration<br />

for people of about 35-40<br />

years of age who still feel<br />

more or less young but<br />

who start to feel too old for<br />

trying tricks or facing the<br />

Newtons of a hard landing<br />

riding boots. He inspired<br />

them and soon, some old-

166<br />

Video saga<br />

Felipe Moure Lopez and his Blind Judge 5 Challenge<br />

Watch th<br />

web cana<br />

episodes<br />


e Felipe Moure Lopez<br />

l with the three<br />

of The Blind Judge 5<br />

e:<br />

ies started to be seen in<br />

the lagoons, grandpas like<br />

him trying to pass the bar,<br />

riding hard with C-kites<br />

and boots and shouting<br />

Excuses! when any of their<br />

friends talked about pain<br />

in the knees, in the back<br />

or in the forearms.<br />

Double Handle Pass:<br />

the going gets tough<br />

But this was not enough<br />

for him, he still wanted to<br />

draw more attention! He<br />

wanted to inspire more<br />

and more people; he still<br />

wanted to shout louder<br />

age doesn’t matter. So, he<br />

came up with and idea.<br />

The simple handle pass<br />

appeared to be impossible<br />

years ago, ok, but it<br />

was possible in the end,<br />

it’s possible now. So, if<br />

the double handle pass<br />

seems to be impossible<br />

now, it has to be possible<br />

someday. This man about<br />

to be 40 wanted to go for<br />

a double handle pass! The<br />

Blind Judge 5 became his<br />

next goal, a powered double<br />

handle pass (Backside<br />

315 is the real name) only<br />

performed by legends and<br />

professional riders of the<br />

World Championship. It’s<br />

not an easy trick, less than<br />

100 people in the world<br />

are able to do it nowadays<br />

and, moreover, there is<br />

only a woman in the World<br />

(Bruna Kajiya) able to get<br />

it. So, now the videogame<br />

is in the Final Stage, Extreme<br />

difficulty Level is<br />

on! The challenge for him<br />

now is to become the oldest<br />

man in the world able<br />

to do a Blind Judge 5!<br />

That’s The BJ5 Challenge.<br />

Felipe Moure still hasn’t<br />

overcome it, but he won’t<br />

stop until he gets it and,<br />

when he finally gets it, he<br />

will make his message<br />

clear: It’s not about age.<br />

It’s about attitude.

168<br />

Interview<br />

A lot of irony, great motivation, nasty accidents. But I enjoy the path

A lot of irony, great<br />

motivation, nasty<br />

accidents. But I enjoy<br />

the path<br />

Let’s find out, through his own words,<br />

something more about Felipe Moure Lopez’<br />

story and about what this rider has to tell<br />

the world:

170<br />

Interview<br />

A lot of irony, great motivation, nasty accidents. But I enjoy the path<br />

KS_Why do you want to make the buzz with your challenge?<br />

As many things in life, it’s all about marketing, how many<br />

people are out there doing amazing things? Millions! But,<br />

if they don't make the buzz, they won’t inspire anybody, all<br />

that amazing things will be lost in time like tears in the rain<br />

(Blade Runner, hehehe...). If I got the Blind Judge 5 alone in a<br />

remote lagoon, for me it would have been an orgasm anyway,<br />

it’s a personal goal and the first being pleasured is I. But if I<br />

do it alone, I won’t inspire anybody! I don’t want to die alone<br />

in a lagoon! I want to die inspiring people! Hahaha!.<br />

KS_Little Summary about the Evolution of the Challenge?<br />

Episode I: Egypt. July 2015. Lots of Pushups. Just two Blind<br />

Judge 5 attempts. Very difficult, not high enough to rotate,<br />

not fast enough to spin This trip was just an approach to the<br />

trick.<br />

Episode II: Brazil. November 2015.<br />

Lots of Pullups. Several attempts of<br />

Blind Judge 5. Hard work improving<br />

my pop. The trick is closer but I go<br />

too high and hard and I broke my<br />

meniscus. What a bummer!<br />

Episode III: Brazil. August 2016. Lots<br />

of Squats. I recovered from my knee<br />

injury and I got closer to the trick<br />

than ever! I do lots of attempts and<br />

everyone is closer than the last one.<br />

But I broke my femoral biceps in the<br />

same lagoon I broke my meniscus<br />

months ago! I have to stop my attempts.<br />

Currently, I have totally recovered

from the meniscus and the femoral biceps injuries but I still<br />

haven’t got the Blind Judge 5. Grrr!.<br />

KS_How did you come up with the idea of the pushups in<br />

the First Episode?<br />

It was because a great friend of mine (Phil Larcher, rider from<br />

Liquid Force) and myself were drunk one night, talking about<br />

being fit and we made the typical bet let’s see who is more in<br />

shape by the 1st of October of this year. So, the bet gave me<br />

an excuse to do pushups anywhere and anytime: at a party,<br />

at the high school where I work (actually, I’m a computer science<br />

teacher) while I teach, waiting for the lift or even in the<br />

boarding queue. Everything because I wanted to be stronger<br />

than my friend Phil and, at the same time, I didn’t realize I<br />

was getting a stronger chest to prevent shoulder injuries (in<br />

the end, shoulder is weak for handle passes). During those<br />

days, I would get close to somebody and would tell him/her<br />

give me a number (he/she didn’t know what was the purpose<br />

of the number) and after they told me the number I would<br />

do as many pushups as the number they had told me. It was<br />

so funny and people always laughed a lot about that stupid<br />

thing. I still try to follow that habit which I named Random<br />

Pushupping, you do a lot of pushups randomly along the<br />

day and sometimes, when you make counts before going to

172<br />

Interview<br />

A lot of irony, great motivation, nasty accidents. But I enjoy the path<br />

bed you realize you’ve<br />

done 500 reps! Bloody<br />

Hell! Flipping hard! After<br />

this crazy (and very<br />

healthy) habit, including<br />

so many pushup<br />

scenes (pyramids, Luxor<br />

temple, airplane corridor,<br />

boarding queue,<br />

etc.) it was something<br />

I didn’t decide. It came<br />

naturally by itself. The<br />

same as it happened<br />

with the scene of the<br />

pushups over the car<br />

roof. We didn’t decide<br />

that scene at the beginning,<br />

it was something<br />

like... Hey, look<br />

what a beautiful light right now, Hey, look at the desert, such<br />

a beautiful frame, Hey, look at the car, Pushups?, Pushups<br />

over the car?, Pushups over the car running?, Yeees, let’s<br />

do it... It was something like that. Planning things in life is<br />

something good, but you always have to leave -at least- half<br />

of the plan open for improvisation. That’s the way of letting<br />

the real good things happen...<br />

KS_What about the naked scene with the cows in Episode<br />

II?<br />

One of the greatest moments in my life, hahaha! I went to a<br />

secret lagoon... (nothing is secret using Google earth) with<br />

Manel Arpa (North), Bas Koole (Airush), Sergio Turégano<br />

(Best) and Pau Gisbert (Cabrinha). We went there because

Manel was running out of time to film his video, he was about<br />

to leave Brazil and he needed an empty lagoon with no kiters<br />

around. And so it was. No kiters and no people around, that<br />

was not a secret lagoon, it was a ghost lagoon! So I decided<br />

to go around naked because it was really funny being there<br />

with nobody around, running and kiting with my Big George<br />

swinging at the sun, hahaha! Then, I suddenly saw a group of<br />

cows, I put the tripod in a good place, the cows looked at me,<br />

we felt the love and we flowed together! It was another scene<br />

that I didn’t decide. It was a great moment! No planning, no<br />

cameraman, just me, the tripod and the cows. Unforgettable!<br />

KS_And what happens when you fail a BJ5 attempt?<br />

It depends on how close you are to the Blind Judge 5. You<br />

can see the progression along the 3 episodes. In Egypt, Episode<br />

I, I still hadn’t tried it very much. So, instead of a 540<br />

degree rotation I did a 450 rotation, that’s a heelside edge,<br />

board crossed to wind direction. A big crash, as if the board<br />

gets stuck in the water and you get thrown backwards like<br />

Indiana Jones whip. The result is a neck contracture, which<br />

needs 2 days to recover. That’s nothing. In Episode II in Brazil,<br />

I was more committed for the BJ5, my pop was harder so<br />

I got higher with time enough to do a 540 degree rotation.<br />

The heelside edge (and the flipping 2 days neck contracture)<br />

disappeared from my life, the crashes were not so painful<br />

anymore. I progressed on my Blind Judge 5 adventure! Then<br />

the only thing I was focused on was to go higher and higher<br />

so as to have more time to complete the rotation and catch

174<br />

Interview<br />

A lot of irony, great motivation, nasty accidents. But I enjoy the path<br />

the bar in the second handle pass, but I ignored the fact that<br />

the higher and more powered you go, the harder the landing<br />

is… And I got injured in the last attempt (the last attempt of<br />

Episode II is the real moment of the injury). Broken meniscus,<br />

Bone contusion, blah, blah, blah!<br />

KS_And how did you recover? Did you need surgery?<br />

At the beginning I was a bit scared. It was the first injury in<br />

my life and I was 37. And it was not the typical ankle little<br />

thing, was something in the knee. The Knee! So important! So<br />

big! “our knees, our wheels” (my mother always says that) I<br />

did an RMI and they said Broken meniscus, maybe you need<br />

surgery. But… I kept myself positive trying to think as less as<br />

possible about it. I did cycling like a sick, I stretched a lot<br />

and got my left leg stronger than King Kong’s rocket. In the<br />

end, I didn’t need surgery. Yahoo!<br />

KS_After being injured, during the recovery, did you think<br />

about giving up the challenge?<br />

No, of course I didn’t. And the reward for keeping on trying is<br />

than I can go on answering what happens now when I fail the<br />

Blind Judge 5. Nothing happens! After recovering from the<br />

knee injury, I worked a lot on the trick and now I get higher<br />

enough to do the whole rotation so I don’t suffer the heelside<br />

edge and at the same time, I don’t go so high that my legs

cannot stand it. Now<br />

I’m even closer! Check<br />

it in the Episode!<br />

KS_What happens<br />

with Liam Whaley,<br />

what does he have<br />

to do with your challenge?<br />

He’s been a good<br />

friend since 2012,<br />

when I was in Brazil<br />

trying to do my first<br />

handle pass, he was<br />

16 and I was 34. Yes,<br />

I know, big age difference,<br />

but I’m used<br />

to it. Since I started<br />

kiteboarding, some<br />

of my best friends are<br />

pretty much younger<br />

than I am. Moreover,<br />

I usually kite in Tarifa<br />

with all these kids<br />

(they were kids when I<br />

first met them): Maxi<br />

Gómez, Liam, Jerome<br />

Cloetens, Manu de Pfyffer The thing is that, Liam is the Freestyle<br />

World Champion; he is an influent person in the kite<br />

world. He helps me to make the buzz with this story and we<br />

have real fun together filming and inventing stupid things<br />

and stupid advices like doing lots and lots of pushups, lots<br />

and lots of pullups or inflating the kite using my anus. In<br />

that sense, it’s just fun for making people laugh and, in the<br />

end, reaching more people to inspire!<br />

KS_Why so much nudity in your videos?<br />

Really, I don’t know... Do you remember what I told you before<br />

about plans in life and let some place for improvisation.

176<br />

Interview<br />

A lot of irony, great motivation, nasty accidents. But I enjoy the path<br />

Well, I don’t know why but<br />

when I start improvising<br />

I always end up naked,<br />

hahaha! Anyway, being<br />

naked is always funny<br />

and always makes people<br />

smile.<br />

KS_So, what’s next?<br />

You still haven’t got the<br />

Blind Judge 5, what are<br />

you going to do now?<br />

Obvious! I will make another<br />

Episode! Episode IV!<br />

Where? Still don’t know.<br />

Exercise? Still don’t<br />

know. Pushups, Pullups,<br />

Squats, and the next is...<br />

maybe naked handstand,<br />

who knows? Will I get the<br />

Blind Judge 5 in the next Episode? Who knows... At the moment,<br />

I’m going to Coche Island in Venezuela next week just<br />

for training, winter was not very windy here in Spain this<br />

year and I have to get my skills back, I feel as if I’m not able<br />

to do a simple Blind Judge 3, so I have to recover my confidence.<br />

Maybe I film my Episode IV in Coche, let’s see.<br />

KS_And just to finish how do you know there is nobody<br />

older than you who is able to do the Blind Judge 5?<br />

I don’t know. That was one of the reasons to make the videos,<br />

just to find out. But at the moment, nobody has complained<br />

about it so I suppose there isn’t any oldie like me able to do<br />

it. Let’s see if I can be the first. But, the most import of all<br />

is that: it doesn’t matter if I can get it or not. Anyway, I’m<br />

inspiring people to create their own challenges, their own<br />

goals and go for them! Go for your goals and enjoy the path,<br />

even if you blow your knee, enjoy the path...<br />

Big hug to everybody!

178<br />

Wave strapless<br />

Lo straight air<br />

Everything must have<br />

a beginning and the<br />

beginning of strapless<br />

freestyle tricks starts<br />

with the straight air, as<br />

this trick is the start to<br />

all other tricks. Having<br />

the ability and being able<br />

to recognize when the<br />

board is secure to your<br />

feet without straps is<br />

essential to progressing<br />

your strapless abilities.<br />

B y R e o S t e v e n s

1.<br />

Like any jump, whether it’s strapped or<br />

strapless, to leave the water you must<br />

load up the kite and board by setting a<br />

rail and edging against the kite. This creates<br />

added tension in the lines that you<br />

will use to lift you off the water.<br />

2.<br />

As you load up your board, turn the nose<br />

of the board slightly into the wind, just<br />

enough so as you leave the water the<br />

bottom of the board is faced into the<br />

wind. You may point the toes of your feet<br />

to help you do this if you feel necessary.<br />

3.<br />

Though out the air, make sure to keep<br />

the bottom of the board facing into the<br />

wind; if the upwind rail goes low enough<br />

for the wind to hit the top of the board,<br />

the board will fly off your feet.<br />

4.<br />

Spot your landing and land like you<br />

would a normal strapped jump.<br />

TIPS<br />

Take your back hand off the bar, it is easier<br />

to rotate your body to a position that<br />

allows you to get the bottom of the board<br />

up and facing the wind.<br />

Use the chicken loop to speed up or slow<br />

down to stay connected with your board<br />

in the air.<br />

If possible, time your take off with a<br />

‘kicker’ such as a small wave or chop to<br />

help you initiate your jump.

Conquer<br />

Every Set<br />



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29”/73.7 cm<br />

101L<br />

8’1”/246.4 cm<br />

29”/73.7 cm<br />

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8’6”/259.1 cm<br />

29”/73.7 cm<br />

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+39 328 6442519<br />

frankiebees.com, Rider: Kai Lenny

182<br />


F-One<br />

Product focus<br />

F-ONE Furtive V.1<br />

www.f-onekites.com<br />

Testo e foto courtesy F-One<br />

SIZE: 5m² 6.4m² 8m² 10m² 12m²<br />

WIND RANGE: +30 knts +25 knts 20 > 35 knts 1 2 > 26 knts 8 > 22 knts<br />

Comfortable and fast, this kite<br />

has a fantastic flying range<br />

which provides great tolerance<br />

to wind variations, especially in<br />

the high range. Its high aspect<br />

ration and its 5 struts, control<br />

the profile. It ensure maximum<br />

traction at the edge of the window.<br />

Its W5 bridle is innovative<br />

and brings together the function<br />

of the bridle and a 5th line!<br />

The FURTIVE is ideal for long-distance<br />

racing, speed riding and<br />

hang-time sessions.

F-ONE Trax HRD<br />

Carbon Series<br />

F-ONE's Trax has an unrivalled<br />

shape. This board offers smooth<br />

riding, incredible drive, earlier<br />

planning as well as better<br />

upwind performances.<br />

Its carbon construction considerably<br />

improves the board's<br />

strength and weight.

184<br />


F-One<br />

Product focus<br />

Speed Gun - Alex Caizergues<br />

Pro Model - Carbon Series<br />

The new AC21 Speed board<br />

pro Model has a unique shape<br />

designed for speed and pure<br />

adrenaline. Using a narrow and<br />

asymmetrical outline for a maximum<br />

top end speed, the board's<br />

secret lies in its rocker line<br />

combined with a single concave<br />

and flex distribution for an optimum<br />

balance between control<br />

and speed. This board tears up<br />

the spots as soon as the wind<br />





NON PeRDete IL NEXT PROSSIMO next ISSUE NuMeRO ISSue April GIune - may DICeMBRe - out JuLY on out - GeNNAIO the on 2 th th of IN APRIL April uSCItA 2017 IL 2 DICeMBRe 2015<br />

Per informazioni o suggerimenti More info at: contattateci info@kitesoul.com all’indirizzo info@kitesoul.com<br />

Per la pubblicità sul magazine Adv: adv@kitesoul.com<br />

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