VKWC World Tour #2 – Venezuela

The second stop of the world tour this year was held on Isla de Coche in Venezuela. I was a bit hesitant at first knowing the current situation in the country, but hey, I had to go! Luckily the organisation took very good care of us so as soon as we got to Caracas we got a free flight and car/boat transfer to the hotel. Caracas was definitely a little bit scary, but as soon as we got to Isla de Coche, a small island off the coast, we didn’t notice a thing. This peaceful holiday island appeared to be an ideal kite location with flat water and constant wind, about the best for competition. That meant that we could go all out and show our biggest tricks.

In the first round I was up against 3rd placed Bruna Kajiya and 9th placed Helena Brochocka. I managed to get second in this first round so I was up to a local Venezuelan girl in the second round. This round I passed quite easily and I was very happy with my riding.

Then it was time for the third round and I was up against current world champ Karolina Winkowska. I knew that this heat would not be easy and I had to throw in something big. So I decided to go and try a trick that I had not landed in a year… smart thinking right? 😉 I started the heat with a few of my basic tricks and saved the big one for the end. When it was time to go for it, I just stopped thinking rationally and went for it 100%. It’s a risky trick that can hurt when it goes wrong, but is impressive when landed. And I did!!! And that made my the first girl in the history of kiteboarding to land a “Double S-Bend to Blind” in a heat.

Unfortunately it was still not enough for the win, so I finished on a 5th place again, which for now, I’m very happy with. I was not super content with the way they scored my heat, but that’s part of the game with a judging sport. I was, on the other hand, very very proud of the way I rode and my massive accomplishment!

I will post a video of it later for you to see!

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Kids Pro Clinic

The first round of the Kids Pro Clinic in Aruba was a great succes! As I got home after Morocco I noticed more and more kids on the water at my homespot. I remembered the times when I was 14 years old and just starting and I was one of the only kids on the water. Now, as the sport is getting safer every year, there are a bunch of kids shredding around here and I wanted to help them out!

We got together on a nice sunny day and the wind was perfect. We started with a beach session, where I explained the tricks that they could try. After that we went out on the water and everyone was trying their very best and everyone learned something new!

The second Kids Pro Clinic will be held this coming tuesday the 30th of june. All kids of 16 years or younger are welcome!

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Training at home

After Morocco we had 2 months before the next stop would start. That meant lots of training time! And where better than in my homespot in Aruba? Good friend and teammate Damien LeRoy came over to help me out with some new tricks. One of them: the Front to Blind.

See a few of the tricks during my training session here :)

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Virgin Kitesurf World Championships #1 – Morocco

All riders of the VKWC (previously PKRA) flew down to Dakhla, a little town in Morocco, for the first stop of the world tour this year. I was very excited as it was my first time in 9 months to compete again and I felt more ready than ever.

I didn’t put too much pressure on myself as I knew that coming back is tough, and I wanted to start up slow again. I was lucky to receive an injury wildcard due to my overused knee of the previous year, which meant that I did not have to compete in the qualifier rounds to enter the tour this year.

As we got started I felt those good old nerves coming up again and it was the best feeling ever. The adrenaline started flowing through my body and I noticed my legs feeling weak. But I didn’t have to worry about that, because I knew that as soon as that red flag went up for the 3-minute mark till the beginning of my heat, my competition mode would turn on and I wouldn’t look back.

And that is exactly what I did. Red flag, 3 minutes. Yellow flag, 1 minute. Green flag… go time. In my very first heat I was already up against current world champ Karolina Winkowska which is not an easy one to begin with. Getting 2nd out of 3 in that heat, I passed on to round two for a second chance. I passed through that one with more confidence and felt strong and powerful once I got to round 3 against Bruna Kajiya.

This heat would decide whether I’d stay fifth or pass on to go for top four. I rode the heat of my life. It was like I never even left and I landed trick after trick until I didn’t have any left to do. Once the heat was finished I returned to the beach where my teammates were rooting for me. My hair was dry and my hands were shaking.

Unfortunately it was not enough to win against Bruna. She is a very strong rider and has been competing for a long time. However, the difference in points was very little and I managed to achieve one goal: I’m back, I’m strong, and I’m ready to work hard for the podium!

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Preparation for the 2015 season

I’ve been training very hard these past weeks, both in the gym and on the water!

Here is a photo and a video of my progression. :)

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“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Christmas with the family

It was Christmas time again and it has been our wish for a long time to spend it with our family again for once. Since we moved to Aruba we have not been able to go to the Netherlands during the holidays as it’s wayyy to expensive. However, this year it was finally possible and that meant that we spent it with our entire family again after 10 years!

It was an amazing week filled with love and laughter and my parents and I felt very blessed to be a part of it.

Of course we also made some time for other great things like spending two days indoor snowboarding! It had been 7 years for us and we had a BLAST! We even had real snow on the last two days. Cheers to a good vacation!

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All the cousins of the Van Westerop family :)

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Back to Brazil!

It’s Brazil time, it’s all over facebook, everyone is there. It’s almost starting to become old news already, but fact is, it will always be amazing.

I’ve just spent three months at home due to a minor knee injury and it is great to be back on the road and especially on the water! I am astonished by the speed at which I got back to my level and can’t wait to stick some new big tricks. A couple of the PKRA girls were here the first two weeks and they are landing some huge new tricks that I want to try too! Next season I will be joining the tour again and the time can’t pass by fast enough.

So I’m halfway through my one-month stay in Brazil and training every day! Slowly starting to think I might stay an extra month… :)FDSC_0097DCIM102GOPRODSC_03992

 

MaiTai Necker

People often ask me what the most special place I’ve been to is. Well, since recently, I have a new answer! I got invited by my teammate Susi Mai to a MaiTai event on the island of the one and only Sir Richard Branson! I couldn’t believe that I got the opportunity to visit this place. The MaiTai is and event where entrepreneurs and businesspeople come together to network, promote, and then kite all together. Susi Mai and Bill Tai host this event all around the world but the one on Necker island is definitely one of the most prestigious ones.

Luckily, my amazing sponsor Saba Rock Resort is located only 5 minutes away from Necker with a boat! So of course it was a great opportunity to combine the two. Arriving at Saba Rock I was just so exited. This island is so very tiny but is perfectly set up with new and modern hotel rooms, the best restaurant and bar in the caribbean, and a view that you can’t even imagine, you’re in the middle of multiple other islands where people come in and anchor to Saba for a nice lunch or drink. Paradise? Better!

Then it was time to head to Necker. And arriving there I was blown away. I had never seen anything like it. The luxury, the people, the beauty, just incredible. I had an amazing week meeting lots of nice people, kiting and having the opportunity to shoot with one of the world’s best photographers, John Bilderback, going to insane costume parties, and of course, meeting Richard Branson himself. If I had to describe this entire week to you know, it would be a hundred pages long of me raging about all the craziness I witnessed there. Maybe I should just write an article about it some time… (: For now, here are a few pictures. Hugs!

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PKRA #4 – Soma Bay, Egypt

It was time to get ready for the next upcoming competition, so I decided to head to Egypt a week early to get some training in. I went to Hurghada, a town about 40 minutes from the competition area. Everyone at Tommy Friedl’s pro center welcomed me with open arms and the kitespot was amazing.

After a great week of training and experiencing the Egyptian culture, it was time to head to Soma Bay. The competition spot was amazing. The water was crystal clear and we had loads of wind. The hotel was massive and breakfast, lunch, and dinner was included every day.

The competition didn’t go as well for me as I’d hoped and I finished with a 5th place. However, I am very content with my riding that week and am motivated to keep training and get back on the podium!

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Hong Kong!

I was so excited to be asked by my sponsor NP Surf to come to Hong Kong for a photoshoot. Alberto Rondina, Leon Jamear and myself headed to the big city for an amazing 4 days! If you’re wondering, yes, 4 days up and down to HK is pretty intense, but it was definitely worth it! We did the photoshoot in a studio, so no kiting involved at all, which was pretty crazy for me. The pictures ended up super well, and I can’t wait for you to see them in the NP Surf product book soon (:

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PKRA #3 – Leucate, France

I love competing and everything about it, but I already knew that France doesn’t make competing much easier than it already is.. It was my second year and just like last the conditions were super crazy again. Luckily it was a bit less cold than I remembered and most of the days the sun was shining!

The singles didn’t go very well for me. I lost my first heat which meant the singles were over for me and I had to defend myself in the doubles!

In the doubles I had to work myself all the way up the ladder again to get a good position. I won over several girls including Vieira, Van Der Snoek, and Lammerts. I was going like a rocket, riding super well and feeling great. Once I got to Manuela Jungo for 4th or 3rd place we both rode super well. In the end she landed a really good trick managing to kick me out. Even though I didn’t manage to get on the podium I am still very happy with my 4th place. I gave the best I had and am super motivated for the next stop in Egypt!

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