Kiteboarding since: November 2009
From: Zeeland, the Netherlands
Best results: National Freestyle Champion, European Freestyle Champion, 4th place overall freestyle world championships, vice world champion slalom, 2nd place World Cup Germany, 1st place Hood River jam 2016
I grew up in a small village in the south west of the Netherlands. Together with my two brothers and two sisters I was always outside, but even though I lived close to the beach I didn't start kiteboarding until 16 years old. I'm the only one doing kitesurfing from the family, but last year I finally had the chance to get both my parents on the kite and ride a few meters.
In the summer of 2009 I learned to kitesurf and I am addicted to the wind ever since. After working in our local supermarket for a few months I bought my own material in November 2009 and the cold couldn’t stop me from going. Whenever it was windy I just had to go kitesurfing and on the most extreme day there were snowkiters on the beach but I still needed to go for a session in the North Sea.
I lived 17 kilometres from the beach and the only way for me to get there was on my bike. I always cycled to the beach with a cart behind my bike loaded with my gear, with every bit of wind. I never wanted to take the chance to miss a windy day!
From the beginning I was always trying new things on the water and I love the feeling that I have when I land a new trick, it’s like the feeling I had when I made my first meters on the board. It is the best feeling in the world! Since I was always riding with guys I just wanted to do what they were doing, that definitely helped me to progress a lot from the beginning.
In the summer I got a job at the beachclub on my homespot the Brouwersdam where I was working in the kite shop. I would work there almost every day of the summer, but on windy days they would always give me the time to go for a session. That way I could keep training and at the same time earn money to escape the cold winter. I remember all those evenings cycling back, totally broken but with a big smile on my face, after having a good session after a day of work.
At 17 years old I finished my high school and I knew I wanted to see how far I could get with kiteboarding. During the week I usually could go kiting because of school and work and because I was so addicted it was super frustrating. Finishing high school was a big relief and I could finally do what I really wanted to do. After working the whole summer I left for 4 months to Brazil, the best place to progress.
When I came back from Brazil I started competing in the European Championships for two years and combined it with working and training. After becoming European freestyle champion I decided to focus on the World Championships. It was amazing to be competing against all the girls I have been looking up to since the beginning. Making my first podium in the World Cup in Egypt my first year on tour is definitely something I will never forget.
Since the slalom and freestyle world cups are usually hosted during the same event I decided to start doing slalom racing as well. I really like the fact that it's really competitive and really easy to understand, the fastest one wins. I have also been competing in all the big air events. I love all the different possibilities that kiteboarding had to offer.
Together with Alex I also started riding wakestyle this year. Alex always has been really passionate about wakeboarding and because of him I started too. Since we both really enjoyed wakeboarding we really wanted to try to hit the sliders with our kite. Riding the sliders and kickers was a great new challenge. We built our first kicker and slider last winter in Brazil and filmed our Triple S wildcard video. Going to the Triple S was a great experience, we both have been following the event since the beginning. Since we didn't have the chance to ride much features with my kite before the event, I was happy with my 5th place. After the Triple S we went straight to Hood River, the only place where the kitepark is always out. The new Cabrinha rail is a perfect addition to the park and definitely my favorite one, since the possibilities on this rail are endless. My first place at the Hood Jam 2016 was an amazing way to end a whole summer of training in the park, and I couldn't be more happy with my new Cabrinha gear!
My name is Alex Maes, I’m 20 years old and i’m from Brussels, Belgium.
I grow up in the windsurf shop (Matos surf & kite shop) of my parents located in west Brussels, Belgium. Only child of the family, full of dreams just by looking up at the shop and with the love of my parents I never had one minute to get bored.
For me being in the shop and saying «Bonjour» to the friends,customers on my small electric car was my routine, I never even imagine starting windsurfing, I just loved being around my parents and seeing the beautiful place and the beautiful community that they had created from nothing more than 1h away from the sea.
I had my hobby’s like a regular kid from Brussels, I was going to school during the week and my parents took me every weekend at Brouwersdam, Holland (the homespot of Annelous) where they were able to windsurf. For me windsurfing was looking cool, but it was my parents thing. I loved more playing football with my friends than trying to get the sails out of the water which they couldn’t really blame me. But it all changed really fast when my dad received his first kite and started kiteboarding in 1999.
From this moment, I only remember asking my parents over and over to have a small kite to try to do the same as my dad. They bought me a small 2m Wipika for my 6th birthday in 2002, and from there I was practicing every week-end. We all have those few moments in a childhood that we remember perfectly, this was definitely one of those. I was practicing during the weekends and trying to copy what was my dad doing on the beach and when I was back at school during the week, I was only looking forward to the weekend to put my kite in the sky.
I had to wait until 2005 to be finally able to go into the water as I was really light, I had the chance to have the first version of the switchblade in 4m which was one of the first kite with a depower. This kite was absolutely amazing, doesn’t matter the conditions I was always riding this 4m switchblade (brazil color). From this moment, I never stopped chasing the dream of being a pro kiteboarder.
I knew even at the time where everything is possible that it was going to be hard, as I’m from a city and the spots were not really close but it was my dream.
I had the chance to travel with my parents at the best kite spots during school holidays when they were organising kite trips with the shop. I will never be able to give back what kiteboarding gave me but if i can inspire other kids from city's to chaise their dreams maybe I would have the filling to give back to kiteboarding.
In 2014, I dislocated my shoulder really badly which took me a proper two years and two operations to be able to freestyle again, during this time I had the chance to start wakeboarding and with the help of my parents to finish high school. Wakeboarding definitely had a massive impact on my vision of kiteboarding. At the time, I was only traveling with my best friend who is 3 years older than, I always looked up at him like a bigger brother, so when he decided to stopped kiteboarding to wakeboard, I had the give it a try ! I never stopped kiteboarding, as both sports are really beneficiant for each other, wakeboarding will definitely make you a better kiteboarder but you can’t beet the freedom that kiteboarding gives you !
Being in the same brand has been our main goal together with Annelous since we met each other, so joining the Cabrinha international team is a dream coming true.
I met Annelous a little over a year ago and from this moment, I knew we were going to make a great team ! We film each other, train together, support each other, organise coaching and kite trips together so for us being in the same team is simply amazing !
Since my frist 4m switchblade, I always wanted to join Cabrinha as their riders, shops and customers create one big family.
It represents everything for what my parents have been fighting for. The brand is caring about the local market as well as what customers needs. Cabrinha is always trying to bring game changer innovations even when their will be less risks to bring the same gear again and again.
Every aspects of the gear has been made with care, and the 2017 range will suits beginners to the best wakestyle riders.
The first time I rode the gear, it only took me a few minutes to get used and I even learned a few new tricks during my first session.
Set up :
My set-up is CBL 139 with H3 boots and Chaos. Give a chance to this set up and you will never switch for something else !