I love kiteboarding, surfing and any sport that has water involved. The kiteboarding virus hit me when I was 11 years old and I thought it would only last a couple of years. But now I know it will never go away. It gives me such a great feeling of freedom and I’m really lucky that I can travel the world doing what I love to do.
I became freestyle world champion in 2009 and won the King of the Air in 2014. Competing is really in my blood and I love it but I’m also in the quest for the perfect wave, wind and place to ride that make me have the biggest smile on my face.
When and how did you start kiteboarding? When I was 7 I started flying kites on the beach. At age 9 I started surfing and when I saw that the two of my favorite sports where getting combined, I was hooked from day one. I was 11 when I kitesurfed for the first time.
When did you decide to become a pro? In 2001 O’Neill organized a kiteboard world cup here in Holland. And that was the first time I had the chance to meet all the pros and see them ride. From that point onwards I knew I wanted to become a pro too and travel the world to compete against world’s best.
How did you become a part of O’Neill? During the kiteboard world cup in 2001 I did a demo with one of the pros Max Bo. After that session O’Neill had spotted me and I’ve been with O’Neill ever since.
What makes you unreasonable? I love finding new places to kite. Whether it is riding big waves, the strongest winds or my latest mission Urban Kiteboarding in Amsterdam. I just love it and can’t get enough. And thinking this is only the beginning puts a huge smile on my face.
What has been a highlight in your career? Becoming world champion in freestyle in 2009 was like a dream come true. And winning the King of the Air in 2014 with all my friends and family on the beach is something I will never ever forget either.
What are your plans for the future? First of all, I want to keep enjoying what I’m doing now. I want to make the biggest jump ever on a kite and ride the biggest wave ever ridden on a kiteboard. I want to ride the biggest storm and ride in the craziest places the globe has to offer. There are just so many cool things to do. There is almost not enough time… hahah
Name 10 things you never travel without? Passport, IPhone, credit card, kites, board, Bose noise canceling head phones, speakers, Leatherman, screwdriver and duct tape (that stuff rocks!).
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Wind, waves, sunshine, happy people, a sweet breakfast and a coffee!
If we visited you at breakfast, what would you be eating? A lot! hahah sometimes at night when I try to fall asleep I’m already thinking about my breakfast. I love eating yoghurt with lots of fruit, nuts and muesli.
If you weren’t kiteboarding, what would you do? That’s a very good question. I’m not really the person to sit still for very long. I would probably do another sport.
Any other sports you’re good at? I love stand up paddling, it keeps me fit and it’s fun. Surf a bunch too. Mountain bike when there is no wind or waves and I like to paraglide when the conditions are good for it.
What music are you listening to? Reggae all the way. I know some people hate me about it especially during a road trip. But can’t help it it always puts a smile on my face.
What has been the scariest moment in your sport career? When I tore my ACL during the world tour when I was leading the tour. I couldn’t believe how handicapped I was. It still scares me sometimes when I think about it. Especially the thought that I can be on the water.
What was your most embarrassing moment in your career/life? Had my little man hanging out of my shorts by accident during a contest… That was pretty embarrassing.
How does your training routine look like? It all depends on the conditions. I always try to train where the conditions are best for that day.
Describe your perfect day? Wake up, surf, have breakfast, wait for the wind to pick up, have a wave session on a kite and when the wind really picks up have a big air session. And fall asleep in the biggest and softest bed in the world.