DOB: July 21, 1988
Hometown: Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Home spot: Noordwijk/Cape Town South Africa
Titles: 2014 Red Bull King of the Air & 2009 PKRA freestyle World Champion
Sponsors: Naish, O’Neill, G-Shock, Sinner eyewear
Favorite Naish Gear: Freestyle: Torch 10m & Monarch 134. Wave: Park 7m & Global 6’0”
KB goals for 2014: Enjoy every session as much as I can!
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
EAT! I’m always hungry. It sometimes gets so bad that when I try to go to sleep, I’m already thinking about my breakfast and can’t wait to eat it!
What’s the coolest thing you learned from talking to a child?
That you shouldn’t care too much and to be honest. Kids are always super honest…I like that.
When are you happiest?
When I have a great session in the water with all my friends. That’s why I love coming home. There is nothing like home.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Treat people like you want to be treated. Be happy, smiles are for free and give people positive vibes.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
I was on a kiteboarding holiday on Tenerife when I was 15 years old. I had a great session that day and went to the beach for a break. While I was eating my sandwich I heard people screaming and saw people running around at the shoreline. So I went to check out what was going on and saw that 3 people where getting dragged out to sea by the current. Nobody was able to do anything so I decided to try and help them using my kitboarding skills. In the meanwhile, the 3 people had been trying to swim back to shore against the current for over 20 min and they where starting to give up.
I decided to kite upwind and saw that one of the people’s head’s were already under water, so I grabbed her first and told her to hold onto my harness along with one of the other swimmers. Once I brought them to shore, I immediately headed back out to the other guy that was in full on panic-mode. I grabbed him and brought him back to the beach. About 15 minutes later, I saw a team of rescuers and a helicopter searching the water for the 3 people. They came way too late and I’m sure those people would have drowned if I wasn’t there.
What songs do you have on your playlist to get you pumped before a competition?
Lately I’ve been listening to a bit of dub step before comps and that really gets me pumped! Maybe even too pumped haha.
As a professional athlete who travels around the world and sees different styles of kiteboarding, what do you think about the status of kiteboarding right now? How do you see it evolving?
One of the coolest things about kiteboarding is that there are so many ways of riding! Because of the wide range of styles that kiteboarding has to offer, it attracts a lot of different people, but we all share the same passion. I personally love to ride different styles – this keeps me really motivated and stoked on the sport because there are always new things to learn.