Individual Kitefoiling Olympic – Paris 2024… Now What..?
So that just happened a few weeks / months ago, the long awaited moment arrived: Individual Kitefoil racing became Olympic! So now what? No team event anymore, two medals: one for the woman and one for the man. Now What?
En route to Paris 2024..!?
Well it went like this:
In December 2020 the IOC (international Olympic committee) confirmed the program of the Olympic games in 2024 in Paris – including mixed kitefoiling. That means a woman and a man from the same nationality had to compete as a team (only one medal available that time), some kind of parkour with a changeover in the middle – which is kind of hard in the middle of the water. Kitefoiling never competed in a team discipline, kitefoil racing is and was an individual sport. Some different opinions where about this “thing, as well as the IOC advised the world sailing to further review the mixed offshore sailing that time. The IOC was dealing with some challenges regarding the offshore sailing. In the areas of field of play security, scope and complexity, the complexity and cost of broadcasting.
While the final IOC assessment of the mixed offshore event continued, the world sailing is already requested to come up with alternative event proposals for the 10th medal at the Paris 2024 Olympic games….. One of these proposals is an extra medal for kitefoiling, so it can be individual – as it should be.
The moment we all have been waiting for:
In may 2021 the delighting news came that The world sailing selects individual men`s and woman`s kitefoiling events as preferred alternative for Paris 2024. One step closer.
Short after, the 10th of june 2021 the IOC confirms two medals in kitefoiling (kiteboarding/formula kite) for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing competition: Individual woman`s and individual men`s.
In the words of David Graham, Chief Executive Officer –
“Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding will bring huge opportunities in terms of universality, developing women’s sailing and the media appeal of these exciting events.”
So now what?
Although the team event gave the kitefoiling some new perspectives and challenges. A different kind of competition, with surprising scores and close short track action. I had a great time at the mixed relay in Austria – it was something different and fun. After all, I am happy with the decision for the individual medals in the Kitefoil racing. This comes closer to the whole picture of Kitefoil racing and supports not only the sport, the opportunity for individual athletes, but also woman’s sailing as it is. Because Kitefoil racing is big fleets, full of action, flying around the course, battling each other and try to be the fastest & most skillful sailor out there. More about what the heck kitefoiling is: link (* still also with the mixed relay).
Although the Olympic part also brought some strange decisions in countries, some inequality in countries, in case of support, training , coaching, help and sponsoring:
Its time for the first generation of kitefoilers worldwide to show what is possible and to go out there and build something for the future. Promote the kite foil racing and have some fun no – matter what! Excited to see the journey ahead! Lets goooooow
” Experience can`t be learned and every experience is worth having!”
Last week, the 15th -20th of September 2020 The Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay Europeans took place. It was the first dedicated event in the 2024 Olympic racing format. One format – 20 team – existing out of one man and one woman – 9 nations all together at one lake: The Traunsee in Austria. Might be even one of the last events for the European winter time. Well, I have to admit I have never been in Austria in summer time. Austria proofed itself to be a nice kitefoiling scene and a perfect summer destination – although it wasn’t that warm on the water all days.
The format is mixed team relay so that means one man and one woman from the same nationality form a team. Together with Sven as team buddy and Casper as the coach we travelled to Austria to discover this new Olympic racing format and squeeze some points in for the Netherlands in this European Championship.
It is our very first team relay (besides a little try-out the day before we left from the 2nd stop of the Kitefoilcupholland). Personally, I have seen different try outs last year on the individual formula kite worlds and the Europeans. Unfortunately I could never participate, by than I was alone and without a team or coach. Super stoked that since last year Kitefoilteamnl started. It’s a trainings group formed by fanatic kitefoilers of the Netherlands with Casper Bouman as our coach. Everything is super new for all of us and the level of the competition was super high. Each event the level is rising and big steps are taken – That I know already! Especially when knowing the sport will be in the Olympics of 2024, all countries are forming teams and finding ways to train and develop themselves to be the best. That’s exactly the reason we give the European team relay a GO. Didn`t expect anything, we had no idea what to expect anyway! We have to start somewhere so this journey will be one big experience for all of us. Bringing home more knowledge that we can use to grow our skills and rise the level within our team so we grow together and pass the knowledge on to next generations. All with the goal to reach the top level and compete international. Besides that, this event we set the focus on our own small goals, be better than the day before. Have fun, make mistakes and learn.
The first days Lake Traunsee delivered some perfect, sunny 18m weather! We had a little tour around the lake, enjoying the nice surrounding and views from the water. In Holland we only see the water, dunes or the beach – no mountains indeed our country is flat as a pancake. Also the past weeks we had strong wind and waves back home. And now? Amazed by how flat the water can be!
The first two days are super difficult for us – but we did learn every race. We will compete in fleets of 6 teams, back to back -3 fleets. The first day the men start the second day the woman starts. Changeover is a swimming relay – from the water. The last finishing team member that is what counts for the score. The day the competition started the weather decided to be a bit difficult. The locals promised us if there are no clouds there will be wind later on – the thermal breeze will kick in – sure thing. But if there are clouds… We played a little waiting game before the AP suddenly went down. We managed to do 2 races before the wind died off again. Some parts of the course had a lot of wind while suddenly in the other end the wind disappeared. Luckily everyone struggled a bit into this conditions – blame the clouds.
Second day, again the wind has been on and off, super light and strange. Some moments nothing at all, while some moments it was perfect. In between the AP sends us back to the beach or again out on the water. A big challenge already started early on the beach not to fly away starting my kite at the little grass launch area (thanks to the English coach holding my feet on the ground)- not to get tangled – end up swimming before even starting the race. The light wind conditions were difficult -but for everyone. As well as the course is super short and with a lot of movements – so no mistakes allowed.
Story of these days: I made a super light wind tack and crashed the easy gybe after… missed out on the finish mark but luckily or not my teambuddy was already swimming in the light wind of the changeover area. That all happens, without mistakes we never learn. This day our focus was related to the starts and change overs. To make them perfectly on time – which is totally not that easy as it looks like. As well as doing these simple things good – no matter the conditions. And that’s where we did a good job in the last 4 races of the day. Showing we grow in the event.
The third & fourth day
Qualification series are done and the fleet will split up into gold, silver and bronze. Ups and downs for everyone the past days. From this day we had to race in the bronze fleet and try to make our way up as far as we can. Focusing on that changeover and the first starts. As well as staying out of trouble. Some fun and close racing we had in this fleet. Happy with the progress we made and making up for the first days. Getting to know the format and getting used to the track with the gybes and laylines. Starting to understand what is important and seeing what we can improve to get the best out of ourselves. Work on our technical skill, time/ distance management . And also starting to get used to the foil and the kites everyday a bit more. We took every race as a new begin and went for it. The only down point might be the waiting time on the water – which is a bit long and the spot not that big.
Called: Super Sunday. It’s the day of the finals. We unfortunately didn’t made it to the top 2 in our fleet to get a change to race the finals. But we did our best and learned a lot! We had one last race today, with the 15ms –finally. This day we finally could decide who started first and who second. We mixed it up a bit to have some fun – Ending up 17th overall.
That’s it for us now it`s time to watch the exciting finals & have some fun ourselves after – this lake is to enjoy after all! J Thanks for racing and showing us ow its done sometimes. Congratz to Connor and Ellie of the British team winning the final and becoming European champions 2020!
A lot learned and a lot to learn
The format is exciting – fast and fun. I like the part of the changeover and that it is a team relay. The short course is fun and technical and makes it exciting especially when its super close racing at the bottom marks. It took me some time to find my way through this format and to focus on the things needed. I had to make some mistakes to learn that. What I enjoyed too is that it`s bringing up another level of game play and strategy. From not knowing what to do and what to expect to developing more knowledge and skills. The last days I started to get it, had more fun racing and now I am even more motivated for what’s coming the next events!
Glad we managed to go to this event at least with one team and bringing home a loooooooot of good experience to share with the rest of kitefoilteamnl.” Experience can`t be learned and every experience is worth having!”. We are not there yet but closer every day! And I believe as a team together we can do this and rise the level of the kitefoiling in The Netherlands. So we can participate and represent the Dutch with more teams next time!
*Note that not long after writing this article: Olympic kitefoil racing became individual. Two medals one for man & one for woman. (see the other blog about the Olympic individual kitefoil racing)
What is kitefoiling?
When mentioning its perfect kitefoil weather.. Or having an awesome foil session in 10 knots. Yet, sometimes I still get dazzled eyes asking what the heck is hydrofoiling / kitefoiling?!
It’s just another new generation of kitesurfers flying over the water like Aladdin on his carpet… their very own magic carpet. These days Kitefoilen /hydrofoiling / kitefoiling has reached the tipping point. With loads of new people entering the world of floating above the water in silent speed and no chop. What once began as a bit of a fad for the people looking for something different, or – no offence – something for the older people – it has now become a mainstream attraction for young and old. All over the world.
Might be because one of the biggest benefits is that you can comfortably ride in light wind conditions – which where before better known as no wind conditions. Kitefoiling or hydrofoiling does not require a lot of wind, which makes it very popular in light wind areas or on light wind days. But in decent wind it can be fun to. Kitefoiling is not only limited to racing, and flying in silence above the water. No, jumping, handle passes, riding waves……. With a hydrofoil..??
So yes, A hydrofoil is a surfboard with a wing attached to a mast underneath the surfboard. When generating enough speed on the water, the wing has the ability to lift you and your board out of the water. Bit like an airplane. This decreases drag by a huge amount as your board is not touching the water anymore, giving you the sensation of flying over the water. Yep like…… Aladin. It is something complete new and different than kiteboarding in general. Furthermore, there is no sound! You’ll ride in absolute blissfulness as you’re not affected by the chop of the water anymore. Sounds nice right? or to good to be true..?
Now with the rise of the hydrofoil, it’s allowed kitefoil racing to become a well-regarded international sailing sport, so much so that it’s been accepted into the Olympics of 2024. And the Worlds in Scheveningen, the Netherlands – 2022. With the hydrofoil, the racing side of the sport has been taken to new heights. For now, being the fastest sailing craft around a course, other than an Americans Cup boats, it makes for some pretty exciting scenes – both for the spectator and participant! Speeds of more than 65 km/hour are reached.
Kitefoil racing implements his racing events like a yacht or sailing race along a course, that involves both speed and tactics. Boards with hydrofoils & foil kites are the equipment to race on. The goal is to outperform other kiters and come first in the race – the fastest and smartest.
Formula kite – Olympic discipline
This is the high performance hydrofoil class, using regulated registered series equipment. The equipment is selected by the world sailing As kiteboarding equipment for the Olympic event in 2024. The format will be mixed team relay. But also the individual Europeans and the worlds are under this discipline.
Kitefoil World Series – Pro Tour
This is a full development class, an open class – with minimum equipment regulations. Here the newest developed hydrofoils & foil kites are allowed to be used and tested among the other equipment.
Kitefoil Mixed team relay – Olympic format
For the Olympic format and all competitions related to formula kite. Kitefoil Racers are allowed to register one hydrofoil and up to four foil kites for use at the games or any other formula kite event – you can register every event again. Both men and women will be able to use kites from 7 to 25 meters and will race in anything from 5 to 40 knots, depending on the water/weather conditions. The equipment that racers can register will be decided upon by World Sailing every three years rather than all competitors being bound to a ‘one design’ system in which they would have to race on identical equipment made by one manufacturer. Instead, providing they stick within the guidelines, so all riders will be able to fine-tune their quiver and to suit their own riding style, bodyweight and personal preferences just as they’re allowed to in other Olympic sports like snowboarding and skiing as well.
The kitefoil mixed team relay will be a short track on a short windward / leeward course. The team should consist out of one man and one woman from the same nationality. The team members will be covering alternating laps with a changeover zone. But there are some more suggested other options of race formats to test. Competition will most likely consist of an opening series of heats. A knockout stage or other form of final in which the winner of that last race wins the event.
Overall it is expected that races will last in the region of 10 minutes for 3-4 laps of the course. This Olympic mixed team relay for the kitefoilers will the first time a relay format of this type has appeared in any Olympic sailing discipline. It would no doubt be an engaging one to watch. With the hope of World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee is that the massive wind range that foil racers are able to compete in will guarantee some spectacular racing for everyone!
Winning at the Olympics will be about being the fastest racer, not the best equipped racer!
The Formula Kite Series Spain, the first two stops took place in Alarcón & Castellón from the 10th of jully until 21st of july
Beaches are opening, cities around the world might slowly be coming back to life (except for some trying to break the world record of lockdown ). But then I realized, there’s no going back to “normal”. The world changed, things changed, families changed and so did we. Everything is different. But the formula kite Spain found a way to host the events anyway. On a safe and responsible manner. It just asks some discipline from the people around.
There is no going back to normal I already did know that – some weeks & months ago. But, luckily for us there is a going back to the water, going back to competing a bit! And for me a going back to the water and foiling after a way too long break with breaking my arm- sliding some rail on skates …. And 4 months without kiting -oops.
Yes, not that much training, but a good way to go and jump back into some competitions again – I thought at least. And convinced by Jis, training buddy and also part of kitefoilteamnl we made ourselves (as far as possible) ready to go!
Sooo yep, the past two weeks have been all about the Formula kite Series in Spain. First in Alarcón & second in Castellón. Representing the Dutch I must say it was a bit weird travelling in this time and wearing the mouth mask. Something I really had to get used to – thought I wouldn`t survive that. Just like thinking what the rules are before entering a shop or an airplane……. Having breakfast with hand gloves, personal sticks and mouth masks.. after showering in disinfection. Its all part of the game now… …
First destination: Alarcón
Alarcón was an interesting spot. It seemed like in the middle of nowhere, following the gravel roads in between the sunflowers ending at a long blue lake! Surrounded by small mountains and lots of green nature. It actually looked perfect. Great scenery for foiling. And it was. On the water it was super nice! With the sun the water was bleu. The wind was a little bit of an adventure in between the mountains and the long lake with the wind blowing crosshore.
For the foiling competition the course had to be in the length of the lake. It appeared just wide enough – at some wind shifts it wasn’t? or it made it just more fun playing with the laylines to get it to the mark rounding. Let`s say it was much more interesting racing like this than just making long lines – good for us because now your own skills and plans are getting more important than always having the best and fastest equipment. Which we don’t have yet, cause it is super expensive….
The kiteschool and organization in Alarcón made us feel welcome and explained everything about the spot and surroundings. So the first day we didn’t had the wind, but in the evening a big storm with a lot of rain and thunder. That day it was nice to meet up with some riders again from spain, France, Poland, Rusia. The day after was a super light wind day – as we all know NOT my specialty. But I did enjoy a ride with my 18m. It was hard sometimes, because the wind was super strange – some wind holes and some good wind and sometimes you had to be patient. But anyway we had our first ride and I made it back to the shore without swimming – fun to try the spot.
The weekend after is the competition. The first day was fun we did 4 races. And we had some “decent “wind. At times it was more than enough and at times I was asking myself if I lost the wind somewhere on the track. It was hard to figure out where the wind was and play with it. Also because sometimes your laylines were just not fitting in the lake. The first race I was a bit confused as usual, just looking what went around. But the second, third and fourth I did know what to do. 4 nice – 15m races J The next day we did 3 races more and there was still some clouds, thunder and rain around which made it difficult to set up the track and have stable winds.
In the end I finished 3rd (which they still don’t know at the podium ceremony. Because on the website I was at that moment 4th….) and 15 overall out of 36 competitors.
Next destination: Castellón
Castellón is a spot on the Spanish coastline. Feels good to see the palm trees and the nice sand again! Here we have been training with some other competitors the days before the next competition over the weekend. The days before the competition we had some challenging wind. And with challenging we mean light wind.. sometimes light wind sometimes nothing. A big challenge for me at least ) and for our older kites to keep them `flying’. The definition of kite washing and titanic are born on this beach. I even had a ride back to the shore behind the other kiter with my kite washed.. thanks – saving me a swim
Surprisingly into the competition we had two days of nice wind. The first day started with light wind so we took the bigger kites but after two races.. it was oke and we could already switch to smaller sizes. The races were on the open sea and more making stripes than playing with laylines and tactics. Here the difference in material became more clear and we missed something in the end – speed / angle upwind. We already did know that, but fighting against it is sometimes difficult. I just started to see it as training – competition – that made it better and I had fun anyway. The second day was a bit sketchy / it seemed not that much but in the first races it was more than enough, the last race became less and .. the 18m decided the last race that it was enough and it dropped out of the sky – going for a swim – just before the starting line. But I liked this day , searching for wind and challenging conditions.
I ended up 3th / 4th (which they didn’t know at the podium ceremony. Because on the website I was still 3th….) and 23 overall out of 37 competitors. Well that made up for the last time
The scores were not always that clear and on the end of the day a bit mixed up. Well I was not there to win anything , just for fun and to get back on the foil and into competing, before starting to train again in the Netherlands! Oke and maybe a bit to see the development in the equipment…..with the Olympics in 2024, the material will be settled for the next upcoming years. But which or what will be the fastest in which conditions…? Or with what rider…? Or… what skills!
We had some awesome weeks, two super good organized events and we met some great people.
You know? before the foiling and this year I have never been to Spain… Thanks for the Fun & racing Spain, we will return for sure! And being our own travel agent worked out quit well! We arranged everything ourselves: Low – budget and with no mistakes we completed the mission And brought home some more knowledge for everyone.
Individual European Championship Formula Kite (kitefoilen) – Puck, Poland, better know as seewead party.
Keep hustling & Smile! .. & The story of the last race..?
Let’s start at the beginning where I have to admit, in the first place I really didn’t want to go at all. I closed the door a bit and had some fun learning how to fly the wing and getting back some freestyle in Germany – while camping with our kites. Far away from all the material and training discussions – conclusions and also on the other hand the positive team vibes. Knowing I missed a lot of training – don’t break your arm while skating guys. But that’s me , that’s how I learn, by doing, messing- up , falling and only than you know how to get back up. Own up what you didn`t do right and if you learn from it, it is an experience – not a mistake. And that’s why I decided to go to the Europeans anyway. In Spain I had fun but I did know I had to train and adjust a bit, equipment wise and training wise. Just one and a half month back out there. Never flown new kites/ bars. But Hey! Being part of this event will be already a learning experience as always. – and you have to stay up to date is it? -See how fast everyone is nowadays! and It has been a while since an official event, that made me curious about the riding level and the new gear for the Olympics. Still not everyone could make it and is allowed to travel. According to the right regulations, the international kiteboarding organization did her best and organized an event for us in Europe, Puck – Poland. Online skippers-meeting and WhatsApp updates are the new common rules.
Day 1: So definitely I wasn`t yet the most motivated person – trying (missed the opening and the practice race already ). And yep if you see the scoring (some of you did)… I did a bit of a collecting DNC`s party. Not intentionally. Because I wasn’t motivated didn’t mean I started to fight and found the motivation to try to make to most out of the event and out of every day – after the first starting signal.
Actually the first seaweed race I did pretty well with a 15th place. There was not a moment without half of a tree behind your mast or wings. Trying to jibe like … crash or just holding on the edge. Burning legs to keep up the foil on the reach – also a strange feeling – the reach never seemed that long and slow.. usually the most fun part of the race became the most sketchy part of the race. The second race I ended up…. Wrapping a wet burrito and swimming. One point for the burrito team. Someone decided to fly up the kite without reason… and bump mine inside out in some way. The races after I did a 17th & 20th place – all day with the 18m. Sounds like a perfect foiling day
Day 2: The next day was kind of the same, starting with the 18m. I had one big struggle to go out, the wind was a bit offshore, the exciting beach to launch, in between the trees with 4 people holding the kite to catch every bit of wind… and you had to be lucky in a gust to sail away. I washed my kite already before the race even started. The wind was super shifty and … I didn’t know what the kite was doing at all. Good thing the race committee had to reset the course. Thanks to the guy in the water helping the soaked kite relaunching. Well better late than never I was just on time for the start of the first race.
The second one I washed my kite once again – it`s pretty clean by now – and my burrito skills are still on point… It was a bit of an unavoidable tangle after a gybe with squeezed in peoples crashes and other gybe`s. But sometimes you meet new friends out of it – maybe we start the conversation on the beach next time.. J It`s not always going as planned, you just have to keep smiling and move on – let it be. I did know the routine now and I found the perfect field to dry the kite already yesterday. Thanks to all the camping people who left the campsite during the day…. The next two races the wind did pick up and 15m was perfect. For once I could really race and I had the feeling , just the feeling there was less weed. I just finished the races – no tangles anymore today. Just some kite bumping … seems normal in our fleet nowadays. And it really was hard to get through and avoid the crashes in between crashes or tangles. Sometimes a bit like dolphin through the seaweeds over the finish line – around the 17th / 20th place. But I definitely had a smile on my face because it was fun – not sure if I was the only person but… It was a nice day with the 15m – couldn’t get any better compared with the conditions we had. We did had some nice fights downwind and into the finish reach.
Day 3: A Windy day! The third day was a bit more windy, 11m day – for me at least. This time my kite stayed actually dry until the second race. Achievement! So…. I could enjoy the break racing for myself J Making the best out of the day. You never know what happens tomorrow. And I made the deal with myself to have fun and enjoy! After the break the wind dropped a bit, I didn’t dare to go back and kept flying with the 11m . While I saw with a question marked face some 25 meters up in the sky…. Let’s say I just finished the races today. 18th /20th places. Because I lost it a bit in the downwind where I usually win ground. Still we had some nice battles and tangle avoid moments.
Day 4: So now the wind comes from the other direction and we have to launch from another – even smaller beach. People at the dock next to it are looking ….what is happening here… ? at the beach no-wind .. out there…? You never know.
A little fight with the 18m to keep it up into the air and the foil to go out. We managed to do one race, a super strange one – with shifting winds, a loooot of wind and no wind.. missing lay lines all together in the shifts and not so much seeweads. None compared with the past days. We did almost fly away on the top mark and lost all the wind downwind … On the way aback to the beach in doubt to change for a smaller kite.. the half of the fleet was already swimming. I waited outside till the gust could give me a ride to the beach. No swimming for the 18m this time. Before we could go out again, the rain started and the water became glassy. The races where postponed. Well we tried our best to avoid it .. but the girls had to try one more time getting out there – yes, because it looks so nice out there – heard this joke before… good thing I waited to the very last moment. To not swim in front of the beach. Good choice because the rest of the day, no wind and just rain made it the end for today.
Final day: The top 14 will fight for the last two spots in the final. The final will be held between the top 4. Whoever wins three takes the title; European Champion (with taken in account the scoring of the days before). This time I could watch, because I didn’t make I through. The rest of the competitors had a last race on the end of the day. To be honest I wasn’t that keen to do the whole dress up party for one race but hey – I felt I had too anyway. So yes, scraping the last bit of motivation together,, coming on the beach and seeing: the struggles to go out, the gusts, some strange ones, kite sizes from 9m to 25m…. Help..? choosing 15m what’s just in between but after feeling that gust – I quickly chickened out and switched to 11… why not another kite on the beach just for one last race .. is what I really thought.
So finally we come to this question:
You know the story of the last race..?? keep hustling & Smile. Or ..?
Yep – I never actually made it to the last race…not further than the start. I kept hustling but:
After some struggles (kite falling out of the sky – shooting back up etc.) I got out easily if you compare it with other days. Dry kite, foil still in my hands, not flown away. But on the beach I noticed something wasn’t straight but everyone said noooooo its oke.. I couldn’t feel it good because of the gusts and the wind – looking at my kite with a face pleaseee stay in the air – pleaaase don’t do anything stupid kite. But soon I noticed… depower shooted through the safety system…or something like that. But now I was outside, one race I can handle that. (I tried to pull it trough but flew away ,… ) and it was actually already start sequence. 10 meters after the start I hit some plastic and crashed that made everything worse –I couldn’t hold on to the kite. the not straight flying kite. I did the promised 360 back to the beach. So the story of the last race..? yes – another collected DNC. At least I tried and now you all know the story
I have never been tangling that much, feeling like an attraction (the one you have to pay 0.50 eurocent for at the local supermarket) bumping every kite – while mowing the lawn. Keep hustling, keep smiling & Keep sailing that’s what we did! In between the seaweeds , the offshore winds and the bumpy rides and wrapped up kite -burritos. I did it for myself, doing what I love the most – no matter the conditions! So yes It actually couldn’t get any better- at the moment . We had a lot of wind and a lot of races. Than you Poland you made us appreciate the good days, and water without anything inside! Nice to meet up again and being able to compete! Now it`s time to train, get faster, organise the right equipment and get ready for more action!! Congrats to all winners!! Till next time………
10 t/m 16 October in Doha – Qatar. An International beach multi-sport event organized by the Association of National Olympic Committees. While some of the sports appear in the Olympic Games, all events on the program are non-Olympic events meaning there is new opportunities to engage for every country. Around 1240 Athletes from 97 countries, competing in 14 different disciplines: on the beach, in the water and action sports. Kitefoil Racing with its 40 competitors is one of those disciplines.
Kitefoil Racing will take place at Katara beach. We will be racing next to the skyscrapers. Two days of qualifications, one day with the semifinals and the finals (medal races). By ending high enough on the world ranking after the Worlds in May 2019 I qualified myself (and so The Netherlands) for this event. Not knowing what it would be, how it worked or if I would be able to go. I went back to freestyle and big air after this event. Because it was just the first competition I did in kitefoiling, a spontaneous one, I never went there with the idea to qualify, just to look around in the racing scene. I already forgot about it. But the Dutch Sports federation (NOC*NSF) didn`t and they asked me if I wanted to go? And there is also place for a coach. Since I always travel alone to competitions and training places for kitesurfing, I had no Idea. Also knowing that the best 20 woman will be there I was a bit in doubt, knowing I still ride the same kites and equipment as before and knowing all of them switched to newer gear. Since it has to be registered. it’s not that easy, not all brands register all kites. That`s formula kite and the newer the better performance.
But it appeared to be a super cool event with multiple sports, becoming Olympic or not Olympic – yet. Kitesurfing will be in 2024. This event promised to be a complete new experience and adventure for both of us – Katja (coach) and me. Also it`s a good learning project for us, on the way to more international competitions and to see where we have to work in in the training weekends. That ended in a yes. With Katja as “coach” , former professional racer and still a super skilled kiter and racer. Well and I have been to many hours at the airport without seeing anything in Qatar.
No excuses anymore: 10 October we stood in full orange uniform at the airport, together with basketball 3×3, wakeboarding, bouldering and kitesurfing (TeamNL) ready for check in to Qatar.
Our Kitefoiling event started with one training day: we didn’t expected any wind. It’s something like 38 degrees outside, the water 30 degrees and the sun is shining whole day. Surprised with a little breeze (also hot) we went out to discover the water of Qatar. Which was actually really nice. Consistent wind and more than enough for a 18m, 20m was too big – for me. This day we had to find out more about the wind, to see which kites I had to register for racing. The next day you have to register, the hydrofoil and 4 kites in different category’s and that are the kites you are allowed to use the whole event. (4 kites allowed 15m > / 11 t/m 15 / 11m < /9M< ). This will be inspected and measured.
The qualification days, we raced with all 20 woman together. The first 14 will be qualified for the semifinals. The first day was a hard day. Not that much wind, a lot of wind holes and even more waiting. End of the day , it seems to pick up a little… an average of 6 knots. We managed to get one race in. A really difficult, light wind race, no room for mistakes. It surprised me that I kept the kite dry (oldest one on the water) and finished on time (6 minutes after the first finisher) in a 10th place. Maybe it was the gybe instead of tack technique .
The next day we had to do as many races as possible ( 6 max.) to finalize the qualifiers. The first two races it was already hard to get out from the beach and to the starting line. This day the wind was also to light for me and my kite…I did finish the races, but too late which results in two did not finish (DNF). After this races we had three more races with light wind but a little better. My goal was to have a good start and to finish in time. That’s what I did and made some scores. Before the last race I went in for my 15m which is smaller but newer and I know I can ride way better with it – since the wind decided to give us a bit more. The start was good and my position at the upwind mark (9) as well. But I just didn’t made it around the mark, I decided to take the risk, because of people coming my way and seeing people not making it. It was just a few millimeters and some distraction of kites super close above me…. I managed to get my foil back , round the mark and finish on time. Not on the pace I wanted …
And that mistake made me missing 3 points to be in the top 14 on my own power. I know I did everything the first races and it would be difficult with this set-up to end up in the top 14. But after this day, 15th didn’t felt like our place. The next morning after protests (not for me) it turned out I am actually 14th and could race the semifinals.
Semifinals are races of two fleets existing out of 6 woman. The top 2 is already straight in the final. The first on of every fleet will also be in the final. The top 4 will race the medal races. This day the wind was also super light (again). Wind holes everywhere and average of 6 knots (again). I can tell you this 18m never stayed in the air during 5-6-7 knots. And in the Netherlands we have a lot of wind – usually, I hardly ever use a 18m (and this one never in 5 knots). But if the race director says we have to go … we go!
The first race I got stuck and the kite in the water – I just couldn`t get it up and ride upwind. It seemed like a big fight but I won. At least I thought but, my safety line was around the chickenloop, I found out when already riding away. At that point riding away I didn`t even think about starting anymore… I needed some place to fix , I was in front of a dock and a boat. In the water I couldn`t manage it because I was floating away and the kite not really staying in the air at its own. Crashing in front of the dock helped me to fix it. So yes, unfortunately I missed the first race, but I was on time for the next race. Which I finished 6th.
All final results together made me stay 14th. After all a good result, taking in mind the equipment used, experience and the hours of training done. I made my first top 10 place ever, raced my first semi-finals with a kite and made it into the top 14 of the world. Which was secretly my goal for this competition (and his year – top 15). Next to the focus on good starts, preparation/plan and more smart riding – instead of just doing something (that`s used to be more my thing, but in racing not always a good thing – I know). With the help of Katja coaching me and sharing her own competition experience and knowledge, I learned more than I would ever think off. I start to see it in the field and act to it. This competition it really felt more like a team result, which I enjoyed. It helped me this competition but for sure even more in the future!
It was a great experience to be part of this event, the Dutch – team, to support the others and to be one of that 20 woman kitefoiling here in Qatar. Racing with skyscrapers on the background, 38 degrees and 30 degrees of the water something you should have done once is it? Definitely worth the yes!
For the first time I travelled with just a foil and foilkites to my first Formula Kite World Championship. Secretly I was not convinced, not yet. Am I good enough? Should I go ? Do I have the right registered gear? I didn’t used them, yet… Is this a good idea? .. The answer to this question, I don’t know, nobody knows. I am the only one who can find that out. And the only way to find that out is to go, isn`t it?
30th of April – Registration Day
So here I am: Lake Garda in Italy. Never thought, there would be any possibility to kite here. Or to be part at something in directions of a world tour and new Olympic discipline…BUT: My name was on the list., all kites are registered, hydrofoil registered, event stickers are done, lycra in my hands, there is no way out anymore: This week I will be representing the Dutch / and myself during the Formula Kite world Championships at Lake Garda. In between 31 woman and 90 man from 29 different nations I will be competing. 4 days are reserved for individual racing and 1 day for the mixed team event (Olympic part) that is going to be tested (means one more training day for me ).
It’s time to switch over from freestyle, snowkiting to Formula Kite Racing. Learning the rules, flags and the track again before the first day of competing will start. I have been reading that notice board over and over with my question marked face … no square box for the tricks, no points for extreme, turns or high – HELP. What am I going to do? But secretly I know thats my strong point, just jump in it and learn. No time for overthinking – like always. And with the trust of my brothers, my mum & dad, nothing can go wrong is it? Just like the old days in skiing, running, swiming, dancing, soccer, kiting freestyle………………
“Sometimes you win sometimes you learn”
Day 1: Well, day one was stated as a light wind day. What that means, no idea? 15m? 18m? Because the beach exists out of rocks, is just big enough for three kites (with super short lines – clearly not mine), the wind is slightly coming from behind the trees, we have to launch with the help of the beach Marshalls and by turn. This doesn’t make it easy (or even possible) to try out a kite, to come back land a kite and switch over to another size. My feeling says it’s not a particular light wind day.. its windy isn’t it? Think I still have to learn something at this point. Where I usually would take the 11m , I saw as smallest kite a 15m flying in the sky. That’s one of the advantage of being last: looking what the others do!
Still so many questions , but eventually I have to do it, on the water and racing! Today there will be individual racing, races divided into 4 fleets. We will go on the water with two fleets and do two races after each other, than the other two fleets will race. For the start you have to look at the flags of the start boat really good – here I surprised myself by being on time for every start. For the woman, we did three races today, which I all rode with the 15m. It was definitely not my best race ever, with a kite I never flew before, a bar /depower I couldn’t reach and a foil I used (don`t laugh) literally for 20 minutes. The first girls were really fast, the rest I could hang on to. I lost it on the details, the longer lines, the quick maneuverers, reading the course……Another learning point of the day.
Day 2: Is all about testing the future Olympic team race format. A team of 1 woman and 1 man from the same country will race together as a team. One track with a change of racer in the middle, along the changing area. Who is joining me next time?
Day 3 : This day the weather is not on our side. Right on the moment the first fleet enters the water, there appears a big rain cloud over the top of the mountain, with some thunder which is making it impossible to race today.
Day 4: Didn`t looked like the perfect day but, surprisingly end of the day there appears a steady light wind out of the right direction. Not much, but enough for racing. Knowing that with my friend the old(est on the course) 18m it always end up in swimming.. (especially in competition lycra) I am not convinced yet. Just hoping it keeps on flying – this time.
On the water its oke , and I have the advantage that I am not crashing any gybe or tack, can make them with some speed. Today for the first time I enjoyed it out there! I manage to win some places and get the feeling I can control myself, the timing of the gybes/tacks, the foil and the foilkites more and more. Just after the finish of the fourth race, the wind decides to. Yes to stop…luckily I am professional in packing up an 18m foil kite on the water
In general – today and the whole event- I have been racing pretty constant, around the 18th – 21st place. Without risk, a clean finish. Taking risk can be done later , I know now how its done – another learning point where is a lot to win left .
Day 5: This day was one off all, all different weather conditions in one, storm, snow in the mountains, rain, sun , waves, 3 degrees and …….. no racing. It wasn’t safe to go on the water neither to launch a foilkite if there was already any beach left. Hoping that the wind would be less during the day, we all know that the change is really small – it didn’t happen and that was the end of The Formula Kite World Championships 2019.
I did enjoy the first time travelling with just a foil and foilkites and my first international Formula Kite Competition. It was definitely another new adventure and great experience, racing in between the fastest girls of the world. Launching of the small (!!) gravel, having all kind of weather conditions, seeing complete teams with support boats on the water and a super nice scenery for racing once out there
Coming here wouldn’t be easy , I know that beforehand, especially not after all the snowkiting and the few days back on the water and the foil. I also know that I still had (and have) to learn and adjust a lot equipment wise as in the competition itself. Not expecting anything, without any goal I stepped in this competition and ended up as 18th overall. Might be not the result I hoped for, but a very fair result compared with training hour, experience and the used equipment. I must say I was a little impressed about the coach boats, support boats, teams around me .Formula Kite is much more than just going upwind and downwind – riding a hydrofoil – a lot of details come with it. Which I still have to find out – sometime and in some way. HELP
That said, I just found my next goal! Looking forward to climb the ranking and some real training! …. Remind me, next time I should bring a team partner too! and maybe, just maybe a seat harnesssss…
THANKS to everyone helping me out – even if it was last – minute! Fixing lines, helmet, boards, borrowing kites, not to forget all the tips and messages Without YOU guys I wouldn’t have been here in the first place!! Next will be some more foiling, but … Maybe a little freestyle in the dessert first 🙂
Just before the season of 2019 in the Netherlands will kick off and all the competitions and nice days on the water are starting again. I have to share a little throwback of my foil cup Holland & Foil struggles of 2018. Things always seems so easy, and you’re not the only one! I had my struggles as well, did a lot of work behind it , maybe even more than you ever know.
“You should participate: they said, it would be fun: they said, aah just one round to try: they said, you can do it.. they said.. it’s not that difficult… …” .. And there I went into the water to the unknown.
YES one way it’s true, it wasn’t that difficult, in theory and if you know how to go upwind and downwind, you can participate, easily! It is fun, really. And definitely not all about losing and winning, also about learning and fun.
YES, I still remember my first races two years ago…… With a huge foil kite (for something like the first time), not knowing what to do exactly (not that the skippers meeting wasn’t clear, I won’t put it that way). But the trust in the kites and in myself, wasn’t there. Scared to crash it in the water, scared to touch someone else, not sure about my foil skills and definitely not wanting to be in the way. Why did I actually participate?... well that’s me some impulsive spontaneous actions. If you ever learned to compete it will never disappear just like the need for progression and a goal, a challenge. And proving people wrong is the best feeling – sometimes.
“I never did it before so I think I can do it”
NO I didn’t regret the flying off the foil, losing the board, not getting downwind, never got any tack or gibe right, getting doubled every race and againnnn struggles the first time.
It just made me REALIZE that there was a lot to learn. But also that hydrofoiling and competing is a good way to develop and work on that skills. I just found a new little world. Since I can’t leave things unexplored without being happy with progression, the rest of the year I made up for it: I started to learn tacks and gybes, a bit more trust in foil kites and in the freeride foil. And actually did better – looking back at it. I still wasn`t quiet used to all the rounds and the whole day of heats. But I made it and had fun. That was not the end, although I was close to leaving it – sometimes. I learned to set my own goals despite of others. It is not all about losing or winning, it`s also about FUN, I learned.
and yes sometimes you…… have to walk 😉
Used to competitions and living in a competitive environment, always looking for PROGRESSION.2018 became a year of above the water tacks, Gibes and using 20m lines and with foil kites. It all against my rules but less and less tube kites. I changed from freeride foil to more race foil . To a first place in the freeride class and in the woman’s division of the Foil Cup Holland (only two girls….., so where are you?). To the next adventure, struggling with 15m lines, race-bars, race-depower and big foil kites (in no wind) making it into a fourth place on the third stop of the Goldcup (world tour Hydrofoiling ) in Italy. Just a try-out, and definitly not the end.
“ The difficult is what takes a little time, the impossible is what takes a little longer”
I still didn’t trust the short lines, the big kites, myself when making tacks & gybes on full speed and I still scare myself on the foil – sometimes. Or by launching a 7m foil kite in a loooot of wind…
… But that’s because your testing the limit and the limits are more difficult and challenging every time. I still hate it when I just can’t ride all the heats, I still find it difficult to concentrate for all the heats and to start with all the other kites. To not do any tricks but rounds the whole day. I am still not that happy to go out with no wind….Well and someone told me hydrofoiling goes together with swimming – sometimes, I am not the only one after all J But getting faster and faster – speeding through the field and getting everything right (finally!!), seeing the results, of the never ending challenge – definitely makes it all worth it!
See you season of 2019!
” Dont give up just because something is hard, pushing through challenges is what makes you grow! “
My face when someone turns in front of me from out of NO-where…without looking or any sign. Or is passing the marks from the wrong side….And I suddenly need to react.. Just WHY?
2. Always and I mean ALWAYS making the wrong choices (actually being surprised if I make it exactly). Too far away or waaaaayyy to close. But always making the best out of it and measuring my way closely and making it fit perfectly… well perfectly………..
3. The face off, I hate that a BIG bar (which I promised myself not to use anymore.. and here we are… together on the water in a competition). And then the surprise look if it is flying the way I wanted it to and I actually did made that turn. Well miracles…
4. Always making sure you don’t MISS ANY MARKS #neveragain. Check them out closely, because … you never see them on distance. Or the waves are in front or… too far away. It’s always a big guess, so better check them close. Just check if they are connected well and not secretly moving during the heats
5. Make sure to NOT get tangled by the starting line, it’s a shame, the road is lon so fight it out on the track. I made sure I just start as last one ..alone and watch every one else fail. #neveronpurpose.
6. Well, that’s the thing, I will never go fast enough, never go downwind enough, some are always going faster, how….. and the fastest once are always having the good wind.
7. Never the right kite, feeling you’re the only one who always makes the wrong choice, going alone upwind thinking you’re the last one approaching the finish line…but don’t forget to look back., at least once.
8. My face when I don’t trust that kite and because of that I missed my tack again! No its not my skills, it’s that foil kite. #tubekiterules #isitstillintheair?.
9. Shitty tacks and gibes …………..sometimes it’s just NOT working –out. And your still on the wrong side of the mark …. #anothertackneeded
10. Its always to blame the foil! I am sure…….. he always kicks me off. Maybe I should talk to him. NEVERRR going as I want it to, but still smiling… maybe it’s the angle of standing….. #sitbackandenjoytheride #dontforgettosmile
This last picture is more true , where its all about, fun and a possibility to train with friends! ….After all it’s always fun and nice racing together! And.. these struggles are a foundation for the successes coming, effort gets rewarded, always, one way or the other! I invite you to join me……
Happy racing in 2019!
*more info about the Foil Cup Holland > HEREhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/8xKLvGZ0mTE?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
That moment you wish you could foil and you can! That’s perfect, making the most of all kiting days and circumstances. And leave everybody behind on the beach, just enjoy your session, alone, flying over the water. Seeing people struggle to keep high, seeing kites falling down from the sky and just.. thinking how awesome it is that you are foiling now – who would have said that a year ago….
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
BUT the reality is always different… you’re the one still standing on shore, struggling with your kite…wishing you could foil? Well, maybe it’s time to start. It’s not that difficult and not dangerous, you’re never too old and above all if there is a will, there is a way – if not, create one!! We all went through some crashes, but who didn`t when learning how to kite on a twintip or learning that one new trick. You already have the kite control, you “only” have to start over again with the board.
Here 10 tips to help you get started
1. To start straight with the first one, be prepared to crash (a lot – than it only gets better): Yes, riding your twintip or being really good in big air or freestyle, that definitely won’t help you here (maybe a little for some talented people). Forget everything you learned about a twintip and go for it, with an open mind. The body position is completely different on a hydrofoil. And playing with bodyweight is the key. It will cause some unexpected wipe outs and you will realize how many details you need to have for a smooth ride. But hey …beginnings are always hard – don’t give it up!
2. Right gear:
Board: The bigger the board, the more it floats, the easier you can start riding and foiling. You need less speed to ride away (also on the water instead of the real foiling straight away) and you will have more time to find out which balance works where, which pressure on which leg – the right place on the board, all to find the right timing and start foiling for real. Bigger means more control and easier to ride strapless on the water. Smaller means less stable, not so floaty and certainly not easier to start.
Mast: The shorter the sooner you will have a first “hydrofoiling experience”. But the first experience is not the real experience, it`s just a start (around 65cm masts it starts to be real foiling) – sorry. Don’t start straight with a 110 race mast though. It will be more hard to learn (less stable) and the crashes will be more intense (from higher above the water). Build it up if you have the chance. Lucky you, starting in this time (2019) is a lot easier now: baby masts do exist. And a lot of schools do give clinics these days. Aswell as dealers: F-One benelux As a bonus you will find a lot of hydrofoils out there with free- tips.
Wing: Shorter mast and bigger wing in the learning stage. It will make you come up slower from the water and you’re not sky high flying as superman out of the water the first times. It means less dolphins and much softer crashes. When you start rising above the water with the foil you will be surprised the first time, believe me it’s a bit of an unexpected (and quiet) feeling. Although it might be for one second the first time, it’s a surprising experience. However after learning you will need a smaller wing and longer mast to keep this exiting feeling. Bigger wings are more stable, less fast, will need less speed to foil and the movements are slower. Smaller wings are more aggressive, faster and in combination with a longer mast you will go more upwind, faster, more downwind etc. – off course also in combination with different kites.
That’s where you will start learning (and feeling!) all the differences in foils, brands, materials, weights and sizes . Different frontwings, backwings, stabilizers, combinations etc. etc. Depending on your ambitions : race, freeride, freestyle, big – air, waves, sup…………………..and way more. Bigger wings are better in the waves and a bit shorter mast , the smaller wings and the longer mast (for more upwind) are more for race – it’s all up to you!
Kite: it’s easy! Use the kite you know. A bigger slower kite in light wind. But to start and to learn, a bit more wind (smaller and faster kite) is definitely easier. You don’t want to struggle with your kite falling down from the sky every time you look at your board. Or struggle with a big kite to get move it through the sky while balancing on a foil for the first time. That and the board with that big mast which you are not used to yet – all on the same time can be difficult. Once you learned you can ride smaller kites in lighter wind. Or change to a foil kite and ride bigger kites + shorter lines to optimize the race performances.
Strapless/straps: Foot straps make it easier to find a location on the board for your feeds and to start out of the water (keep the board on its side while starting). I didn’t used them, not of all the twisted ankles etc. (I didn`t know about that, that time). I just wanted to get rid of that board when I needed. Just fly off and kick it away, if I was going to fast or it didn`t worked out the way I wanted it to. Or the board got stuck in seaweed or something and decided suddenly to stop. The only difference is that you have to keep the board on the side with your arm or start straight on top of it. Strapless, helped me a lot in the speed of learning (in speed, toeside and turns etc. ) I see now, you’re not scared for your ankle and feeds. It can be the case the board is going one way, you are going the other and your ankles will be in between that… If you use the foot straps don’t really use them by hanging in them (like in a twintip), only use them as location placer and make sure they are big enough when crashing. It will definitely help you keep the board on its side while starting but be more difficult when crashing. Although if you decide to use straps choose for the front straps and later the back straps. And if you’re ready for some jumps, that will be easier with all three straps. Also in racing the tack, will be easier with the foot straps, you have the change of running over the board with a lot of speed or too much power in the kite.
3. Rightspot: For the first time – just remember your first time riding a twintip.. impossible to ride upwind, the same will probably happen with the foilboard. And another point you need deep water, deep water and walking together with the foil upwind are not working (especially not when you are small – its onshore and there are waves – out of my own experience). So either learn first to bodydrag upwind (it`s really easy and a nice feeling once you figured it out) or choose a spot with offshore (not in Holland guys ) or side shore wind. Walk as far as possible and bodydrag a bit more, so it will avoid you from hitting the bottom by the first start. Remember: The board will always go a bit under the water. A flat water spot is easier, in the waves you might end up shouting at the waves crashing into you and washing you too the shore again and again … The first times it might be hard to come away from the shore while bodydragging with this “thing” . But once you’re riding it will be hard to go downwind… Walk of shame … YES: there we go again.
4. Wave: Experience in wave surfing would help a little. In wave riding you ride with more pressure on the front foot, same in foiling. It will also help you in the turns and moving around on the board. It might help spending some time on a waveboard before foiling. (or use the adjustable foils wave & foil in one). But NO you really don’t have to learn wave riding first before you start with a hydrofoil. The other way around is also possible, I promise ad I showed you.
5. Start: Easier is to start with the board sideways in the water and your front foot in the strap. Or strapless because it’s safer for your ankles. Than you have to hold the board sideways and your kite just over t to keep pressure on the board for starting. And when starting you have to come on the board and not edge it like a twintip. Place your feet more above or even in front of the mast (both), that makes sure you can ride to board without flying out of the water straight the first time – will save you from some huge superman crashes. From this position you can safely start discovering the balance of the board. By moving your back foot backwards and your weight more from front foot to back foot. Concentrate yourself first on riding the board on top of the water instead of foiling it straight away – while you have never done that. The kite should be on one position after the start, still pulling you forward. In this way you can concentrate on the board.
6. Body position: It’s easy to start with the foil on his side, you have to come on top of the board, like the first times you did with the twintip. Start with the board pointing downwind, you will go upwind fast enough. Don`t start edging straight away.. it will give some funny crashes though. (point 5 said the same, but its important remember this in the water. Especially if the start won`t work ) . It’s a magic carpet and body position is the key (like the balance boards). Your body should be above the board and your weight changing from back to front foot. Front foot to keep the wing under water and your back foot to keep the board out of the water. Don’t send your kite like crazy, better a few times to less than some hard crashes and still no starts later. Once starting to foil you will notice that your body can be more next to the board, but for turns or downwind it’s the easiest body above the board. Everything happens in the weightless moments (pull on your kite if it`s on 12) & before the mast. Like switching feet etc… food for thought , that will come soon enough, I promise! J
7. Riding : The safest way to start is ride the first tries with the board on top of the water. Body position and food positioning is important . Two feet before the mast and move them along if you’re confident enough – or getting bored. The end goal is one foot before and one foot behind the mast. Body weight position should be always n line with the mast. Once you start flying a new world opens! You will realize it’s the board that’s making the speed and not the kite. Combine this two and you will have endless fun and speed. The wing will always push you up, out of the water, always! So if you want to stop and think to edge quickly upwind, you will shoot out of the water. Better send your kite slowly up and ride the board upwind or slow down by more pressure on your front leg (difficult the first times) and let the board touch the water. Once you figured out the basics you will be riding lines in the water you never did before! Don’t forget that not everybody is hydrofoiling… there might be some twintippers riding different lines.
8. Mind: Is a really important thing, keep it under control. Forget everything you learned about riding a twintip, off course not forget your kite flying skills, you might need them
Pressure on the front leg is the most important and not to edge like a twintip. Think about a balance board. Or even better just do it, don’t think too much, go with the flow. Its hard but there is so much to remember and to know, many people telling things BUT, sometimes you just have to do it. Experience it for yourself!!
9. Safety: Shoes, Helmet, wetsuit, floating vest : A floating vest or impact vest is easy the first times (or if your already starting to gain a lot of speed). Will be easy to float a bit while you are fighting with the foil. Also easy to have a helmet, it will safe you’re head when hitting the foil, sometimes it just rides his own way, but even better no water in your ears while crashing. Shoes will safe your feet the first time you’re hitting the foil, because you’re not used to something underneath the board hidden in the water. Or for the stones if you end up once again on the wrong place and need to walk back (up or downwind). With body dragging or starting watch out not to swim against the mast… you won’t be the first! Wearing a wetsuit saves you also from scratches and bruises. Although it`s part of the game, is it?!
10. Fun & never give up! You will get there. If everything comes easy it`s not worth it fighting anymore. And enjoy the ride: It`s such a great feeling above the water, you’re own flying carpet like Aladdin… (which you wished as a kid or not?). Staying above the water the whole session is even better! It opens a looooooot more kiting days. Just not enough days will be fun, choppy waters will be flat again, strong wind is not just for twintips anymore, waves will be another challenge and that island on the other side isn’t that far away anymore. Getting surprised (yourself and others), kiting in 7 knots and landing one- footers, handle passes or freeriding it`s all part of hydrofoiling – you will be testing new limits .. and also: swimming, is part of the game, accept it!
If interested about my relationship with a hydrofoil… read it here and here more: to see never ending possibilities read this article about my first world cup on a hydrofoil…. Sometimes you need to discover the road less chosen and experience it for yourself.
Survived this 10 points but not convinced yet? Click here or find out my struggles….. here.
* Off course there are way more tips, these are just a selection out of my personal experience. This might not involve the key for you
* Clinics can be arranged and also clinics for more professionals or race experience … contact me! or beginners can sign up here