Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

The dream of every polar bear!

Is it necessary? Do they have to? You make them do this?  No, no & no. Cold? Yes of course.  Is it fun YES, will I do it again YES, regrets? Not at all.

Off course there have been moments I had to defrost my lines inside the mc Donald’s or another restaurant close by to roll them…days I had  to hair dry my safety before I could unhook my kite and go home – that battery pack and solar panel on the van are great use in winter time too. And I regret the day I forgot  bringing hot water to open my wetsuit…  And yes there have been and still are moments my hands hurt so much I can’t talk anymore and the tears are coming out of my eyes.

But it`s better than nothing a whole winter long is it!? Why …?? I give you 10 reasons for winter fun. Embrace them –  after all its: The dream of every polar bear!

  1. Space 

Ride the locations you normally avoid. Sounds awesome right…. That butterflat spot just there in the corner, always crowded with students and teachers, angry, yelling – always in your way and crashing kites suddenly and everywhere. Guess what? Its empty now!   Or that spot close to shore everyone always complains about… well go for it, now – everyone is not here today. .. I really love the space on the water, for me it is 100% worth the cold (- thanks to the nice weather – kiters).  I actually learned my first unhooked tricks and kiting in wintertime  .

Thanks to dad driving me and pulling of my shoes on the end of the session if I couldn`t feel a thing anymore.  And mum for always leaving space drying my wetsuit around the heaters or on the floor during the night – which is also warm.

2. Friends

You got to meet the true diehards and locals at your spot. And I am always surprised that those people are the windsurfers, and mostly   (no offence- only respect!! ) the older people I find out there at the spot.  I like it when they tell me about the real winters some years ago ( and gave me some useful tips to survive the “cold”). Yes we … the younger ones are spoiled – easy get a ways to nice places, thick wetsuites without holes etc. We have to admit we ain`t that tuff yet! But these people are great to meet. And because only the real ones are out there, you make friends faster, sometimes friends for live.  And yo might even find your new boy/girlfriend out there! 

3. Parking

Yeaah usually that kiteschool is grounded right before the entrance of the spot,  your friends are always earlier and have taken the last best spots – for you a walk left over and parking on a sketchy road next to the dirty ditch.  In winter time… you can park basically wherever you want! Alwayssss.. on top of the spot. More motivation needed?

4. Useful sessions

It`s cold, its painful at times (depending how much polar bear you are..?) , so the sessions will be shorter. The only way to have as much fun for me was to make them more productive. Already guessing you will be changed quicker, talk less. Set your goals and go for it focus on the tricks and progression.  Its more quiet on the water so more trick attempts in a row… no excuses anymore!  I did forgot about the cold when focusing on that trick.  Bonus you will be on time home for dinner, because its dark soon anyway! 

5. Pushing the Limits

Get used to it. Push the limits. Some (I don’t mention names.. also the older or in other words the more experienced ones)  told me cold is an emotion you can switch it off… But it must be me- I have never found that switch…. It is cold, it hurts and my hands are falling off – no matter what. So my advice:  just deal with it. I always keep in mind – it can only go up from now. Autumn is easy now – trust me!

Just like the first:  BRAIN FREEZE…… the first crash is always the worst, after this you can run the world. And when your hands hurt and warm up again.. it hurts, but you know its gonna hurt – better be prepared.

6. Your time to shine

This is your moment of fame. Not too many people on the water, so it`s your time to kite in front of that camera, your time to shine –  getting the shots. Sharing Stoke with people on the shore, taking pictures spontaneously – usually the non-kiting (still loving winter) ones. Because finding a volunteer for holding a camera and getting cold fingers… could be a problem.  

7. Take the chance

Well maybe I shouldn`t include this one.. but sometimes  you are allowed to bend the rules a little is it?  As long as you don`t ask permission, no-one can say no is it?  Now it’s the time to…. Cross…., try that…… kite on wing places or wing on windsurf places.. launch your kite in the next ditch or……For the foilers the seagrass is gone in winter time.. GO for it!!

*disclaimer: all these tips are on your own risk…

8. Appreciation & courage

Because the hot shower is worth so much more after a freezing cold session. And the session is worth even more, be proud on yourself you went out there even though it probably only lasted for one hour. To appreciate this you have to stand out in the cold. That takes courage.  Don’t worry, many others never tried. You are a hero now!  

9. Memories forever – leaving wet & sandy footprints – all over…

Frosty landscapes, snow, Ice cracks. Frozen hair, frozen lines, no safety, too cold hands, tears of pain.  And how you fixed it to bring it home… how many times I had to walk into the shops or sit in the car , cry before I could rol my lines.. These moments , these  memories last forever and are worth a lot

  • .Like the times I put on my wetsuit in a warm banking office – the once that are always open… or in the train… sorry for the salt, sand and water.
  • Or need to go shoping or getting petrol in full suit, because I didn’t really think it though.. going to the spot in wetsuit and back home to the warm shower in wetsuit….
  • All the hotels I used to change on a warm place…………
  • Chased by the owner of  the gym…

10. The dream of every polar bear!

Why not..?? These sessions, although cold, make me enjoy thel ittle moments again. They make me appreciate HOME.  The nice surroundings that are usually taken by kites… or just the people walking that bring the smile after seeing you kiting the ice. It’s fun and I will never miss out on it!  Ice and cold: The dream of every polar bear!  Be brave, take it as it is and absorb it:

 You want notice when its summer or winter when you are happy and having fun! 

Don`t forget the ice – scraper and the dog for the mental support!
Olympic Ride, Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

The 2020 Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay Europeans

” 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 competition:

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.

Final day

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! 

Get to know more about kitefoiling and kitefoilteamNLWhat is kitefoiling? My kitefoiling adventure

Olympic Ride, Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

What is kitefoiling

*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..?

Kitefoil racing

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!

Olympic Ride, Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

Formula Kite Series Spain 2020 Alarcón & Castellón

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.

Olympic Ride, Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

Individual European Championship Formula Kite – Puck, Poland.

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………

Olympic Ride, Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

ANOC World Beach Games 2019 – Doha/Qatar

ANOC World Beach Games 2019

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!

Olympic Ride, Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

Formula Kite World Championships – Italy 2019

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 🙂

Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized, What`s Next

Snowkiting in Norway: SPOTS & WIND & TIPS!

Snowkiting in Norway > The Hardangervidda: SPOTS & WIND & TIPS 

Were back, back in Norway for some snowkiting action. And I can tell you :  After 4 times the Hardangervidda is still as awesome and nice as usual, always full  of snow and plenty of  wind (for sure this time). It really never gets boring here!! I will explain some of the snowkiting spots along the Hardangervidda in Norway to help you to never miss out on an awesome snowkite session! Or be catch on the other side of the road 


Season

In Haugastøl usually, the Snowkite season starts around mid-October and ends somewhere in May. In general October to January is regarded as the low season with less snow and generally more stormy weather than later in the season. We have been here only in March & April.  In Norway and in general, in December the days are shorter, so less time to enjoy the snow.  February to May is the so said high season. More lighter wind days, but don’t worry – still enough for your tube kite to fly easily  And there will be still some storms passing through. Especially this year, more than 50 knots two days a week.. It used to be more sunny in this period on The Hardangervidda and it tends to be more busy with snowkiters coming to explore the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe. But that isn’t a problem, it NEVER gets crowded! The Hardangervidda is endless, endless mountains and endless Snowkite possibilities, with around 3422km2 ridable terrain!

Wind

Finding wind is not about skills, it’s about the right timing and reading the wind and weather forecasts (oke and sometimes it’s all about luck) :

  • The most important one is that when the wind is coming from the east there will almost always be more wind the further west that you go. It is not uncommon that there is no wind at Ørteren, Halne and Skulevika. But when you get to Skiftesjøen the wind starts picking up. If there is 5 m/s (18km/h) at Skiftesjøen you will often experience 7-10 m/s (25-35km/h) at Dyranut which is only 2 km away.
  • When the wind is coming from the west you have a similar effect. (more wind on the east side of the Hardangervidda plateau).
  • Winds from the north tend to be colder and stronger in the morning. So don’t sleep in when the forecast is northerly.
  • Winds from the south tend to give snowy weather, so bring good goggles to make the most out of low light conditions. And out of experience I can tell you, you can find sun somewhere, I am sure 

Useful links and tips

to be the perfect weather expert of The Hardangervidda:

  • First of all, download the app. It makes your live way easier around the Hardangervidda. It will send you push messages when the road is closed, when its driving in convoy, also when the road is open in the morning and closed during the day.
  • It will also show the weather measurements, to choose the right spot.
  • That’s not all, it also gives you links to the webcams, to see if someone already launches his kite or.. how the view is up there. 
  • Windguru can give you a kind of good direction in what to expect, wind, snow and temperature.
  • Always ask the locals having any doubt.
  • Thank the Right diesel, as you might know it can be ery cold (-35 degrees) on the plateau. Make sure you thank the right Petrol (Diesel). The German Petrol is not resistance enough for the cold, in Norway the add some extra to make sure its not freezing. – Just to let you know 
  • You can go snowkiting before the R7 , not in the mountains. A little tip when it I s too windy, snowy and the road is closed. On stormy days the road over the mountain can close due to to much snow and poor visibility.
  • Being flexible to move around the the best spot of the day will greatly improve your chances of epic snowkite days during your holiday. So come with a car or rent one. Make sure to take a shovel and snowchains, you might need them.

Spots: The Highway 7

So now the important part: the Snowkite spots! There is just one important road you need to know: The Highway 7. That is the only (accessible) road that stretches from Haugastøl over the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe, the Hardangervidda in Norway. The drive from Haugastøl, starting on the east side of the plateau to Maurseth on the west side is around 42 km long.  35 km of the 42km  offer world class snowkiting spots. It’s hard to miss any.

From haugastol to the end of the hardanggervidda starting with the spots just before the R7 goes into the mountains:

*Slødtfjorden

It is the lake 25 kms away from the hotel: Slødtfjorden. (the lake levels are controlled by the hydro company). The ice will be good from December – April. You can go here with South, South East, East and North East. But it will be gusty because of the mountains surrounding the spot. 

*Lillevann

1km north of Haugastøl towards the Hallingskarvet national park you will find Lillevann. The lake is about 2 square kilometres, so there is plenty of space for many kiters.

The flat lake is perfect for beginners,  more experienced riders can explore the terrain towards the Hallingskarvet.. TIP: The walk to Lillevan is about 15 min, but if you are a guest at Haugastøl and the road is closed you can get a free shuttle by snowmobile.

Some private cabins are around the lake, which are not intended to be used as kickers/rails. All wind directions work here except South.

*Nygårdsvann

A big lake which is really nice with Westerly and Easterly winds. Nygårdsvannet is located 1 km west of Haugastøl along the Rallarvegen. The only point is that this spot is NOT accessible by car. You can get there by skiing/walking (about 20 mins) or by snowmobile. This spot is often used as a side way when Highway 7 is closed.

*These three spots are a good option if the R7 is closed.

The following spots are just after the R7 goes into the mountains, from Haugastol:

Ørterdalen

Told to be a secret spot, but almost on the road….. Hard to keep it a secret, I think. Named Ørterdalen, the spot that “always” has wind, even though there is nothing anywhere else in southern Norway, here you will have wind. But, it’s a small spot on a hill/valley and some electricity cables on the bottom. The spot is pretty small (I was actually surprised they called it a “spot”) coming down from Ørteren and down to Slødtfjorden at Haugastøl. You can kite here with East and west winds, the falling winds from the valley. Parking is on the other side of the road. If I had to kite here.. I rather skip and do something else J

Ørteren

Probably the most used and best spot (not in my opinion though), might be because it’s on the beginning of the R7 so easy to get to. (Also the only option to stop if you have to drive in convoy with the snowplow – and the hotels offcourse).  It has a flat lake and a hill, you can go far away into the mountains or stay close.  Ørteren is labeled as the best snowkite spot in Norway. Might be because the Norwegian championships, World Championships and the Redbull Ragnarok have all been held here. At this Kitespot all the wind directions work, generally there is a lot of snow here and the biggest parking spot. You can kite here with all wind directions. And its suitable for beginners and more advanced. Easy to access the terrain behind.

You can expect some water around the edges of the lake or cracks with ice rocks because, the level of the lake is controlled. It is lowered after the lake has frozen.  The part that is unsafe is marked with a fence around so, it’s not a problem to see it (although it’s always really small). It might be a good idea to stay away from this…

Lægreid

Lægreid and Ørteren are are split by the road on the end of the spot. The water level of  Lægreid’s is not controlled and a a lot shallower than Ørteren (so it will be one of the first to freeze in the autumn). It’s a bit smaller than Ørteren, but has room enough.

The other side of the road:  Lægreid is a great place to start if you want to do longer trips to Tuva, Ustaoset or Geilo. Here the Redbull Ragnarok is held three times behind each other. You can kite here with all wind directions. Parking on the other side of the road.

Fagerheim / Lappestein

Next stop is a great freestyle place between Lappestein and Fagerheim.  The best kite spots are found on the lakes ‘Little’ and ‘Store’ Krækkjavann or around the weather station at Lappestein.  All directions work, but North west and south west are the best, since the wind will come through the valley. Usually there are three parking areas along the road. A lot of people start here  cross-country skiing to their cabins or for  a trip with the dogsleds.

Båtstjørn

Båtstjørn is a lake 1 km west of Fagerheim . You can kite here with any wind direction and with all skill levels,. From beginners on the lake and more experienced on the surrounding terrain.

Halne

Halne can be a great spot when the wind is right. That means North West, West , South West, Soputh , South East, East. On the south side of the road the spot consists of the lake (Halnefjorden) and on the other side of the road, the north side some  great terrain riding. You can park along the road and at Halne Fjellstue (the lodge), but make sure to ask for permission first. Big mountains on the north side, which tend to make many of the wind directions gusty. Not an easy spot.

Skulevika

A great spot for all kiters, Skulevika is located in a small valley, going east from Skiftesjøen towards Haugastøl. Skulevika is also a great place to start if you want to do trips going south on the plateau. All wind directions are fine. Although the valley is South West – North East so that are the most used  wind directions here. Parking directly on the spot. You can also set up on the other side of the road, where some great mountains await you.

Skiftesjøen

In my opinion one of the best! And perfect for beginners on the lake and for the more experienced riders there is a mountain and some terrain around. At Skiftesjøen the lake is shallow, so the ice freezes early, and the rolling hills surrounding the lake are perfect for snowkiting. When the winds are from the east, the wind speed tends to be stronger here and in Dyranut compared to Ørteren and the other spots on the east side of the plateau. You can kite here with all of the wind directions J  And the mountain is nice to fly off! J Parking is directly on the spot.

Dyranut

Although you can go with all wind directions to Dyranut, wind coming from the east is really good! This spot looks like Skiftesjøen, also with few rocks around. On the south side of the road there is a small lake perfect for beginners. The north side of the trerrain is more for the experienced riders. There tends to be wind on the ridges in the north than on the lake to the south. If the tourist cabin is open you have to ask for permission to park on the parking spot there. Otherwise park, but completely off the road… the snow trucks are big…  Or the village, not in winter time before is a small parking which is more flat and easy to start. You can kite straight down in the valley. (make sure you have enough wind to come back again  )

After Dyranut

After Dyranut the terrain starts falling towards Eidfjord and the Hardangerfjord.  Makes it perfect for some falling wind coming from the east. Along this spots/ places are not to many (or somedays none) parking spaces. There also tends to be less snow than higher up in the mountains/plateau, and a few more rocks sticking out. On a light wind or now wind day it’s definitely  worth a drive to look for wind or just to enjoy the scenery!

Have fun and enjoy your snowkiting on the Hardangervidda in Norway!! Hope you guys will have some great days overthere. 

Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

They said sky is the limit… so I went to check it out ⬆️👩‍✈️

……And you know what.. Sky isn’t the limit, you’re mind is!  #theskyhasnolimit

Snowkiting for me (snow and skiing in general)  is about reaching limits and challenge my limits nowadays. 

About: ” Knowing my limits but never accept them.

Its very common for people to limit their plans and dreams, thinking that they are not able to accomplish so much. Others say sky is the limit to encourage us to dream big . I know what they mean and the all mean well .. but I would say , the sky has no limit, your mind is!  The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go behind them into the impossible. Go for it and check it out yourself. Your life will be more rewarding in many ways.

Everyone can find ways to improve themselves, and these are improvements that are especially valuable to yourself. Improve yourself or find a way to make it possible.   So begin with the end in mind and Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be 

8 things I found out, that might help you survive mind- games in snowkiting!

Mindset

  For the 4th time I am back on the snow, in the mountains with skies – and a kite! The first years I hated to launch a foil kite with skies and in the mountains, I was to scared to go fast, to go uphill and more scared to go downhill. After all there was always too much wind and I didn’t had any control.. in my mind. With a snowboard and a tube kite I felt more safe – might be because its more similar to kitesurfing. And my last experience on skies……  No- way I was going into the hills.. until forced by the Redbull Ragnarok…That changed everything. In competitions I don’t think about limits, I just go. It was the step I needed to gain confidence in the snow again. The three years after where a lot more fun, every year a bit more.

The very best days of my life have been on snow and skies, snowkiting (flying off the hills , gaining some speed on skies again, winning the European championships, getting a 6th place in the Redbull Ragnarok), and the very worst days of my life have been on the snow, skies and snow kiting (the changing weather, conditions on the slopes and flying off a hill backwards,  with a 5(!)M kit not knowing where you’re going blizzard through the snow).  We all know this stories and we all have survived some, I guess.  Don’t keep this things holding you back from some Snowkite adventures, like it did with me in the beginning…. ….

Snow is just frozen water

You can`t drown in the snow.  You can, however, break bones. Or snap them. Or shatter them. You can also bury yourself in avalanches, if you get onto the wrong slope. Which isn’t really a lot better than drowning, apparently.

But if you are aware off the dangers in snowkiting you will never experience something like this. Don’t be scared: Choose the right conditions, some light wind and powder to practice tricks and more ice conditions to race. Wearing a helmet, knee pads and back protector can be helpful when not knowing your limits 

Mountains & kite-travelling

  You have a whole other third dimension of travelling with your kite.  Kitesurfing generally means going left and right staying on the same line. All influenced by the wind direction. In the mountains this is a bit different, you have the uphill, downhill effects. And the on top of the mountain and down in the valley elements. Going up wind and uphill might be a losing fight, but the other way around downwind and uphill would work perfect! Don’t expect to go straight on top of the mountain, sometimes you have to make your way around it to get there – depending on the wind and steepness of the hill.  Sometimes the steepness of the hill can scare you, just go around and find the more flat spot of the mountain.

Going down is another story, and might be a bit scary. How faster you go how more wind, how more the kite will pull you (up). And how steeper the hill… how more this effect will affect you. Good skiing skills will help you here. And remind there are different ways to go (to kite) off a hill, straight downwind as fastest way. But also more upwind to go slower, yes you won’t go straight down but you will get there with a controllable speed.  Once your experienced you can definitely fly! It’s such and amazing feeling, weightless flying off the hill!

Mountains & Wind (direction)

Be also prepared the wind is more (too much) on top off the hill and might be less (or nothing) down in the valley. It can be scary but also frustrating.  The wind might be unpredictable on some days – depending on the location. It can cannel through the mountains and get more will some meters to the left or right its less wind or not even enough to go. Also the direction can vary in the mountains some days. This is what I found the most scary on dark cloudy and snowy days. Launching a big foil kite on one spot while some moments later you will be flying away that kite and see people setting up 6m kites.

Just make sure you get to know the local weather, weather forecasts and maybe some local information on days like this.  You might be sailing quite happily along a ridgeline, but if you drop into a little valley the wind can evaporate and you’re left with a long steep climb in deep snow dragging your kite and skis back onto the hilltop to relaunch.

It’s really fun. I did it a lot. And It’s actually the story of the Redbull Ragnarok. story here

Terrain hazards

In addition on the mountains and the wind you can add the whole dimension of backcountry skiing to it. In some cases, depending on snow, weather and surface you can have different snow quality. Sticking snow, ice,  frozen ice-cracks, don’t forget avalanche danger!  But also different hazards like rocks, cliffs (!), crevasses and grass (if the wind is strong and blows the snow away).  Every condition asks for different material if you want to have the perfect experience. If you haven’t , no problem, everything works just fine! Make sure you have visibility to see the cracks, rocks etc. Be aware of deep snow with short skies (save your legs) – its better on a snowboard. Or ice, is hard frozen water and might be better on skies (personal preference  ) .

 Another big thing is remoteness of the locations where you sometimes play in. makes sure there is a road or an easy reachable lodge. free to entry lodges are all around usually! And jumping of the snowy rocks can be fun to! Or practicing tricks in the powder And setting new speed records on ice! 

Kite set -up

You got all of this? Than now it’s time to set up your kite.  Some days with deep snow (I mean really deep snow), it can take some effort and time to set up that kite. And when you have to untangle the foil kite lines with minus 24 degrees… that won’t work with your hand gloves. But see it as a good thing, it’s a great work out. And once you’re up and riding it will pay off 

While launching a kite on strong winds might be really scary again. It can be hard to control, especially in gusty conditions. And sometimes foil kites have the habit to unfold themselves a bit late. (we all have people seen flying and ending up face planting in the snow). But if you make sure your lines are the right way, launch that kite while sitting in the snow (check the release). And if not hang on, drag through the snow and regain control. Also a lot of fun, you will learn to handle it .  

Weather

Although usually the weather is mostly predictable, in the mountains it isn’t. Be aware when dark clouds enter. They can mean fun but also…. A case of flying away. Bring the IKEA- bags just in case  . Also be aware of  closed roads, don’t trap in it and get cached on the wrong side of the road. If its super windy and snowing, there might be a a change the road will close, just on the minute you pass the barrier. If you just turned a little earlier you could have drove back to that Snowkite spot you just assed instead of waiting for hours and hours in the car until the road opens again. A sneaky tip if you really want to cross the road: wait or the moment a big truck is passing and quickly drive behind it. Mostly the trucks are allowed to drive the road longer, and driving behind it will help you cross the road.

No wind?

Don’t be afraid it’s always worth trying.! This might be the perfect day for trying that foilkite, using the skies, doing some first flights of the mountain. Going uphill might be really hard work, but going down pays off for sure!! And well, even with the lightest kite in the field sometimes you have to walk back, it’s part of the game. (sometimes if you’re more patient than me – a gust will come and take you back to you’re landing place).  Or make friend and wait for a tow back or tow up and ski down .

Despite snowkiting is an extreme sport: Snowkiting is also  a curious sport and great, if it all comes together  If it all works out , its amazing. Like the days we had stable 12 knots of wind, with long runs up the mountains and flying down all day (with foil kites). Or the days with the tube kites and some fresh powder, flying and practicing some tricks. Than there where the reallyyyyy cold ice race days over the lakes. All worth it! No wonder they say: Being a competent snowkiter, mastering all conditions is one of the most rewarding sports out there to master!

Dont forget to have fun at all times!! Gusty wind, light wind or storm, make the most of it, the rest will come to you!

Still not convinced: Why you should learn snowkiting! Also girls 

……They Said sky is the limit, so I went to check it out And you know what.. Sky isn’t the limit, you’re mind is!  #theskyhasnolimit

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Amarok Snowkite Worldcup Resia -2019: Back at it.

Amarok Snowkite Worldcup Resia -2019: Back at it.

Back at it? It was your first time? Yes indeed. But the skies…. I can manage for a long time  . And finally found a way to have fun with skies again. Combined with a kite is guaranteed for a smile and adventure. For all who know me, I like a challenge and if there is no progression, there is no fun. So, since I do like racing , but freestyle has always been a part of me, just like competing. I always look for ways to combine everything.  That’s why I ended up on the Amarok Snowkite Worldcup at the  Reschensee / Lago Di Resia 2019.  And that’s why we can say back at it.  Frozen water instead of liquid, competing together with my skies.

We did went a few days earlier to have some fun and to discover the Snowkite spot and the slopes around!  Which you can readin another blog soon. The rest of this story is about my experience in the first Snowkite Worldcup I ever did:

First day:  Registration & Long Distance

This day was all about the long distance race, which I decided to do on skies. 90 minutes and one track of around 3.8 km long, downwind and upwind.  Making as many KM in the 90 minutes as you can, that is  the challenge. After 90 minutes the finish flag will be displayed, which means the end of your rounds. The round you started without finishing flag, you could still finish if it is within 60 minutes – a very reasonable time.


Photo Credits: Oskar Verant Fotografie

There we go:

The start was a bit busy,  because we had North wind, which is coming from the top of the lake, so the course would be starting with going downwind. (Top of the lake: the first side you reach coming from the Reschenpass). But to give everyone a fair start, we started with a short tack upwind. With around 80 snowkiters…. that’s busy – at least for me. My goal wasn’t to have a fast start, but to stay out of trouble. On the way completing the rounds would be enough time to catch up, hopefully. 

On the starting area there was quiet some wind, down more towards the downwind mark, some less wind, but when riding upwind it became more (offcourse because of the speed you make). Along the mountain it was more wind for some reason. I took the 11m and 17m lines. The snow was on some places ice and on some places slush.  If you have a good memory you could remember this spots…….  I didn’t think about it. I just had one goal, many rounds and fast.

The first round was really easy and fast downwind. The first tack upwind… I realized I couldn`t reach the bar when spinning it back after a turn ( and letting go of it).. after this I also discovered that reaching the depower was another challenge…. I need some inspector gadget arms the next time, I use a kite for the first time  .   With this knowledge  I thought I would lose a lot of time… and even more after losing my ski on the way… (never think youre racing boots are the same size as your freeride boots after not testing it).  Upwind there  was enough wind and downwind for half of the track,  but during the other rounds, the wind got less and less closer to the downwind mark.  The last round I made, a lot of foilkites where lying around the downwind mark.  I couldn’t even spot the mark. But in the past rounds I learned to go downwind a little less and keep the pressure in the kite. And even a little upwind to the downwind mark to find it and to keep the kite flying. Less fast but safe. Think I had the advantage to have a smaller kite but a real race kite, which was fast and light.

In the end I was able to make 5 rounds. Just after the finish flag went up I passed the finish line. Next year a bit faster – than I can make 6 rounds. During the race I didn`t saw the other girls and just the man. Which really motivated me to go faster and faster and pushed me to do as many as possible and not to watch the other girls.

I had clearly no idea and hoped I did enough to be on the podium, because it was the first time and I didn’t know the level at all.  I really enjoyed this challenge using the 11m, unless the results. The winner of the long-distance would be European champion as well as world champion of the stop Resia 2019.

Results overall, Long Distance. All disciplines and times together on one list.

Long distance Woman

Second day: Course Race/Freestyle  

The second day is reserved  for course race and freestyle.  We started with course racing. The wind was less than the day before, so I decided to go with the 15m. Since this kite is a little less race than the 11m I used the day before… I didn’t got that fast downwind, it didn’t downlooped that fast  that I was used to and if I made a turn it took some time to get speed again. I always fly smaller kites and for that reason I am not so used to the big slow kites. During the second round I got stuck in no wind, after surviving that, someone crashed his kite in my kite from behind…Getting out of this I finally made it upwind… to the finish line. That was one race.

 I didn’t  really enjoyed the start, the snowboarders first and then all the skiers.. too many (big) foilkites at the same place and time. I was latterly stuck in the group going from left to right through the upwind start.  

Try to get the tangles out of the kite, which didn’t worked and with launching it again … someone  crashed his kite in my kite – again.  Since they said at the registration that we could do freestyle (as a girl) and race together I thought leave the last race (after already missing two) and go for freestyle. But since we (as girls) already started the race, we had to stick to racing……………well that’s it. I surprisingly found out that despite all the struggles I won the first race. And got not surprisingly 3 DNC (and 1 discard). Which put me in a third place of course racing this day.   

Course Race

Photo Credits: Oskar Verant Fotografie

Third day: Course Race/Freestye & Price Giving  

No wind, but super nice weather , warm and sunny.  The oposite of what I hoped for. No chance to get it right and to make up for the missed races yesterday. 

After all: still happy with my 1st  place on the world & European championships Long distance- ski. And a little bit less happy with my 3rd place  on the  European & world championship in course race –ski.

BUT  more important I had  a lot of fun at this stop of the Snowkite WorldCup Resia 2019! And gained some more trust in racing with skies again   Course race and Mariska is always a little bit of a hate-love relationship.  Well let’s see next year! Maybe participate some more stops…?

More about this competition and the complete story – here.

Found this in our mailbox from the host of the apartment we stayed in. The finaly saw the real reason we didn`t visited that church are nice village around the corner. 
https://www.nu.nl/263874/video/sneeuwkiters-razen-over-bevroren-italiaans-meer.html?fbclid=IwAR3b-fKhPKWHz9SFMlqovsuCdxR_jorSq9ceOjqxgt4ndA7L_gS-_7oFKU8&jwsource=cl