Lately I talked to Valentin Bontus, a 16-year-old austrian pro kitesurfer who told me about his experiences traveling one year around the globe with the World Class Kiteboarding Academy. Read more about the experiences he collected during this time, his plans for the next months and his new sponsor.
Location: Karnerbucht/Podersdorf am See
Date: 22. – 24. 4. 2017
After reaching a certain basic level with hooked tricks lots of kiters want to attempt unhooked tricks too. For good reasons: Not only that this will lead to a totally new kitesurf feeling, unhooked tricks open doors to so many new possibilities! I asked four kitesurf professionals to reveal their most important tips for those who want to progress in unhooking.
It was 2007 when Laila Puehringer got addicted to kitesurfing. The hometown of the half-austrian-half-moroccan Ozone teamrider from Vienna travels a lot and has also been living in the Dominician Republic. Since 2009 she participates in kite contests, also in the worldcup – in former times in freestyle, now strapless in the waves. In the GKA-Wave-Competition which took place in Mauritius this September she missed out on the semi finals by a single point. But she says: „I am hungry for more!“
Continue reading 5 questions, 5 answers: Laila Puehringer
What’s the main reason we are addicted to kitesurfing? To speak in behalf of most kiters, the answer is very simple: Because it’s fun! But nearly everyone who spent some time kiting already may have experienced days on the water that have been … let’s call it modest. Wether you see no progress anymore, you are totally stuck with a trick which makes you angry, you can’t cope with the conditions or you even get bored of kitesurfing … sometimes it’s like that.
All kinds of windsport in one event
Last weekend Heli and I went to Lake Garda, where we spent some days in Riva del Garda. The reason was an exclusive event preview for “Garda Wind Garda – Your wind experience.” The organisers of Barcolana invited media representatives and partners to take part in this preview. No question: I was mightily proud that I had received an invitation!
To describe the event in a few words: It’s an action-packed mix of different sports around wind and air, from kite- and windsurfing through sailing to paragliding.
A little guide to find the right board – and the decision for straps or boots.
After harness, kite & bar, the kite etiquette and tips how to find the right equipment the last article of the FAQ series is about kiteboards. As all other kind of equipment also the board is always a hotly debated topic with thousands of different opinions – not only about the size of the board but also concerning the question “Boots or straps?” as well as “Should I leave the grab handle on the board or not?” The content of this article is a combination of a) a lot of research work and b) experience of friends, a lot of kitesurfers I know and my humble self.
welcome to my new series “5 questions – 5 answers” for which I will talk to proriders from all over the world and share their kite experiences, tipps and tricks with you.
Number one of the interview partners is Malin Amle, Liquid Force Teamrider from Norway which is traveling around the world the whole year.
5 questions for Malin Amle
When and why did you decide to compete in contests?
- To be honest I’m not really a competitive person and I have always kited simply because I love it and want to share the passion with my friends around the globe. Even so I like a challenge, so I decided to give the World Tour and European championship a go in 2014. It went well and it was great fun to experience it. I got the chance to ride with many talented riders that inspired me to the next level, however I realized that my big passion is in freeriding and producing content that inspire others to join this wonderful sport. Now I compete in fun events to connect with people in the industry, create quality content and share good experiences on the water with old and new friends!
Do you think that it is harder to be accepted as a female rider in the kite community, especially inbetween the pros?
- I think it’s probably easier! As it’s such a male dominated sport, I find that the few girls that are in it are greatly appreciated.
A lot of kiters find that it’s somehow “uncool” to ride with straps and they only ride boots. What do you think about this – and do boots really help in increasing the performance?
- Haha, I think that this is just an assumption by the collective. Most professional riders went over to boots as it allowed them to throw down technical tricks with power and style and not really because it was cool. To speak for myself I was crashing my tricks all the time with straps as the power that I had did not really allow for straps. Once I changed to boots I was landing them way more often. It was like a new world that opened up to me after I changed to boots! I do think that boots also add a lot of style to your tricks. However, I would not recommend it before you have a decent level in unhooked tricks. There are still so many fun moves that can be done with straps and switching to boots to soon will not allow you to explore that!
Do you think that it’s important to do basic oldschool moves first or can someone also start directly with unhooked tricks and wakestyle?
- Exactly as I said above, I think you will definitely have more fun if you enjoy basic old school moves first. I think if you start directly with unhooked moves you might get a bit discouraged and also you will be missing out on a really fun part of kitesurfing. I like to mix it up and am really happy that I didn’t skip through the old school part. It’s all about the journey, not the destination 😉
What would you recommend to someone who is afraid of trying kitesurfing (which is often the case for girls)?
- My biggest tip is just to go for it. Most of us are afraid of trying something new, but all of us will get through that fear when we take one step at a time towards our goal. Once you have taken the first step, you realize that it’s usually the fear itself that is scary and not actually the very thing you are frightened of. I’m really one to speak on this topic as I was literally crying myself through my first lessons, because I was SO afraid!!! So there you have decent proof that we all move through our fear by taking one step at a time and this is how we slowly overcome it.
If you want to know more about Malin, check out her pages:
How many lines … still a controversial issue.
This 5th line! In my experience it’s a topic which splits the kitecommunity into to camps. You either love or hate it. I always compare it with the question: How to eat Nutella on a bread – with or without butter? Do you know anyone who doesn’t care about this choice? Not me. There is no either/or. (Well, it’s only possible without butter. No question.)
What’s better for me?
Especially in the beginning of a kitesurf career the whole equipment thing can be quite confusing. There are a lot of decisions to make: Which harness, which kite should I choose? Is it absolutely necessary for a beginner to take a big board? What about second-hand equipment – is it a good idea to search for used material or should I buy everything new? And so on and so forth. One problem is: Everybody tells you something different. One of your kite friends swears by only one brand, another one tells you to never buy one piece of this brand cause it’s bad stuff. In online kite forums where you hang around in hope of inspiration you find thousands of different opinions (and everyone knows it better than the others) – which is even more confusing.