This weekend saw me hitting the road once more on another epic Eurotrip. This time the destination was the posh seaside town of Noordwijk (pronounced Nord-wike) in Holland for the biggest event in the Dutch kiteboarding calender, the Kiteboard Open.
I had written in detail about the soul crushing drive from Cornwall to Holland but after reading it through, deleted it so we can move forward to a more exciting time…
It was Sunday and the event had passed without any wind, but plenty of sun, banter and excellent hospitality thanks to our Dutch connection, Barry from Stormchaser. At around that evening, the wind started to pick up a little.
Huge Flysurfer foil kites were the first to hit the sky, closely followed by some inflatables. We had the 17.5m Flite pumped up on the beach and Dutch OR rider Rody Pijls was heading out for a play with it and the 6’3 Surf Series. Whilst Rody was cruising around the big foils were stealing the show by virtue of the fact that they were the only guys getting any height to their tricks. The beach was packed and the tourists were glad to finally have something to watch. Shame the wind wasn’t a bit more I thought to myself, then Rody would be able to bust out a few tricks and put on a bit of a show. In a moment of serendipity, the wind increased a touch more and Rody swapped the surfboard for a Mako twin tip. That’s good I thought, and fetched my camera so we could snap a simple trick or two. The Mako I should explain is a freerider’s favourite, meaning that it doesn’t really get used for high performance new-school tricks that require pop and release board tactics and unhooked kite flying.
Rody threw out a couple of simple jumps and I was snapping away when he came in and said, “do you want me to do a 3-1-3?”. Mother, if you’re reading, a 3-1-3 is a handlepass move where the rider pops off a wave, rotates 360 degrees around a vertical axis, passes the bar behind their back (unhooked), lands and rides away. Rudimentary stuff as far as high performance moves go, but really not the sort of thing you expect from anyone flying a 17.5m kite and a cruiser’s board.
“Give it a go, Rody” I replied. I wasn’t expecting much, but a split second later, I took this photo:
This continued as Rody warmed up. “What about a Slim Chance?” Mother, a Slim Chance is an aptly named handlepass move where the rider gets inverted. It’s a bit hard to explain in more detail, and although Rody’s talent was fast becoming clear, I didn’t hold a cat in hell’s chance for him even getting close to pulling it off. And yet, moments later, I clicked the shutter on this photo:
By now it was pretty obvious who was dominating this sunset free flying session. A few freestyle kids were hammering away in the shallows trying to snatch technical passes but failing. The huge foil guys had run out of things to do. Tourists on the beach were snapping away with their point ‘n’ clicks and for a few moments Rody was the most photographed man in the Netherlands.
This was a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat for I hate going on a trip and leaving without getting any shots or riding in. So cheers Rody for having the tenacity to go and bust out all those tricks and cheers to Barry for suggesting we get the shots done in the first place!