Interview with the Champ: Alex Pastor

February 7, 2014
kitescoop

So unless you’ve been living under a rock.. or you just don’t care about PKRA you know Alex Pastor. Even if you don’t care for the competition scene, the current reigning King of PKRA recently released a pretty awesome edit from his time in Brazil. What we admire about Alex is how he seems to quietly go about his business. He’s not flashy, but at the same time he doesn’t have to be. His technical style of riding often speaks for itself.

Kite Scoop:

So to start out with, let’s talk a bit about your riding style. How would you define your own style? Do you have one thing about the way you ride that really defines you as a kiter?

Alex  Pastor:

At the moment I’m really focused in competition, so I had to adapt my style a bit to be really consistent, in order to land almost 100% of the time most of my tricks. It isn’t what I like to do most, but it is a little sacrifice I need to do to be on the top.I guess I could define myself as a very perfectionist person. I really like to execute the tricks the way they have to be performed, and not cheat to get the rotation done. I also really like to do long grabs in some of my tricks, but only on the ones that I have enough time to do a good grab and it looks natural.I don’t like really short grabs just so you can say you touched the board. I guess I can also define myself as a technical rider. I love to do tricks like s-mobe 7, kgb5, crow 5.

KS:
I’ve heard people mention “cheating” on rotations a lot. What exactly does this mean? What’s a proper rotation vs. one that a person cheats on?

 

AP:
Sometimes in tricks like kgb variations, for example, people can get inverted to spin a lot less instead of doing almost a full 360 and another 360 the other way. That’s the more clear example, but you can also cheat on rotations in other tricks, specially in the most technical ones, sending your kite higher and creating movement from your body instead of using the momentum you create after the pop.

 

KS:

So you were basically the first guy to whip out boots at a PKRA event and win it, and now 2 years later it seems like riders in boots has become a lot more common. Do you think riding in boots has made you a better rider? Do you think it accelerated your learning curve at all?

AP:
Yeah, when I decided to try to compete in boots never imagined that the next year everyone would switch, it was really good to see the change. I see the videos from when we were all riding straps and can’t believe we didn’t switch earlier, everything looks so much better on boots, and of course allows us to progress and do tricks with a lot more power than it was possible before.

 

KS: 
What made you decide to try boots, during a competition?

 

AP:
I really liked to ride boots way before I switched to riding them 100% of the time [during competitions], but I was afraid it could compromise my results in competition because the judging format was different and every trick you did on the 7 minutes heat would be counted, so straps would let you do more tricks.
I decided to try boots anyway because I was riding them for a couple of months before the last competition of the year in New Caledonia and didn’t want to switch to straps just to compete. When I showed up there everyone was telling me that I was crazy for competing with boots and that it wasn’t gonna work out. Ended up winning that comp, and super happy about that.
At that time I was also starting to push for another format where only the best 7 tricks would count, and after a lot of discussion managed to convince a lot of the rider and we tried that format during the next year. This year we kept on evolving the system and only the best 5 tricks you do on a heat are the ones that count.

 

KS:

So I assume you like the current format a lot more than the old format. What other changes would you make to PKRA if it were up to you?

 AP:
Haha, yeah I love the new format, it’s way more objective and easier for people to understand. There are a lot of things that could be changed, but a lot of them are impossible for now because of the little resources this sport has.At the end we have to go to the locations where we get enough support from sponsors, but if I could change anything, I would definitely raise the prize money hahaha, and yeah, and require flat water and steady wind in all the events…

KS:
Speaking of flat water. What the heck happened to that lagoon in Tarifa? I heard that a whole bunch of wooden stakes had gotten installed by the local government? Can you shine some insight into that?

 

AP:
Yeah, they put those stakes apparently to protect birds from kiters, which sounds a bit like nonsense. It’s always been forbidden to kite there but the authorities have always been ok with it, I am sure it does not disturb the birds, and there is no proof that it does, as they are around there anyways, and there are plenty other lagoons in that area.
They usually allow people to kite there except from June to September, when all the birds watchers go there to check out their migrations, so they call the police when they see kiters.
Anyways those stakes got removed a few weeks after, and it wasn’t the local government who did it.

 

KS:

Oh, awesome. I heard about the stakes coming in, but not going out.

So your home spot is Tarifa right? Tell me a bit more about Tarifa and how it compares to some of the PKRA spots you compete at.

 

AP:
Yeah Tarifa is my home spot, love to spend as much time there as I can. After traveling so much it feels really good to be at home.
In Tarifa you can find all the conditions you can imagine, can be flat water and steady wind for 11, it can be really cold sometimes and also really strong wind, big waves, onshore, offshore… So it’s a really good practicing area for me to compete on tour.

 

KS:
So I see you were recently in Brazil. Tell me a bit about that. Where did you kite? Did you have a chance to hit Cumbuco? Any cool spots you want to tell us about?

 

AP:
Yeah, Brazil is the best place for flat water and steady winds. It’s also pretty cheap to stay around there. I stayed in Cumbuco most of the time, it’s pretty sick, although it gets a bit crowded sometimes.
There are loads of really cool spots around, I started hitting one called Pecem, just behind its port, pretty sick kickers. Also there are a bunch of other lagoons on that area like Uruau, Taiba… and if you drive a bit more there are really cool spots like one I saw this year called Pernambuquinho.

 

KS:
So now you’re on top, where do you go from here? What’s your goal for next year? What do you see yourself tweaking about your own riding style this coming off season?

 

AP:
 I guess now it gets a bit harder once I’ve achieved my goal, especially after all the energy I’ve put into it, but I still don’t like to lose and even though I’ve just won the title, all I do now is thinking about next season.
I wanna win for as long as I’m competing and I know it’s not gonna be easy, the level just went up quite a lot. I know I will have to step it up on the off season if I want to win next year. I guess I will go more for a bit more technical tricks from now, at the moment my goal for the off season is to land a couple of tricks from wake that are not common in kiting yet. Let’s see how it goes.

 

KS:
Oh really, some more wake style tricks? Any specifics you’d be willing to leak? Any reason why you’re going towards more wake tricks in particular?

 

AP:

Haha, I think it will give me bad luck if I say the name, don’t wanna claim anything until I land it.

Definitely wake tricks is the way to go in Kiteboarding at the moment, they are still a bit ahead of us, would be amazing to be catching up.

 

KS:
Alright let’s talk gear a little. I know you’re sponsored by Airush, Ion and MINI, but tell me about a piece of kit from a non sponsor that’s really impressed you.

 

AP:
I do love my gear from Airush, and that is the reason why I’ve chosen to ride them. They let me give 100% input on the Razor and Livewire’s, and I couldn’t be more stoked with them, honestly.
Something that I like and I’m not sponsored by are Ronix One, they are amazingly comfortable and I even have to buy them, they are definitely the best boots. The only thing is that they are not designed for kiting and they do break very easily.
Photos provided by  Rick Pryce of Adrenaline Boardsports and Leo Chen

  1. Matt Cooper says:

    Yea ! Alex is the man! Stoked to see what next season brings you and congratulations on your success.

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