Shred It Till Bed, Uncategorized

My first wingfoil race ever : The Wingfoil Racing World Cup & Europeans 2022 #Kookoftheday

Back to beginner…. My first wingfoil race ever! A bit of a change; Instead of jumping, spinning around in the sky, flying or racing around with huge kites and a race foil, I will be racing around with the “tiny” wing. A few months ago I finally had a board with straps and made my first jumps and real rides again. Nothing special, I never expected I would like the “winging thing” like this. So, yes it was a bit of a spontaneous decision. But already driving a lot of kilometres the past weeks and days, this was a piece of cake. From Greece to Lago di Resia and back again to Lago di Garda before going back home once again.

It`s always fun to try something new, to learn more about different things. And if not now, when..? The only way to improve is to try different things…

So I went checking out the wingfoil racing discipline. My first wingfoil race ever: Back on the place I dived head first into my first ever kitefoilrace & Kitefoil Europeans some years ago – still a lifetime adventure. The start of my adventures racing career on foils next to all other “things”  & freestyle disciplines – back at: Lake Garda.

My first wingfoil race ever : The Wingfoil Racing World Cup & Europeans 2022

Without any knowledge or look at the race formats, jumping into the deep. Same I did during the kitefoiling Europeans. A lot has changed since then. I think the same will happen in wing foiling as it is exploding the past years. It is great to be a part of it and experience it first handed. To see what the wingfoil racing is all about and more important if I can do it & if it is really fun. I remember the kitefoiling was pretty impressive for me with all teams around and on the other side just me – myself and I. Well, nothing changed in that, but I got more confident, in developing myself into the best athlete I can be without a team.

“If I let go who I am, I become what I might be”

As you can guess these days there exist a lot of “first times”, even more moments;  “I should have a” , the usual:  “next time I bring” and the.. “I should have trained”.    The biggest surprise I had was the moment I realized… when I arrived the foils outside connected to race (kitefoil) foils, were for winging, not for kitefoil racing (Why did Nobody told me that..?). I have my kite racefoil in the car, unfortunately no board to attach it to for wingfoiling….but if I only had known…..

For me it even was the first time winging with a “race wing foil”. I always used the 1280 ( a big front wing), but for this event I used for the first time a 850 frontwing. Which I thought a foil is a foil, clearly not. This smaller one had way less lift  (duhhh) and with my small sinking board, it wasn’t easy to get out or I needed a fairly big wing to pull me out. Let`s not talk about my tacks & Gybes.  It is what it is, the only wing equipment I have for now.  A shorts mast, small front wing and a big wing, no harnas… : Kook of the day and ready to race! 😊

Kook / kook/ “A kook is a nut or a weirdo – in other words a crazy or eccentric person”

The first day of racing:  We started with a long distance course with a rabbit start. Which means that at the end of the countdown a boat with a rabbit (floating banana thing) behind will pass over the starting line. The moment it passes you, you’re allowed to pass the line and start racing.  We went all 65 together at the same time. It’s a long race, with a reaching start around the mark, a upwind mark, a reach and back downwind to the finish boat. To the opposite of the lake and back. The first race we tried the island as upwind/reach mark, that didn`t work (something with no wind behind the island).  This race we had to re – sail with an upwind mark slightly before the island.

I had to get used to the starting, because the wingfoil is slower than a racefoil. Don`t mention the riding that much upwind ( and going that slow).  After a few meters, not even reaching the first mark – yet, didn`t know what I had started. I almost did regret it… I never sailed that much upwind with my wing and never that far, that mark seems to disappear further and further. My hands, arms and shoulders were slowly falling apart; “Am I really moving upwind..?!”. During this I realized why they were harnesses (discovery of the day..), at least I had a great bicep workout this day..

With the usual splashing, pumping, restarting, wingfilppin`and crashing ( that damn wingtip of the wing), I finally made it to the mark and still had the reach so I still had to hold on the full power of the big wing. And finally we could go downwind.. I was a bit too enthusiastic, went that fast (- not used to going fast and a short mast) the frontwing came out on a wave (reminder to myself- the mast is a tiny bit shorter as my foil mast…). And another crash, some pumping and straight to the finish line were I still could overtake some. Ending up 4th.

The races after were difficult for me with a huge windhole at the first mark. Just at the moment I came and had to turn (offcourse). Yup I went collecting my:  deep Lake fishing scores with my sinking board and small frontwing (dnc – did not compete) … I never made it to the starting line being locked into my own windhole on the bottom of the lake. Twice….At least one race the wind was gone for everyone.  Time to wait for the wind to change direction.

That’s the typical Garda – wind. The wind of lake Garda is thermal,  There are two typical winds around: Pelèr, the northerly morning wind, and Ora, the wind from the South, which usually starts after the Pelèr drops down. And tends to be a slightly lighter breeze.

Second day of racing: We did a downwind slalom, because of the lighter winds. An early start of 9AM (!). During this fun little races I kept on dragging the wingtip in the water and crashing. While after the start until the last mark I was on a 4th position.  Might be because I was also pushing it too hard to go faster and faster. But it was so much fun! … Better a big oops than a what if, at least that’s what I think.

It took me forever upwind to get back to the starting line where I just made it in time – straight into the starting sequence of the next race. My arms had another heavy day. I discovered a lot this day. Were we (as kitefoilers) go for pressure they  (as wingfoilers) go for pumping . Were we sink, struggle and swim to keep the kite flying, they just chill and float around! Or pump like crazy and try to get back up the foil… At least no wet foil kite this event… I still  remember the gras in front of the hotel filled up with 70 foil kites after the wind switched off at the Kitefoil Europeans.  So today, I had some 5-6 -8 scores. The last race I went deep Lake fishing scores with my sinking board (dnc)…That scores I never made it to the starting line being locked into my own windhole on the bottom of the lake.

The afternoon wind kept on teasing us and never became strong enough for wingfoiling – Although I am pretty sure with Kitefoiling the jury would have send us out…. to just try…

Third day of racing:  never happened. The wind never showed up for real.

Fourth day of racing: Was al about upwind starts and not the usual reaching starts. And a upwind parcourse for a change.  Unfortunately the day started with a lot of rain, no wind at all. Later the wind came with the rain (because why not..?). Super Strong wind gusts, “waves”  … The first start attempt we couldn’t see a thing, just rain, rain and rain and we were send in again. To be honest the rest got send in.. I never went in at the first place. After a bit more of the waiting game it was time:  Go big or… go home is becoming a statement this year I guess….since I had only one big wing to go with.

After 4 upwind start races in strong wind…. And the flag of the starting sequence goes up agaaaaain… my arms are still hanging on there. This one was actually fun!

Note to self: stop dragging the wingtip around and into the water, it will safe some splashing before the marks or a minimum of 2 crashes every single (!) race … Blame the short arms, the one and only big wing I brought or the 75cm mast . After all I had some decent scores 4-5-5-6, and..yet also the opposite some 9 -11 & DNC.`s

Definitely a lot of fun & surprising to do something different in the racing discipline! Still a lot to learn.. 1000 crashes, 1 tack and an 8th place at the end of the WingFoil Racing world cup & Europeans, my first wing foiling race ever…and a little bit less of a “kook”

……Next time I come with a bit more prepared race skills Thanks for the racing,  fun and ….on to the next one!   The expert in anything was once a beginner after all!  

Mariska Wildenberg
Spread the Love
Shred It Till Bed, Snowkiting, Uncategorized

“Scary Movie” Podium 2022 – Cortina

The story of the Scary Movie Podium 2022 – Cortina

What a season!

Yep, the snowkiting season for me is over now.  With leaving Norway two weeks ago, the snowkiting season 21´-22´ came to an end.  From new years` eve to France to Lapland to nightshifts to Italy to Norway.  Lot’s of km’s driven, driving the same mountain pass “only” 8 times, mid night repacking, 3 competitions, 5 disciplines, 6 podiums, one big scary flight off a mountain and a lot of fun.

Some amazing mountain tops & views along the way, looooooots of snow, and even more stunning sunrises and sunsets. 55 knots till nothing at all. Sleeping in the van in – 11 without freezing, snowchain days, from – 29 till a sunny 20 degrees……

Unforgettable adventures, new friends met, other doors opened.

 It has been an unexpected, fun and strange year. Ages ago that we had competitions in the first place. 2 years ago for the last snowkiting session. With all the “things”  happening in the world we don`t understand. The whole Covid situation on one hand, on the other hand the war between Russia and Ukraine. It all seems unreal. Competing together with the all nationalities, the Russian and Ukrainian, the other moment…. Just after they got home from the World Cup in Roccaraso: pictures of bombs, shelters and explosions around our friends and their homes.. Seems like another planet that this is happening. While the world and life continues.

We all live together and we have to make it work together. Just like we do during the sporting events.  If it is the rules depending on the Covid situation or a war….

With that said. The season ended. Because of the things going one in the world, The IKA Snowkite World tour of 2022 had only three stops, two of them in the racing and long distance discipline – with a choice between ski or snowboard. One event dedicated to big air and freestyle in both, skiing and snowboarding. Although my first race and long distance battle of the season was the International snowkite open – Lago Di Resia. There I decided to continue the world tour snowkiting, because it was so much fun again! And I did missed the snow.

The racing and long distance stop in Charkov I missed, and a lot among me, because of the political situation already at that moment. The next stop was Roccaraso – Italy. And after the freestyle & big Air stop in Cortina – Italy.

With winning the International Snowkite Open in Long Distance & Course race at Lago Di Resia, I had a good start of the season. And made my promise of three years ago through. Read More Here.

After this the next stop was the IKA Snowkite Worldcup Long Distance & Course Race ( & GPS) in Rocarasso. Where I managed to get the world title in course race! And win the course race with the lowest amount of points, 1-1-1-1 and the 2nd I could discard. I became 2nd in the long distance. And 1st in the GPS.  Read More Here.

The next and last snowkiting competition was the IKA Snowkite World Championship Big Air & Freestyle in Cortina. Finally some freestyle and big air again. At least that is what I thought. I really enjoy this discipline at the water and while freeriding in the snow, I mean I like racing but sometimes, I have to lose my energy in something else and just go crazy! With a new format, including more slopestyle, kickers, sliders.. it looked very promising and fun. The only thing that didn’t looked promising was the wind… the wind actually never showed up for real. The only official heat finished is the one of big air ski men. We ( the woman) started our heat right after but the wind dropped, and the scoring became hard so our heat couldn`t be scored properly and had to be redone. I have to be honest, I missed out on the complete heat.. I choose the 15m over the 11m and met one really big gust (in between no wind at all – probably the only gust of the weekend) on my way down the hill into the competition field. And that is the start story of the “Scary Movie Podium”.

Let me present to you: The Story of the Ika SnowKite WorldCup & the Cortina Snowkite Contest 2022 – Passo Giau:

  “Scary Movie” Podium

Go BiG OR go Ho.. take the Risk and FLY. I did a loooot of things in my life that scared me and the onces around. But for this one I was not really prepared- no one I think. This competition I made the longest and highest flight of a mountain with a kite in my hands – sofar! Now this one can officially added to my “scariest jumps of my life” list! Thanks for the car ride back up the hill.  ….After this feeling, I am more than excited for some better & bigger flights next year!

Too bad we couldnt finish the complete competition, but with a lot of sunny days and fun – no complains.  Congratz to the other podium finishers and the girls who actually stayed in the competition area and didn’t flew out of it and made it to some tricks, pops and hops.

That flight made me win the scary movie podium. With the most scary move of the competition. I have never flown like that, backwards soaring off a biggg mountain before.. it was my own fault, because I will always take the risk, the big kite instead of safe and small. In fact I was just hanging on there. I would be lying if I didn`t say that I had some flashbacks ovet how it could end, but quickly I realized I had to keep the kite straight. There was one moment I pulled the bar and got even higher, which made me realize if I want to land push the bar… And that’s how it went, with a soft landing in a no wind area down the hill. I made my first ever flight from a mountain. And survived.

Thanks to the IKA & al partners for organizing the events! Altough the wind was not always in our favour, we tried, we had funad we raced. See you next year – with some more wind & even bigger flights!  And a big High 5 to all sponsors and support I got to compete here!

I can only say: What a season!

For now… it is time to leave winter behind and reload summer in the Netherlands, because the road as a kitefoiler will start again from now one 😊 *taking the dust of my foils and twintip….

All Photo Credits go to: Franzin Deven & Arnoud Wareck

Spread the Love
Shred It Till Bed, Snowkiting, Uncategorized

Snowkite World Cup 2022- Roccaraso, Italy

Snowkite World Cup 2022- Roccaraso, Italy

The final stop of the SnowKite World Tour is going down in the mountains of Italy – Roccaraso. Approximately 1900 km from The Netherlands. It could have been nice if I had decided earlier to go there… because  I was literally half way there the week before at the International Snowkite Open on the Reschensee.

So after finishing off the nightshift I  picked up the van and drove 12 hours, back on the road to Lago Di Resia, some nice mounatin passes.. with some snowchain driving made it complete. I slept a bit further in a little quiet village.. in  the degrees of minus 11: #vanlife this week it is. Apparently I had done a quit good job insulating, without heater it wasn`t cold at all – until I opened that door… The next morning I drove anther 12 hours which made me arrive at Roccaraso – right on time to register for the final stop of the world tour. The winners of this one will be crowned World Champion as well. At least I was awake again after the registration in a cosy, busy, partying bar in the small village Roccaraso – A typical warm Italian Welcome 😊

The first day

Skippers meeting down the slopes at Pizzalto. Being told about the three disciplines: Course race, Long Distance, GPS formula – might be all on one day.  GPS? .. I wasn`t really prepared or that one. Just like ging into the skiing lift, the gondola and skiing down with my kites.. 

Anyway I like adventures so: Taking my complete equipment up to the plateau. Into the ski – lift, skiing down a slope halfway and up into the cable car to the top. I never brought my kite down the slopes and into the cable car and totally not three of them at the same time… Meeting up with some Greek, Slovenian, France, Italian, Ukrainian competitors on the way  up and down.

Once up there the view at the plateau into the valley is super nice! As well as the weather, sunny and no wind – unfortunately. I was surprised by the fact how high and steep the mountains to the valley looked like. With the question, can my race kite handle this.. on the short lines I brought… ? No wind – yet so not thinking about that anymore, I will learn along the way – like always

…So we tried out the Italian ski slopes which are connected to the snowkiting spot. Fun to enjoy some skiing again.  On the end of the day we got some wind, actually a lot of something like wind. Up on the mountain side, not down in the valley. Late afternoon we got released, it was getting late to set up a course, all get down and .. no wind yet in the valley, just on the steep mountain hill. After one more round of skiing I finally decided to try some snowkiting here as well. It`s not a lie that I was a bit scared of the gusty wind, the relative strong wind up the hill and my race kite with super short lines.

 “If  I’m scared it makes me excited, I have to do it”

So there we go with the 15m – which was way too big in the end. I did some unexpected flying and spinning, some ski losing, but in the end I had some fun. First time snowkiting on such a steep mountain. Ending after closing time, we were skiing down late (hoping to end up on the right parking lot…), the pistebully`s already came up..

Second Day

Today we had to do everything, according to the wind forecast- this was and is the best day. Just not the right direction for in the valley – that will make it more gusty. On top of the hill and down in the skiing resort of roccaraso was a looooot of wind. The gear stayed up on the plateau so it was an easy run to the top.  I was curious what will be down there.. no wind, a lot, or.. a bit of both. It turned out to be that last one. 

12m short lines, seemed a safe option, cause I didn`t had another choice of lines, except for 24m. The starting line was behind some hills, hidden,  which was already quit an adventure to get to. Starting is a complete other story, the starting line is in between two mountains. Arrived there.. half of the kites were dead, lying in the middle of the track. After some struggling, we did had some wind to start.  I had  a hard time keeping my kite in the air on the short lines – the minutes before the starting line – sorry guys. Starting from port it was, to safe a tack and get some help from the mountain to the upwind mark. Finally we started the first race, which gave us wind and sometimes not, some walking, kite relaunching, skiing, tangling. Until just before the upwind mark the wind completely died. My kite twisted and got stuck. One of the girls was super friendly to help untangle it… After some waiting and trying the wind game back, and it really did I nearly missed the upwind mark because of too much wind and blowing away. Don’t ask how but I did finish this race.  The second race I had to avoid some tangles, but finished 2nd again after two rounds.

The third and fourth race the wind must have heard me praying, he came back and it was wayyyyy more fun for me, no struggles just going! The laylines became more tight and te rounds quicker and quicker. The only challenge was not to tangle and finish first. And that’s what I did. Staying safe and: finishing 1st and 1st

After this we started the long distance, well the same course as the course race, a bit longer. And a downwind mark in a ….. hole between two mountains. Before we even started I know what was going to happen in that hole with me, my short lines and the kite…. Prepare for some walking… and kite relaunching.

The first upwind and downwind until 10 meters before the downwind mark were really good and fun. A little wind and no struggles. I made a gap between the others. The last part I tried to reach the downwind mark from the top of the hill,  but I started to fly… and the last part … my short lines couldn’t make it happen, my kite just back stalled and I relaunched it.. a 100 times until I got to the mark. Here I lost it all. I think this kite has never rounded a mark this slow, but we managed to anyway. With some slalom through the dead kites. (although the guys were already going for a second lap…. Shameeeee).

Walking upwind until I found some wind again.. and the same process. Downwind mark and lose ground and walk up  to the finish line, which I could do riding because of a gust. Finishing third. A bit sad I couldn`t keep my gap, and lost it down in the hole…. but for the equipment and the conditions, and my mountain skills – still a good job – not too many finished this race.

After the Long distance race, we tried to get back to where we started, the wind died and wo got a nice ride back to the slopes from the snow quads.  I am already happy it is snow and not water.. an easy self-rescue. Thanks guys – it was fun! We took all our equipment and skied down to pizzalto.

Oow and yeah, about: the GPS competition… the GPS formula discipline was on today as well. I never ever had the time or made the time to get into this. So I used an app and my phone which off course didn`t work. So no data for me. But nothing to blame I came unprepared. (As you know me, I am not s from the data..) So that night I learned more about it and forgot.. I have a watch to use. Well tomorrow… maybe…..

Third day

…..It looked for me at least on the forecast the second day would be a no wind day, but the locals said different. The plan is to stay down the mountains and wait for the best wind to come. It can be every direction so we need to be a bit lucky.. I tought I used all of my luck the last races and just making it around the windless downwind mark yesterday. So no expectations.

At least we could park at this spot, which was nice and easy. The field looked a bit rough, with sm e bush sticking out, some grass, some rocks. In the middle of the sun and warm weather.. will be slushy on the end of the day.

But guess what?! The wind came. And pretty strong aswell. Finally some wind for the short lines. Overpowered racing fun with the 15m the first two races! Finally we could really race. The third race the wind went down a little, luckily I was didn`t took the 11m and could easily finish the race. The last race I changed for the 18m, hoping that the wind wouldn`t pick up suddenly and I will be blowing away… Right before the start.. the wind completely disappeared. That`s it for today.  Finishing all races first, I made up for the day before.

I clearly needed this day, in racing but also in GPS. Because I didn`t uploaded any files the day before. This day tried it with my watch. And guess what..?! I almost forgot about it, but that worked out. I even managed to upload the GXS files on time (which I never heard of before – shame #2) . GPSFormula is about the speed, the speed coming in, ging out and during tacks and gybes. Actually a nice training program. Where you can compare to different competitors, learn and push each other to the next level. Not only in snowkiting but also in snowkitingand more sports.

Snowkite Stop Roccaraso:

1st Course Race Ski

1st GPS Formula Ski

3rd Long Distance Ski

Over all Snowkite World Tour:

1st Course race Ski – World Champion

3rd Long Distance Ski

After all I had a great time in the mountains, down the valley and on the field. It opened another world of snowkiting and racing. Meeting up and racing together with a lot of different nationalities ; France, Italian, Russia, Ukrainian, Greek, Slovenian (and moreee) made it even more fun. #spreadlove #nowar Thank you all for racing!! And sleeping the whole week in the van again in the snow was perfect!

Spread the Love
Shred It Till Bed, Snowkiting, Uncategorized

International Snowkite Open Reschensee 2022

Next year I win both… I said three years ago..

International Snowkite Open Reschensee 2022

For more than 3 years (!) – also the first time snowkiting competitions for me –  we didn`t have any snowkiting competitions: cancelled, replaced, relocated, political situations…Just like that in this three years, I have been snowkiting just one day when the covid regulations let us escape a day to the neighbours Belgium – with some more snow than we get at home. More chances of snowkiting than this one I didn`t got anymore. After all we all know: The Netherlands is butter flat and … has nothing than a cosmetical layer of snow on a few rare lucky days the past years. (we call it poo grass kiting for the people still snowkiting in .. no snow, sand and grass..).

Launching a foil kite was also a while ago for me.. the last time was in September at the worlds of kitefoiling. There are many reasons why, the most important is that I didn’t quit hydrofoiling as a lot of you might think, no its actually the other way around. Only a bit more efficiency in the money needed for competitions, gear, entrance fee, training – to keep up with the quick developing Olympic Class – with a loooooooot just out of self support…..

“Nobody said it will be easy, but nothing worth having ever is”

Two years ago I won the long distance and became 3rd  in the course race (for a stupid reason) at the Snowkite Worldcup at Lago Di Resia. From that moment I promised myself next time I win both! And so there we go back snowkiting at Lago Di Resia, three years later – 2022:

Last minute decisions are always the best, Sometimes I can be a bit impulsive but hey it keeps life exciting, isn`t it? Just as little as a few days before the reminder of the international snowkiting competition of the Rechensee – we though, what the heck, let’s go! Straight after my nightshift, we drove to the Reschensee. Right on time for an Italian dinner pizza and off to bed. The next  day (Saturday) we had to register early morning.

Saturday and Sunday are planned to be competition days. Anyhow, Saturday looks really good, Sunday a bit difficult with a huge snow cloud coming in and different wind forecasts. I was a bit scared, not knowing what to expect and.. knowing I didn`t train any snowkiting. But isn`t it always like this..?

Picture: July Brunner

Saturday we started off with the long distance, which took us around two hours. It was fun to finally do some racing on the snow again with skies and a foil kite. Perfect conditions for the 18m. I made my first tacks and gybes again in the middle of the race after three years. Which was so much fun! After the start I had some trouble finding the downwind mark and remembering which side to pass it, not used to be up front.  That made me doing some gybes too much, but rounding everything the right way, behind the first guys. The whole race I focused at myself and the people in front, to catch some of them and to be as quick as possible – without losing to much ground. When finally finishing with shaking legs I know maybe next time I need a little practise before… I didn`t know where I ended, on which place but the only thing I did know that I had a big smile! – I missed this –

After the long distance race, we started straight with the course races, because we never know what is going to happen on Sunday. The wind already became difficult. We started the first race in enough wind for the big kites.. 18m… and only the first 5 that were quick enough finished. I surprisingly finished as 4th.  Some others finished the race running, walking and skating – respect!  😉

After a bit of waiting the next races were up, same story wind, no wind, wind, a lot of wind. And a turning direction, of the wind which made it fun, interesting and more tactical for some exciting port starts and not needed to gybe and rounding the mark in one straight line. Now you could see the differences in tactics.  I even came first around the downwind mark from all competitors after a really good start. One race I specially screwed up for the discard.. I tried to gain some more high on the side of the lake which was a little steeper. When I tacked I did it way to quick and flew the wrong direction, my kite crashed ad tangled  and turned and turned again. After all the dancing, pulling ropes and collapsing I could relaunch it and finish not last. After all it was nice racing, difficult and sometimes a bit of walking & skating. Hard to get speed and for me hard to pass the downwind mark sometimes, and even the finish mark, the other raced I crashed right on top of it in a time of no wind… sorry guys 😊 … after 5 races the day is over.

Sunday we played the waiting game, (which I secretly enjoyed, nice weather, nice view and still happy with the nice day we had yesterday – best day of the season already) the wind kept teasing us with going up and down and turning direction to direction. Almost on the end of the day the AP came up and we were supposed to start racing. Standing on the lake .. the wind disappeared again. Despite some people trying really hard, it didn`t work and finally we were released to the price giving & apple ceremony.

Finished the Long distance 1st and 8th overall.

Finished the course race 1st and 11th  overall.

Picture: July Brunner

Thank you all for the fun racing again, and organizing the event which made it possible for everyone to race again!!

Now we are off to the next adventure: Rocarasso! Which will be the final stop of the world snowkite tour in long distance, racing and gps – winners will be the World Campions toooo. But first home for some night shifts and study.

Spread the Love
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!
Spread the Love
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

Spread the Love
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!

Spread the Love
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.

Spread the Love
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………

Spread the Love
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!

Spread the Love