Take the risk or lose the chance! What is it going to be 2019?
A lot of questions about the season of foiling. About my 2019. How it was for me … If I still like it? Not boring yet? I miss freestyle?
Let me answer already one question, yes I do miss freestyle and flying around when foiling! – nothing beats that feeling. And I still do that!! But also nothing beats the feeling of flying over the water and getting faster and faster in 0 wind and in a lot of wind – every day. Flying a bigger kite than all the twintippers around. It`s different. I don’t want to miss the strange faces some pull up if people ask me: “what size are you taking? Sure? It`s always smaller with a foil is it?” The follow up question: “Is it not a little too much? Can you foil?”… I always answer: yes a little, I just start to understand it. But also the surprised faces on the beach when you land a handle pass or all the guys are watching how you are launching a 4m in the storms. Or flying off mountains in the snow – I don’t want to miss out on all off that.
And no – I don’t pick a side But you can.. and boring, my life?
Starting 2019 in Peru, where I was focused on everything, foiling freestyle, big air, wave… – teaching again -having a lot of fun and getting tricks back.
“What was it going to be this year?“
You have no idea how much I struggled with that question this year. so many new things, a lot of unexpected adventures, never ending travels, lots of unknown challenges, new experiences, limits tested, boundaries crossed and lesson learned.
“Can I do this? And will it be fun? How? Do I get the registered gear? Will someone believe in me? 2019 what is it going to be?“
I never answered this question during the year. I still hear myself saying, I won’t be away that much this year.. yeaah right. Until the very last moment I was never sure about where to go, which competition to go to or even to go or not. Sun or Snow or Home? School, work… other sports… That turned out in a lot of last minute boardbag packing and dragging around in trains/busses/airplanes this year. And a lot of times last minute equiment searching – luckily with a lot of help
AND you know what? Looking back, 2019 has been great! Actually I found answer to the questions today. I always forget to look back unless people ask me. That happened on the way here to Cabarete. After meeting a woman in the bus and talking about the usual questions she said: “you have seen so many places, met so many people, so many experiences, you achieved a lot already, you can do anything. You did the right thing and worked hard – you can be proud”. Before leaving the bus she said something she always said to her children: “Take the risk or lose the change”. Did she saw my question I struggled with about 2019?
The year of 2019
…It all started in the snow after Peru with winning the Long distance at the European championships and the world championships Snowkite–stop at the Reschensee. And a third place in course race which I really hated. But had to accept you can`t do good in everything always. It was just too much. At least I had fun racing on skies again – proving I can still get there. Even getting to the 120 km/hour again without a kite on the slopes. Seeing the RedBull Ragnarok from the sideline this year, but having a great three weeks in the snow, without thinking about competing – that is not happening that often somewhere with kites or snow gear without competition – off course I still had some fly off the mountain, discover new tracks, learn new tricks and speed goals. Don`t worry I always find limits to push and boundaries to cross
Formula Kite Worlds
Coming back from more freestyle than foiling & even more snowkiting adventures. The moment before going to the Formula Kite Worlds last may- I said: I will just have a look to see if it`s fun, if I can do it. And there I went: without really preparation or that much knowledge…never used (last minute) kites and foil, my waist harness, secretly still preferring that tubekite. I didn`t saw myself racing in between the other fast girls – yet. But if I never go, I will never know (if I can do it and if I like it). And since no-one from the Netherlands has been checking it out. I just jumped in. Getting a bit scared or lost.. seeing them preparing and seeing the coaches and teams around. I was a little lonely in between. It`s a bit different scene than freestyle in for example the Philippines. And than.. launching that foilkite from a few stones, offshore wind….sure? Well, I never did something like that. But since I have the skill to always find myself new unknown challenges, limits to break and missions to survive… …. And if you never try you will never know. And I have the habit to try first and then I think.
That`s the start of this year’s foil season (which I didn`t realized at that moment). I know coming here wouldn`t be easy. I also know before I still had to adjust and learn a loooooot. I was the only one from the 120 participants with a waist harness, well that’s easy adjusted later on …. They already challenged me for a freestyle heat. I found myself a real challenge this time. This event, I had my own goals. To finish all races, start all starts – on time. Surprisingly from the 30 participants, I ended up 18th a very fair result with the equipment used and training hours done. What I really thought? I am not going to do this again. Well maybe, maybe…
Close after this event I went to Dakhla for coaching/teaching , having a great time! Meeting new people and getting to know another spot around the world. Flying tube kites again, flying foil kites, foiling, freestyle , wave I loved it all again J A lot of days the wind was just not enough and well I brought a foil to Dakhla – just in case. I have been using it quite often actually.
That made me that I kept thinking. Why did I think that – not again? And other people with me. I didn`t do that bad and with a little work…. After seeing the teams, I was not convinced, am I doing this? Can I do this.. alone? Material wise, training, so many details, how? Will someone believe in me? Will it be fun? And then the team event? To be better I will have to adjust, I know. I have to cross some boundaries, push the limits. It will be a long road. Different than freestyle I realized again. And my road will be always different than others.
I just kept foiling and training freestyle, big air and everything. I kept competing in the kitefoilcup Holland trying to beat as many guys as possible. That was a nice challenge. Kept thinking and meanwhile in Holland a little training group is started. It took me some time to go there. Since I can train alone and sometimes in the middle of groups with different levels it`s difficult for me. Especially when people don`t know you – yet or understand your way of doing – yet. They don`t know me and what I can do – in my own way. But let`s see where it ends. I missed out on the Dutch nationals (but hey I already missed all other disciplines as well) that doesn`t mean I can`t do this and later on the Europeans – every bit of practice will help. Or not? I still struggled with that question.
After some weeks I found out that I actually qualified for the world sailing final in France. Since this costs a lot of money and I still have the same skills and equipment.. I said no. If I go, it has to be with a purpose. Not just to go. BUT I also qualified myself for the ANOC World Beach Games 2019 in Qatar – top 20 best foilers of the world are invited. I have the opportunity to represent the Dutch at the ANOC World Beach games in Qatar, as part of TeamNL. With a coach. Well that’s a long time ago, representing a country – and with a coach. More nervous about going there with a coach than competing itself. I know they are there to help me but… sometimes I don’t know how to help myself. I always trained alone and went to competitions alone. I can do a lot.. on my own way – will anyone accept that? I never fully trained for it and until now and I will have to use the same equipment. And .. I don’t like it, to go somewhere just to go. But I said yes anyway. Because yes, I do like to dive into new adventures, make it work and learn. And not just for myself but for the whole foiling scene in The Netherlands. It`s not always about winning and this year is about learning after all.
“Take the risk or lose the change” – That woman was right, I took the chance!
That made me setting up some construction of combining work/school / kiting for a month at the Brouwersdam #campinglive. Because I really needed to make some hours on the foil, a place where I would foil (instead of twintip) in stronger winds and had to find some training buddy’s to help me get every bit better than I am today. Off course I won’t win with just four weeks of foiling but I don’t want to end up 20th . And this year was about learning is it? I tried to learn as much as I could in this short time. I managed to get friends with the seat harness. Accepted the crashes, not to be scared to swim back, get control of the flying away part (including the launching) and all conditions. Still a bit scared of the speed and how to control the foil up/downwind (it ain`t that easy as it always looks). And then keeping myself focused for longer than a 10 minute freestyle heat. Racing in between others. I promised myself not to go racing with a tube kite anymore and to be (or pretend to be) friends with all the lines and bridles. – A pretty big achievement. For someone who was standing on the beach with tears in her eyes “I will never fly that foilkites anymore” a few months before. Scared to launch it in strong winds, doesn`t understand everything of it – yet and still I am nervous to launch that kite into a lot of wind – knowing I will fly after it – figuring out all the bridle things. A tube kite I can read and write with .. this one so many details (that’s not me), being careful with the foil – it`s not a twintip (that’s also not me)….. …well, lucky I didn`t had to do that part alone a lot of times! And for sure this month I had a lot of fun with the foil kites and hydrofoil, finding that new limits… and meeting a lot of people that are super enthousiastic about foiling.
Formula Kite Europeans
Next destination Italy for the Formula Kite Europeans. Here I did had my goal not to end up as 20th anymore. (do all races with good starts and focused). I had to do better than last worlds. Actually just for myself – now I think about it. Even though I was the only one with the same equipment and the oldest kite out there. Still not really that much knowledge about technique and all other things. At least I used every free hour to put into the foiling. Minus the storm sessions with the 6 & 4m I had one pretty good race ending 13th and another one at the 11th place. And being 8th at the top mark sometimes. There were races I did everything I could (at this moment with this gear) – no mistakes. The starts where doing fine. Also had some tangles and missed one start. But hey I never did such close racing before, it really felt like racing and not just following like the last time at the worlds. We had light wind days where I could go with the 15m – which I really liked. I could play a bit with where to tack or gibe for the first time, it was a lot of fun. But also stronger and gusty winds. Which I really didn`t like at all – with this foil. I flow over the marks, through the course and get pulled out of the footstraps by a gust. Guess, I have to leave my twintip more and go foiling instead in this conditions – I know now. In the end I made it as 15th European.
Formula kite world series
That said the next stop was one of the formula kite world series also in Italy. I already know and said I had to learn a lot, practice in stronger winds or…gain some weight. Here we go: Offshore wind 45 knots, shifty and gusty. – Surprise. Scary downwind races, impossible upwind rides and holding on just a little longer than you can. Being blown away more than 10 times, tea bagging behind my too big kite, getting stuck in windholes (Yes… Is still don’t get it.) shooting myself off the beach behind my foil, the most unusual crashes. But hey- 20 starts, 20 finishes. The smallest kite in the fleet (7m).. or the biggest compared to weight (11m) – because I couldn`t get upwind so I just continued racing like that. I have never been foiling into this conditions and with this kites before. And actually it was kind of fun. I never thought about quitting or not going anymore. I just went out there and had fun. Even though it might not be the racing I hoped for. If you now it`s going to be like that the whole week, just accept it and keep on going. And after all I do like challenges, so I did this one. At this event it was the first time I wasn`t alone, we went here together with some members of the Dutch Kitefoilteam. During this competition , I learned a bit more about seeing wind or seeing a loooot of wind coming. To keep it simple and not just to do something ( I know that’s me) . I realized I have never been doing this or even thinking about it– good thing I was not alone. Ending as 14th.
Doha- Qatar to the World Beach games of 2019
After this event it was time to go to Doha- Qatar to the World Beach games of 2019. First day waiting for wind we managed to do one race. It was all about keeping the foil above the water and the kite flying. Managed to get a 10th place that one race. This event was one big battle with my kite, to keep it flying and to try get everything out of it. I didn’t gave it up. Because of equipment. That would be to easy. I got some 13th , 14th places. Where I did everything right. And some races it just didn`t work. I couldn’t tack and had to gybe instead to keep everything going. Finally we got a bit more wind so I could switch to my smaller kite, well there I made a small mistake of a few mm. and got stuck at the upwind mark. This made me finish 15th. Just short on 1 point in the overall score for the semifinals the next day. Bit of a stupid place at that moment. After protests (not for me ). It turned out I was 14th. And could compete the semifinals. It was again a super light wind day, some fighting with my kite and 6 knots of wind I missed the first start. But the second one I made and finished on time – I couldn`t do more. Even with gybe instead of tacking. Which made me stay 14th. I guess the place where I belong for now. I didn`t do it alone, I did it with the help of a coach, which made me learn (and think) even more about competing, positioning, starts, plans, staying focused – where to start and why, what to do before a race and way more – I never thought about, usually I am that person who is just going and will see…And always alone. Might be not the best races, but I learned more than ever. It actually made me realize it`s not just foiling, its one big game. And that I also need to work on my super light wind skills I guess – usually I skip this conditions because of the swimming part and being out there alone.
After all, I couldn’t wish for a better ending of this season to be part of this event, to be part of the Dutch team and – represent the Dutch as one of the 20 woman foiling here in Qatar. To see an event like this and also the other sports around it. 3 foiling events in a row , 2 months of foiling and 2 nights at home no time to miss my twintip. So many different conditions, experiences and challenges. Coming from the worlds in may: A lot learned and a lot to learn.
And my opinion? I still have a smile on my face every-time I come out of the water!
After this we did some trainings weeks together with the Dutch kitefoilteam in Spain and some days in the Netherlands. (yes I decided to jump into that part too again). Well it was and is a challenge for me. Which I can’t do alone – I know now after all events and training weeks. Used to train alone, compete alone. Not anymore with teams, coaches..I do learn from others but never that close in between. But with all of this together you push limits you usually wouldn`t because the wind is offshore, not stable or you are alone out there. During this week we had every condition. And tested the limits, I have learned things I never thought about – about training together, racing, tactics, the scenery, and myself. a lot more than just riding – what I always tought before! . . That makes it fun I found out! And there is still a lot of progression to make
This year, 2019:
I managed not to do everything, but a lot. Sometimes it asked a lot to do everything: school, work, training, competing and all other things and sports around there wasn`t really a break, that made it hard sometimes, but even more worth it! I missed out on all Dutch nationals, but got some great international adventures & Training weeks instead! Together with some awesome people. I would have never thought 2019 turned into this direction. If you told me that I was going to foil into 45 offshore gusty knots or in 5 knots of wind… in between all those people, racing international again – I would probably have said you are crazy!
Instead I have been foiling every free hour, fighting for every place, unless experience or equipment used. Winning and learning. Flying away more than once, crashing over and over or swimming back again and again. Well there I discovered that just motivates me more & makes it actually fun – finding that limits and pushing them. It`s all part of the game this season teached me! Especially during the last trainingweeks we did – they made me foiling more than ever, finding new limits, pushing the limits together, crossing new boundary’s. And after all I have learned I am not alone and foiling is more! Pushing the limits together is fun too and together we can reach a lot – thanks for rescuing, training together, competing /riding around the world together, fixing equipment and not letting me fly away this year!
Thank you – everyone being part of my 2019 !!
And you know ? Sometimes people call me lucky but .. if you work hard for it everyone can be lucky. Take the risk or lose the change a new friend told me…… These weeks answered all my questions. What is it going to be 2019? – worked out fine I think even without plans – just the goal to be better than the day before.
2020 is not a new beginning but just another chapter in this never ending adventure!
Let`s send it 2020 and have some (foiling) fun! Figure out the details, get faster and show them what we can do