KSP Mauritius Ninja Bichler and Patri McLaughlin won the One Eye Pro 2012 Kite Surf Pro Concludes In World Class Surf

After 3 lay off days the competition at Mauritius the competition came to an end.
The big winners are Ninja Bichler and Patri McLaughlin. Congrats to all riders and organization!

KSP Mauritius Ninja Bichler and Patri McLaughlin won the One Eye Pro 2012 girls podium

KSP Mauritius Ninja Bichler and Patri McLaughlin won the One Eye Pro 2012 girls podium

Women podium

1st place Ninja Bichler (GER/North)
2nd place Jalou Langeree (NED/Naish)
3rd place Kirsty Jones (GBR/North)
4th place Ines Correia (POR/RRD

KSP Mauritius Ninja Bichler and Patri McLaughlin won the One Eye Pro 2012 men  podium

KSP Mauritius Ninja Bichler and Patri McLaughlin won the One Eye Pro 2012 men podium

Men podium

1st place Patri McLaughlin (HI/North)
2nd place Airton Cozzolino (ITA/North)
3rd place Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA)
4th place Luke McGillewie (RSA/RRD)


Le Morne, Mauritius – September 15, 2012: Epic conditions grace day 9 of the holding period for tour stop number 2 of 4 at the One Eye Kite Surf Pro. The women’s final saw a repeat victory from local ripper Ninja Bichler (GER, North), dominating her home break. The men’s side saw underdog Patri McLaughlin (HI, North) take down reigning world champion Airton Cozzolino (ITA, North) nailing the only perfect 10 of the competition in the dying moments of the final.

In the marquee matchup of the day, the men’s final promised to be the best heat of the event and it did not disappoint. The powerful Cozzolino was pitted against the barrel-hunting McLaughlin in a final that saw several lead changes and some of the best tube rides of the event. McLaughlin got off to a great start with an opening wave score of 6.83 to Cozzolino’s 4.5. However, Cozzolino answered back with an 8.5 to give him the lead at the midpoint of the final.

McLaughlin’s never-say-die attitude finally paid off in the final moments of the heat with the event title on the line. Pulling into a seemingly un-makeable barrel, McLaughlin emerged claiming the first 10-point ride of the competition. Cozzolino scored a 7.5 late in the heat, but was unable to overtake McLaughlin for the title of the One Eye Kite Surf Pro.

“I’m so stoked right now I don’t even know what to say”, said the overwhelmed McLaughlin. “I got the biggest closeout barrel of my life in that final, and I am just so happy to be here.”

The men’s 3rd place final featured Luke McGillewie (RSA, RRD) against Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) in a battle that saw the momentum of the young McGillewie finally stopped by the powerful, flowing backside riding of the on-fire Brazilian.

On the women’s side, the much-anticipated battle between the local knowledge of Bichler and the hotshot riding of Jalou Langeree (NED, Naish) was a nail biter right down to the wire. In the end, Bichler’s superior wave selection proved to be the difference in a final that highlighted her relationship with the intricacies of the break at One Eye.

“I felt more pressure this year trying to defend my title, but I was able to catch some good waves and felt in tune with the ocean today. I am just so happy to win the event again here at my home spot in front of my local crew,” said Bichler.

Following the completion of the main event, the 6-heat Expression Session began in exceptional conditions. Mauricio Pedreira (BRA), Milla Ferreira (BRA), and local rider Max Bonieux (MRU) won top honors for best barrel rides in their respective categories.

Final Results of the One Eye Kite Surf Pro:
Men’s Final:
1-Patri McLaughlin (HI, North) 17.67
2-Airton Cozzolino (ITA, North) 16.00

Men’s 3rd Place Final:
3-Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) 13.67
4-Luke McGillewie (RSA,RRD) 10.57

Women’s Final:
1-Ninja Bichler (GER, North) 17.00
2-Jalou Langeree (NED, Naish) 11.53

Women’s 3rd Place Final:
3-Kirsty Jones (GBR, North) 12.24
4-Ines Correia (POR, RRD) 12.23

Highlights from the KSP One Eye Pro are available via http://www.kspworldtour.com .

The pictures of the day can be found HERE!

The KSP would like to thank the sponsors of the One Eye Kite Surf Pro; MTPA, St. Regis Hotel, Monster and North Kiteboarding as well as event partners Emtel, Ion, Adamas, Club Mistral, Le Gall, Enso, Afix, GoPro, Multibox, Habit, Silent Partners, Hydro Energy, Fun Adventure, St Aubin and media partners Radio One, L’ Express and Equipe.

Tune in to watch all heats on demand at www.kspworldtour.com/live brought to you by Emtel.

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM

rider Name :Airton Cozzolino Lopes

nick name  :Ai

Country origin : Cabo Verde (sal) Italy (Sardegna) mn Kiteboard 

kitesurf favorite destination :Cabo verde (sal) Italy (sardegna)

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes ika

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes ika

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes kitesurf wave strapless photo action

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes kitesurf wave strapless photo action

Favorite wave spot:Ponta Preta (sal) Sardegna (Capo manna)

Future Goals in the kiteboarding world : keep the world title

Other  interests : Surf, stand up paddle, Skate Wind Surf

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes kitesurf wave strapless photo action close up

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes kitesurf wave strapless photo action close up

Mac or Pc : Mac

Music :House, R&B

Favorite trick :Aerials and rotation

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes kitesurf wave strapless photo action north ion

Rider profile KITEBOARD.COM Airton Cozzolino Lopes kitesurf wave strapless photo action north ion

Website : https://www.tribalsurf.it


http://vimeo.com/ AirtonCozzilono

Sponsors: North, Triba Surf, Atos, Ion, fanatic ,Red Bull

Airton Cozzolino is just 18-years-old but he is already the Kitesurf Wave World Champion 2012. He was born in Cape Verde, and it was there that he first gained passion for kitesurfing. Thanks to his Italian father he discovered the world of kitesurfing, and was able to focus all his energy on the sport, which lead to great results.
Airton Cozzolino nasce 18 anni fa a Sal (Capo Verde), una piccola isola situata nel mezzo dell’Oceano Atlantico. Si avvicina sin da bambino al mondo delle onde diventando il Campione del Mondo di Kitesurf Wave nel 2011! Il padre gli ha trasmesso la passione per questo sport verso il quale il giovane ha dedicato tutte le sue energie e ottenuto risultati grandiosi.


North VEGAS 2013 product clip

Get an insight view into the development and check out the new features of North Kiteboarding ultimate Freestyle/Wakestyle-Machine.

Tom Court, Tom Hebert, Mario Rodwald and Thomas Paris have been the chosen ones to test this amazing kite


North VEGAS 2013 product clip

North VEGAS 2013 product clip

Hood River Oregon USA B Roll



Footage I couldn’t see go to waste! Sam Light, Brandon Scheid, Tom Court and Eric Reinstra filming each other during the summer of 2012 in Hood River, OR.
Edit: Sam Light  kiteboarding video north naish liquidforce
Music: Souls of Mischief – 93 till infinity

Kiteworld magazine Coming up issue #59 September surf wake free ride race

Coming up in issue #59 we test a handful of the earliest releases for 2013, including the Airush Lithium, North Rebel, Best Kahoona and Woodboard’s 136 model.

Kiteworld magazine Coming up issue #59 September

Kiteworld magazine Coming up issue #59 September

We take a trip to Los Barrilles and discover a kiting mecca in Mexico. Elsewhere we meet a kiter with one arm and one leg who regularly rips in Israel, we meet the man with the coldest job in kiting and we take a look at the peak of high performance surfing with a kite, featuring expert commentary from the discipline’s best riders, photographer Jason Wolcott and we assess just how much we’ve caught up with the latest rippers in the world of surfing.

Issue #59 will be out in September when lots of you will be thinking about new surfboards, so we also have our almost annual surfboard guide and lots of indispensable technique tips.

Plus all your favourite regulars, including the second column from Aaron Hadlow and more boosting tips in Warning: Oxygen Mask May Be Required



A month in Mauritius leaves some traces … 24 days of wind, 3 swells, thousands of waves, 500 gigabytes of rush … and head full of memories.




Kitesurfing with whales, perfect waves, 25 knots, waterfalls dripping from every mountain, friendly people, meetings, sunsets, nights under the stars… ..



Now i have to edit this 5th episode “Make my day” kitesurfing in Mauritius and it will be online by the end of September. In the meantime you can still win a surfboard whip from North kiteboarding, some Julbo sunglasses and a mood ring commenting on Make my day number 4 episodes filmed in Brittany

And now.

After a good overnight flight back from Mauritius, I’m having a stop over of few hours in France, then departure for Japan, i’m so excited to go, it’s my Fourth time and i love this country. I will kite and shoot probably the episode 6 Make My day.





North Kiteboarding Freestyle-Team headed to the beautiful Island of Sri Lanka

Already in spring 2012, the North Kiteboarding Freestyle-Team headed to the beautiful kiteboarding destination Island of Sri Lanka, located south-east of India for the annual Vegas Shoot! Along with Tom Hebert, Thomas Paris, Mario Rodwald and Tom Court came the brand new Vegas, the all new Trust Bar and of course the Twintip range! Sri Lanka is a dedicated place to kite, endless lagoons up in the North deliver kilometers of flat water and nice, steady winds. After 10 days of riding and blessed with every day wind, we decided to discover the country, where our kites are made! We hope you’ll enjoy this new Episode


PRODUCT  NORTH KITE BAR (19M, 22M, 24M, 27M, 32M)






The North Trust Bar is legendary in the kitesurfing industry and amongst the riders; we have developed it, tweaked it and refined it for many years. The Trust bar 2013 once again stands for unmatched safety and reliability. As with all things at North Kiteboarding, if we do something new, we do it right, this year the bar has been completely reworked, updated and redesigned! The new bar for 2013 is the culmination of years of development, testing and competition winning success.



It provides the rider with a unique control system that has safety rooted at its core.
Comfort, control and easy handling back up this ethos and combine to offer the rider the best control system on the market. Naturally the new Trust bar conforms to the regulations of the French Safety Laws and surpasses all of our own requirements in terms of ease of release. Take a closer look at this masterpiece yourselves!




The length of your flying lines can make a huge difference to the way your kite flies. Different styles of riding also require different line lengths, and lastly different kites and different kite sizes are designed to be flown with different line lengths. Riders often overlook these facts; they get new kites but don’t bother to match the kite and their riding style to the correct lines.

19m (70% Handling / 30% Power)
Super fast and reactive tuning speeds, shorter lines are best for extreme freestyle and crazy kiteloops. They are also excellent for wave riding, where kite turning speed is important. Wakestyle riders like the close connection to the kite too. The disadvantage is you lose some of the low end power.
- Fast and reactive turning
- For extreme Freestyle, Wakestyle and Waves
- Tight, super fast and hard kite loops

24m (50% Handling / 50% Power)
The best choice for an all round length, good turning speed combined with good power make 24m the perfect choice for a lot of riders. Great for freeride, waves and freestyle.
- The most versatile length
- Great for all round freeriding
- Good low end and a good turning speed
- High jumps as you can “load” the lines
- The recommended size for a one bar quiver!!

32m (25% Handling / 75% Power )
The choice of the North Kiteboarding Race Team, longer lines mean even more power, but the kite turns at a slower rate. This suits racers looking for the ultimate in pull in the often gusty and light conditions they are faced with.
- Perfect for light winds!
- Extra power
- North Kiteboarding Race Team approved

The bar is your first point of contact with the kite, Iit is the connection between you and your kite and it is important to get it right. And it’s actually an easy formula: The shorter the lines, the more direct and faster the kite turns. The longer the lines, the more power you can generate out of them! Choose a North Trust Bar, and choose the right line set up for your style of riding.

22m (60% Handling / 40% Power)
This is the favorite length of our freestyle and wave team! These 22m lines are still great for getting lots of speed from the kite, perfect for wave riding and freestyle. Not as extreme as the 19m lines, they still lose a bot of low end power.
- Reactive turning
- Fast kite loops
- Favorite set up from our freestyle riders
- Best choice for waveriding

27m (40% Handling / 60% Power)
The extra length means extra power, get a little more range out of your quiver by adding this bar with the longer lines. They are also great for jumping as you can really “load” the lines when you edge and send the kite back through the window.
- Enormous low end
- Huge jumps
- Lots of lift





We have completely redesigned the winding posts for the bar and they are loaded with new features! We have utilized a fully moulded fibreglass reinforced Polyamide construction, which offers an incredibly lightweight solution with increased stiffness. We have also integrated a new backline adjustment, which allows the rider to trim the rear lines as and when it is needed to do so. In addition to this there is moulded EVA cushioning to ensure maximum comfort for the rider.

The all-new moulded EVA floater is fully integrated into the winding posts to offer a seamless connection, which gives better protection to the lines and the rider. We have a totally new Flip-Flop function which allows you to switch between a  46cm and 54 cm bar with just one click, making the riders choice of bar far simpler to set up. The integration of the EVA floater also avoids line tangling and gives better overall stiffness between the bar and lines.



Plastic, fitted centre hole
Our new exchangeable insert for the centre hole is made of plastic, to reduce wear on the depower line. The material we use is resistant to abrasion, but should cause much less damage, if sand is present, to the line itself.



New Vario Cleat and sliding stopper
We have completely redesigned the Vario Cleat for 2013 to make it even more effective and efficient. We have introduced a 5th line channel for the 5th line to run through, this reduces the risk of the 5th line getting tangled considerably. You can easily adjust the height of the Vario Cleat too, plus we have reduced it’s size to increase the depower area. The sliding stopper can be adjusted to suit personal preferences, it is also smaller than in previous years. Combined with the smaller Vario Cleat this accounts for 12% more depower area!




The Iron Heart from North Kiteboarding has long been the benchmark for all safety systems, 2013 sees more development to further improve this essential piece of safety equipment. It is renowned for fast, safe and easy release, coupled with the ability to quickly reassemble the unit and continue flying. For 2013 we analysed all the features of the Iron Heart and addressed a few areas where we felt we could improve it. The Roto Head, Chicken Loop and Chicken Dick have all been redesigned in order to improve safety and performance. The light, robust, stainless steel and strong plastic construction of the main body remains the same, as it is the most reliable on the market.

The heart of the Iron Heart IV is the reverse release pin and one of the keys of the intelligent release mechanism. Unlike other safety systems, it hinges to the inside to protect your hands. The incredibly low release forces are a direct result of the reverse release pin.
With every 2013 North Kiteboarding Bar, there is a choice between the standard safety mode and an easy to mount ‘SUICIDE’ MODE. Only very experienced riders with special needs should use the suicide mode.
ATTENTION: Only the standard safety mode offers 100% safety. We recommend to always use the standard safety mode. Riders who use the suicide mode should be aware and responsible for of the possible resulting consequences!


The Chicken loop has been totally reworked for 2013, we have used a new moulded construction, which is stiffer and increases the overall durability. This new construction is warp resistant and dimensionally stable. This makes it very easy to hook back in after unhooked tricks, as the loop can never get out of shape.


We have a new moulded chicken dick with a thicker end, which helps the rider avoid accidental unhooking. The new construction used is also stronger and more durable.

The entire system is easy to reassemble following a release.

For 2013 we have redesigned the EVA Bar Grip to offer even more comfort to the rider. Using a new formula for the EVA we have also increased the “stickiness” of the bar grip to ensure your hands should never slip during radical manoeuvres such as unhooked kite loops.



The all-new Roto Head utilises a plastic construction, which is totally new for 2013, the plastic is extremely durable and offers many benefits. There will no longer be any corrosion between the old aluminium head and the stainless stell pin. We have also used swapped the old pin system for two grub screws to change the depower line, no need to hammer the old stainless steel pin out, simply use an FCS Fin Key to remove the screws and change the depower line.




5th Element Bar
The North patented 5th line system has provided the greatest combination of safety and performance for many years now. 2013 is no different and we are sticking behind the 5th line concept which we feel offers the ultimate in safety and 100% depower no matter what the conditions. It isn’t just the safety aspect either, our loaded 5th line kite designs offer a very short depower stroke, giving the rider ultimate control in gusty conditions. Plus the 5th line makes water relaunch really easy too, the benefits of this set up are clear to see and are appreciated by riders all over the world.




The quality of the lines is often overlooked, but not here at North Kiteboarding! We understand and believe the lines are just as important as every other component in your kiteboarding set up. It was no mistake that already years ago we decided to team up with the company Teufelberger, the world’s leading line and rope manufacturer.

Teufelberger understands the needs of demanding product managers, professional riders and of course our end users. They know that high quality kite lines can make a difference to the way the kite feels and reacts in the air. For years they have been perfecting their standards to ensure the highest durability, lowest wear rates and lowest stretch. The latest generation lines have improved even further over last years, the current range offering 15% less stretch. On top of this the abrasion resistance has been improved and is up to 3 times better than before and the lines have much longer life spans, meaning season after season they will still be performing at the highest level.

The GII main advantages:
- Up to 3 times higher abrasion resistance
- Up to 15% Reduced Stretch Value high performance even after years of use

Teufelberger have a rigorous testing program that sees every element of their lines and ropes being tested to destruction. Not only that but they test them against all the other leading lines and ropes available on the market to ensure theirs are the strongest, toughest and most high performance lines on the market. It is for this very reason North Kiteboarding chooses Teufelberger; we trust them and so can you, trust in your lines and concentrate on your riding!


(1) At maximum Breaking Strength
(2) Load range in normal / average use
(3) All data and specifications based on used lines

Jaime Herraiz kiteworld mag interview feature taken from issue 40

Jaime Herraiz is one of the good guys in kiteboarding. When you meet him, that big, warm smile hits you like a slap across your soul. 

Jaime Herraiz north kiteboarding tarifa action wave kiteworld mag

Jaime Herraiz north kiteboarding tarifa action wave kiteworld mag

He grew up in Valencia and got heavily into windsurfing when he was eight. Having already been to Tarifa when he was 12 and 16, he knew it held the healthy, outdoor lifestyle that he craved and, when the underground trend of techno-music and drugs really surfaced and became super-hip in the bars and clubs of Valencia, he packed his bags and moved.

It took a few years until kiteboarding came onto his radar, but when it did, windsurfing’s loss was kiteboarding’s gain as his infectious enthusiasm for the sport saw him join the radical group of dynamic and exciting individuals that took the sport by the horns and give kiteboarding its early, dramatic twists of identity at the start of this decade. 

His dedication, vision and professionalism have seen him progress with North Kiteboarding, from pro rider to team manager, young blood team mentor, gear developer and tester and he’s recently opened ‘Wet’ in Tarifa, a flagship North store that’s also the hub of North’s Spanish distribution network.

If there’s anyone in kiteboarding that can say, ‘been there, done that’ and still be holding a lot of cards in the game, it’s Jaime. He is the genuine article and we’re lucky to have him onboard
Jaime Herraiz north kitesurfing tarifa action wave kiteworld mag

Jaime Herraiz north kitesurfing tarifa action wave kiteworld mag

North Kiteboarding

When did you first come across kitesurfing?

When I first moved to Tarifa I became a professional windsurfer and was doing testing and R&D work for Fanatic and A.R.T. We’d go to Maui for photoshoots and testing each year and it was there in 1996 that I first saw Laird Hamilton and Rush Randle going out, but they made it look pretty clumsy and not very exciting at all. A year later in 1997, it was the same sort of thing, but there were a few more of them out, still not going upwind. 1998 was different: guys were going upwind and even jumping. I was there for another month but had really light winds. One another day of struggling to go upwind at the point at Ho’okipa, I saw Robby Naish come blistering past me and jumped off a wave. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m done! I surrender!’

Where did you get your equipment from? It was pretty hard to come by back then wasn’t it?

It’s a funny story: I went to the Hawaii Pro Line shop and Mauricio Abreu was the clerk. He was being such a prick though! Ha ha. He was saying, “I’m not sure you want to be getting into this sport. It’s super dangerous, blah, blah, blah.” He made such a big fuss out of it. Back then the Wipika five metre inflatable was the only kite to have and there were no brand new ones. The only ones I could get were these second hand ones off Rush Randle. I talked to him on the beach, he sold me one and then I went to see Mauricio for a bar. I remember he charged me $110 for a quick-release system that never worked. It was super-fancy with all this carbon, but didn’t work. He told me there were three kinds of bar: “The beginner bar is 110cm long, then there’s the advanced bar, which is one metre and then there’s the pro bar, that people like me use. That’s 90cm.” I was like, okay, I’ll go for the advanced bar as I’m sure he wouldn’t have let me have the pro bar!

Boutique board shopping

And what about lessons?

Mauricio Toscano, now chairman of the PKRA, gave me my first crash lesson. I was good friends with him from windsurfing. We were down at Camp One, between Kite Beach and Sprecks, surrounded by all these trees, rocks and gusty winds. He passed me the kite and said, “Put it on your right hand side and let it drag you out. Once you’re out, just kind of whip the kite… whip the kite. You’ll feel it and when you’re comfortable try and get onto the board. The first thing I did was run over a windsurfer. This poor guy was trying to uphaul and, you know how it is, I was just looking at him thinking I don’t want to go there, but sure enough headed straight for him.

Jaime Herraiz north kiteboarding tarifa action wave north kitesurf board kiteworld mag

Jaime Herraiz north kiteboarding tarifa action wave north kitesurf board kiteworld mag

When did you realise it could be a viable career?

I didn’t really take it seriously to begin with. I was still earning my beans testing fins for intermediate freeride windsurfing boards, but it had become a struggle. I kept on with it for a while, but kitesurfing was so new, it was a wide-open universe with three dimensional moves. I got so into it I quit my windsurfing job and took a rep role for a clothing company. If nothing else, it gave me enough time to kite back home in Tarifa. That was 1999.

Were there many kiters in Tarifa back then?

No, just me, my brother in-law, Eduardo, and another English fellow, called Lee. Some windsurfers took it up soon after, like Stephane Etienne, but soon dropped off and are now full-on kite haters. It’s funny to see what they’re like.

You joined North soon after that. Can you describe the atmosphere and what it was like to be part of such a fresh scene back then as a pro rider?

We were pretty reckless at times, but it felt like we were building something. It was about a focus; not individual focus, but a general focus. We created the Professional Kite Riders Association (PKRA) and were bound together, hand-in-hand, with our president, Mauricio Toscano. We were fully involved in every single decision that was taken and, at least speaking for the people I was closest to, like Shinny, Martin Vari, Jeff Tobias and Will James, we felt like ambassadors of our sport and our brands, before actual riders. I think that’s gone the other way now. I don’t see riders acting like ambassadors for their brands, or like they have to defend their sport at all.

But surely that’s because back then there was a huge void that needed filling?
We had a huge complex; it was all about ‘legitimising’ the sport. That was the word that was used most often. The surfers were calling us clowns, the windsurfers hated us and the wakeboarders thought we were just lame people on strings. Martin Vari was world champion, but no one could feel proud of being the world champion of kiteboarding at that time. It was a huge struggle to overcome the perceptions that people had of kiteboarding, created by the long pants, seat harness and tweaked moves of Flash Austin etc. We had to come around it and join forces with the ‘Kite Beach Maui USA’ crew, with their two lines and bindings. But there was one thing that was mandatory through it all: you had to attend the beers after a contest. It was more awkward to not be at the bar than to miss your heat. If you weren’t in your heat it would be strange, but if you weren’t at the bar afterwards, it would be scandalous!

That’s where all good things move forward!

Exactly, and where we had all these great ideas before forgetting them in the morning. Now it all seems super-serious.

Yourself, Martin, Jeff and Will became known as the Space Monkeys because of two of the sport’s most definitive DVDs. What was it you all shared and saw in each other?

As I said, we were trying to legitimise the sport, but also share a vibe with everyone. Just to show how four friends, with different backgrounds – from Argentina, Spain and the USA – who were sponsored by three different kite companies, came together and just had fun. We just wanted to be ourselves and let people know that you didn’t have to be the cool guy from the beach… that there was more to it. Will and I, in particular, really thought the fun element was missing from the sport. We thought people needed some guys with some humanity that they could look to and potentially try some of the tricks they were doing. Some guys used the DVDs to learn tricks from and nailed them in two or three weeks. It wasn’t too advanced, it was just about fun.

Jaime Herraiz north kiteboarding tarifa kiteboard kitesurf shop kiteworld mag

Jaime Herraiz north kiteboarding tarifa kiteboard kitesurf shop kiteworld mag


They are both really watch-able DVDs and edited really smartly by Chris Tronolone. Was he like the catalyst for it all or just the linchpin that pulled it together?

In the beginning I guess he saw it as a business when Will and I contacted him. He’s this big American-Hawaiian guy and probably saw us as some stupid Euros with some money, so thought he could make some money out of us. But as we came together he got to know all of us better and completely understood what we were about. Chris is really good at squeezing the characters out of people. He gets to know you really quick; your bright sides and your dark sides, and can show it to people in just very short frames. He completely summarised all our characters in three minutes. My friends said they could see me entirely in those films. He’s really good.

Both videos were timed so well. Space Monkeys 2 was the barrel quest before anyone knew it was really possible, but Space Monkeys 1 was probably had the most pivotal effect. Can you explain what happened at the first event of the season in Austria in 2002?

That was the funniest story of my life and, honestly, it wasn’t meant to be that way. We’d worked on the video, travelled and were just pushing each other, going, ‘I can do this’, ‘I can do that’ and, of course, Martin could do three times more than any of us! So we just pushed and pushed and the video was edited just before the start of the season. We first showed it in Leucate at the Mondial du Vent event, but not a lot of people paid any attention to it. Then we had a premiere on the night before the first day of the PKRA season. I was sitting at the back and I remember watching Adam Koch’s and Mark Shinn’s faces and everyone in the room was shaking their heads, going, ‘We’re fucked.’ Sure enough it was the easiest contest I’ve done in my life. Martin was first, Will got second (although he couldn’t actually handle-pass, but he just really made it look like he was) and I got third!

You competed for so many years and had some hotly contested battles, yet I think Cabarete 2004 was the first event you won wasn’t it?

I was like 30 and after all those years I finally made it. I think that was the peak of my career, because I felt comfortable. I’d just spent two weeks on holiday in Brazil with my family, I was happy, I’d just signed a contract with North and I felt really calm. Martin had always said, “Man, I don’t know why you don’t win – you’re better than that!” I was inventing moves, like the front mobe, and people were beating me with them! Aaron and Martin were freaks, but Martin would kill me because I’d ride with him a lot. He’d watch me and go, “Fuck, that was sick!” Then, boom, he’d have it nailed. I’d have just spent a week figuring it out!

He said that he’d talked to some good friends in the sport who convinced him to come back with Vari kites. Did he talk to you?

Yes. The way I see it, kiteboarding wouldn’t be what it is today without the guys like Martin. I don’t know anyone more driven than him and he’s got a lot of things to say. He was world champion, took some time out and then came back and won the Chile wave contest so long after. He’s got his confidence back and really has to get on his toes and step it up; he doesn’t know how to be mediocre.

Tail grab on the long running Jaime pro model twin-tip

I remember doing a feature with you in Hawaii in 2004 and for an afternoon you, Martin, and Will would go out, one at a time, and try to pull into deeper waves than the other guy. Then you’d come in and hand the kite onto the next rider for the rest to watch. That hunger has never really dried up has it?

No. We thought that was big back in the day, but it as small! Now we’re just getting to the point where we can feel comfortable in bigger waves.

Is that where you have the most fun riding now?

I wouldn’t like to think so. I got into kitesurfing because it seemed like an endless choice of potential fields to explore. I still really enjoy freestyle and, even some old school, but for sure, I do like riding waves.

Presumably the huge diversity in the water conditions, wind strength and directions here in Tarifa is why you like it so much?

I lived in Hawaii for four years and felt like a slave to the conditions. I was never happy and couldn’t have a real life. I was either on the water or just pissed about not being on the water. Every time I sat down to work on the computer I knew I could be missing out. It was even stressful going to the shops, or the movies. The conditions over there can so often be a nine or a ten on the scale, so you always feel like you’re missing out. In Tarifa, it’s not that good very often, but it’s so regular and I don’t feel like a slave any more. I’ve got more of a balance between work and play.

Your roles within the sport and North have changed so much over the years. Can you summarise your involvement now? 

I’m 35 now and just being a team rider and doing kit testing was growing old on me. When I first joined Boards and More (the company that owns North) at 24, the company didn’t even have a name for the kite brand. So that was the first thing to figure out. I said I didn’t really want to be a team rider because I was done with that side of my life. I really wanted to be more involved in R&D as well as distribution and marketing. I got convinced it was a good idea that I became a team rider again and have had the chance to do everything, from travelling, doing demo tours, figuring out equipment, dealing with companies and distributors. Last year I was team manager and still doing demo tours and still having to ride and do photo shoots even though I didn’t feel like a team rider any more. It’s the story of my life. I really wanted to be done and move onto the next step. This building came along and I thought about doing a flagship North store, but before I knew it, Till Eberle from North was out here suggesting we do the whole thing; a flagship store and the Spanish distribution from downstairs. I’d been in the industry long enough to know that I didn’t want to be a distributor. I’ve always been very critical of them, feeling like they’ve never done enough. But then I thought that maybe it’s time to act; to make a difference.

How are you doing that?

We’re making it cleaner and working really fairly with our dealers. We use this huge shop as a tool for distribution and have all these aids to service our dealers. We even have an outlet store in town for their second hand gear. We’ve grown so much in twelve months because I think the dealers are so impressed with the help that comes from our side. We’re not just here to buy, sell and collect money. We have a really active support network and take stock from one shop to another and, if they have old stock, we re-buy it from them. It’s a bad time to start a business, but a really good time to be helpful if you have the right tools to do so. It’s a good challenge and I hope that if we’re doing well it will help our competitors push forward and step up their game.

There aren’t many people with your unique overall perspective on things. What do you know about kiteboarding?
It’s a difficult time but it’s at a point where we could go one way and things will be really good, or we could go the other. I see it at a point where everyone is struggling, everyone’s cutting down and I blame a lot of brands for not spending so much on R&D any more, not pushing their marketing side too much and playing it too small mindedly. When cheap kites entered the market it ruined it for everyone, not only the other manufacturers. Kites and boards are not expensive or cheap – they are just worth what people will pay for them. Everyone was willing to pay more for kites than they are now. Prices have gone up 20% for us and companies have had to get more professional, we need more resources but we need more margin. At the end of the day, everything shows in the market and some of the equipment that gets released is under-developed. Marketing-wise, we could have more heroes. Aaron should be paid five times more than he’s paid and, Gisela, three times more. There are so many team riders pushing the sport and they haven’t been used by their companies. It’s not that companies are not professional, they just don’t have any more money. It’s like a death spiral. Companies don’t spend that much on their team riders and the team riders don’t value their companies that much.

And there don’t seem to be many shop riders on the beaches any more…

There are no opinion leaders helping people. That’s what I think is missing the most and is exactly the way I want our company to go. Since dealing directly with customers in the shop, I’ve realised you don’t have to sell things cheap. This stuff isn’t food – you don’t need to buy a kite, you don’t need to be a kiter; it’s not like having to survive – it’s just a pleasure. It’s a fun toy and a way to get away from everything, but you should enjoy it and make sure that the equipment you have is the latest and premium. It’s about the feeling inside, not what you pay for it. If anyone wants to step down our levels of marketing or R&D at North, then they are always going to have to fight against me. We need to be up top. We need to be proud of being kiters. So I ask small companies entering the market to either be up top or nothing, because selling kites for half price is just fucking up the market long-term. Once someone has paid €600 for a kite, they’re never going to pay €1200 next year.

Still pushing hard PHOTO – Ludovic Franco

But that’s the world that we live in.

It is, but it’s a real pity because these things really affect small markets like this. But still, most people involved in this industry operate with a passion, which is completely different to most industries I’ve been exposed to. There really is no money in it for the amount of work that we all do, so there has to be passion and that still really appeals to me.

So, after a decade of kiteboarding, do you have any special memories that really stand out?

The biggest memories are probably from those early PKRA meetings where we were all together and you could just feel the vibe. There were 60 guys that were like 60 warriors of the sport. It was like the movie ’300′ – there we were in Austria, standing strong against anything that got in our way. I would also have to say the prize ceremony in Cabarete, not because of the contest itself, but because everyone was so happy for me. Everyone was like, ‘Finally!’ All the weight in my shoulders had gone and I remember people hugging me and I was just hugging everyone, even big guys with beards! It was happiness and I knew everything was going to be fine from then on.

Read more features from the Rhythm and Health series:

Part One: Tarifa intro

 Part Two: Alvaro Onieva

 Part Three: Gisela Pulido

Read issue #40 for free online now here

North VEGAS 2013 product clip Sri Lanka

Get an insight view into the development and check out the new features of North Kiteboarding ultimate Freestyle/Wakestyle-Machine.

Tom Court, Tom Hebert, Mario Rodwald and Thomas Paris have been the chosen ones to test this amazing kite