Interview : Kevin Langeree
iKiteboarding.com interviews 18 year old Kevin Langeree who is currently holding a No. 2 place in overall ranking on the PKRA tour.
His 2006 rankings are as follows :
PKRA Venezuela 3rd
PKRA Belgium 2nd
PKRA Portugal 2nd
PKRA Cabarete 1st
Tell us a bit about your kiteboarding history. When and how did you start?
I started kiteboarding when I was 11 years old. I always used to power kite on the beach and was a regular surfer. Then I saw the combination between kiting on the beach and surfing and I got hooked. I started with a good friend of mine - I used his gear and by the summer of 2000 I got a kite and a board from my parents for my 12th birthday. I had to pay half but I never had spite from that.
More recently you have been climbing the ranks on the PKRA tour. What has your strategy been so far in order to achieve this?
Training in South Africa helped me a lot. The wind there is strong and gusty, it blows every day and you have to ride with a wetsuit, so the conditions there are very challenging. But if you can do all your tricks there you can do it anywhere in the world. I also want to be on top of my game and so that helps.
What companies currently sponsor you and how do they help you to achieve your goals?
Naish sponsors me with the best kiteboarding gear. Having good gear is essential to get to the top The kites and boards are perfect for what I’m doing.
The boards have a lot of flex that helps you to do power tricks. The kites are good for everything – freestyle, wave riding, jumping, big air or just cursing around. O’Neill provides me with clothing and the most flexible wetsuits in the world and Bloc eyewear supports me with sunglasses. All of them make sure that I can travel around the world.
Tell us about your training season in South Africa. You have been coming here for a while, and Aaron comes here every year and more recently Ruben Lenten has started training in SA too. What is SA like and how do our conditions help your training?
The conditions are perfect in South Africa. During the last South African summer (European winter) I was there for 3 months and it was windy every single day - that’s unbelievable.
I have been to a lot of very good kite spots in the world but the wind is never so good as in South Africa. The waves also help a lot with training because it is very hard to land your tricks in waves. Next summer I’ll be back for sure.
Your sister, Jalou Langeree is also a very good kiteboarder. With your cousin, Lenten, also being at the top of the ranks it seems like the talent definitely runs in the family. How does having your family sharing your passion and having them with you on tour play out?
Sharing the passion is pretty cool but it is always the best to be on the top. I like it a lot to travel with my sister, we always have a lot of fun. Sometimes a little fight but that’s normal.
What are your plans for the next year?
I want to come back to SA for sure. That place is sick. And hopefully be world champion. I’m going to do my best.
What do you think about bow kites and do you prefer using them in certain conditions?
Bow kites are sick for wave riding, cruising around and jumping big. Wave riding is so good with a bow kite because you can depower it a lot and really surf the wave and that is an awesome feeling. Jumping in strong wind is sick with the bow kite too because you can depower it almost completely and just pull the bar in when you want to jump.
I saw you a few times at Big Bay going strapless on your surfboard and shredding in the waves. Aaron and Ruben are also pushing this aspect of the sport. With the 3 of you being at the top of the ranks, why don't we see the surf style aspect of the sport coming through more in the PKRA tour, and what is the general feeling towards surf style in the PKRA or is this not really a direction that is being persued?
Surf style is very new and it is gaining popularity every day. It would be nice to get more credit for surf style in competitions, but most of the PKRA locations don’t have a lot of waves.
In Brazil we had a wave riding competition during the 2nd disciline, it was super fun.
These days it obviously takes a lot more than technical skill to get a number 1 position in a PKRA competition? What are the judges looking for these days?
The judges are looking for powered tricks so they want to see you doing powered handle passes with you kite low. They also want to see you going big with huge kite loop handle passes.
Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with iKiteboarding. All the best with your achievements in the next year!
Thanks a lot! See you this year in South Africa!