December 5th, 2011
With all the buzz about Alex winning a couple competitions in boots, I figured i'd try to interview him and see what he had to say about it. I'd never spoken to Alex before, but from what I can tell he is a very cool, very polite and well grounded individual with a lot of talent and ambition. I expect we'll be seeing a lot more from him in the near future. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our annoying questions.
Photo by Toby Bromwich
Hi Alex, thanks for giving us a chance to interview you. How bout you start by telling us a bit about yourself…where you’re from, how old you are, that sort of stuff.
Hey Adam, thanks for interviewing me. I’m glad to be featured on the Scoop.
Here it’s a bit of my story. I was born in Malaga, a city on the south of Spain. I started windsurfing when I was 8 years old as I lived pretty close to Tarifa, the windiest city in Europe. When I was 13, kiteboarding was already well known in Tarifa, and it looked a lot more appealing to me than windsurf, especially because there’re no big waves in Tarifa, so I had to change. I’ve been kiting 9 years already. I just turned 22 last month.
So you started out windsurfing like much of the kiteboarding world. With that sort of background and growing up near Tarifa I guess it was inevitable that you ended up behind a kite. Was it an easy transition for you?
Yeah kiteboarding looked pretty amazing to me when I started. It was my dream to just start. The way I started was pretty funny. My brother and I really wanted to kiteboard because the sport looked insane and I was also going to school with a kiteboarding icon back then and still, Mr. Alvaro Onieva. The problem was that we had no money to buy all the gear, until one day I was winsurfing on a really windy day and found a kiteboard floating like 500m away from the shore. With the help of my brother we took it to the beach. As nobody was looking for it, we took it home. My brother and I were really stoked that day, so we decided to sell some of our windsurf equipment and buy a 2nd hand kite. After that kiteboarding was like a drug to me, so we convinced my parents to move the next year so my brother and I could study in Tarifa. It was hard for them to allow me as I was only 15. It was also a bit hard for me to leave my school, friends and all that but it was the best decission I’ve ever made.
Pretty bold move but I guess it worked out :) Where is your favorite place to kite outside of Spain and why?
I really like any place with flat water and steady wind. I guess one of my favourite spots outside home is Cumbuco, Brazil. I really like the atmosphere there, most people have good level of riding and there are always a lot of friends, it doesn’t get much better than that. I really like the spot I’m right now as well, New Caledonia.
Perth, Australia is also one of the best places I’ve been, specially Woodies and Safety Bay.
Photo by Toby Bromwich
If you had to watch 3 kiteboarders ride for an entire day, who would you pick and why?
Aaron Hadlow because he is crazy talented and everything he does is just taken to perfection.
Sam Light because he rides really well too and every time I ride with him we both learn new tricks and have a lot of fun.
Youri Zoon because he is really talented as well and he goes to his tricks with more speed than anyone.
Who’s your favorite person to kite with back home? Are any of your close friends into kiting?
Yeh I have a lot of friends that kite and it’s always so much fun riding with them. Some of them are pretty good like Dani Alvarez, and also love to kite with Alvaro Onieva and Silvester Ruckdaeschel who sometimmes are around Tarifa as well. It’s also one of the best things to hang out on my appartment afterwards having some beers and playing FIFA, or watching a football match from R. Madrid.
You’ve been competing for a few years now and getting better results along the way. How would you say your riding has changed, if at all?
Yeh I’m pretty happy that I’m just getting better and bette results so far. I guess I’ve been progressing quite a lot on the last 3 years. I am always pretty focused on doing my tricks with better style, trying to get a better kite angle on every single trick and learn new tricks. So that’s basically what happened to my riding on the last 2 years. I think I’ve learnt some pretty good tricks like switch and regular mobe 5, crow mobe 5, blind 315, fbm, kgb5…
Photo by Toby Bromwich
Whats your favorite type of trick to do at the moment?
Right now I’m a bit more into doing more technical tricks as I’ve been focusing on kite angle for some time already and I’ve the most simple tricks pretty controled right now so I’m just thinking on the next level. I love to do mobe 5’s, s- mobe 5, kgb5, moby dicks, blind 315 and I’m recently getting s-mobe 7 but this last one is really hard to do propperly, so I’ve just got a couple of them already. I definitely don’t like to cheat on tricks sending my kite higher for more technical tricks so when I count one of those I make sure the kite is low.
Is there are particular one that has given you a lot of trouble to learn?
Well for some people it doesn’t look as hard but a front blind mobe (landing heelside) can be one of the hardest tricks out there. I remember when I learnt that one 2 years ago it cost me quite a lot of crashes, and It’s quite difficult to have it down in every kind of conditions. This year I pulled a couple of those in Leucate with 5m wind and 10º C cold, so that’s definitely not easy for me.
You recently won a competition in Brazil wearing boots. You don’t see that very often. Is this something you want to keep doing? Do you think you could consistently get good results on tour wearing boots?
Yeh I decided to give it a try this year. I’ve always wanted to ride boots full time and it seemed to be the right time this year as I got crowned world #2 early this season so nothing would change. Anyway, so I got to Brazil to practice on boots for like 2 weeks and then did that competition and rode better than in straps, even with really choppy conditions, and won, so I decided to go for PKRA in boots as well and also won. I was just getting 2nd places this year and the moment I got boots I won a PKRA, so It’s definitely a good thing for all the boots movement. I guess some other riders will start riding boots on competitions from now, which I’m pretty happy for. I’m really stoked to be the first one that decided to give it a try and also win. Next year, I’ll do the whole tour on boots, we’ll see how it goes.
What would you like to see more of in the competitions as far as judging and riding criteria?
I’ve never been really happy with the current competition system, that let you do as many tricks as you want, because people do a lot of tricks and you kind of have to adapt to that if you wanna do well. We’ve been fighting this year for it (specially Bruna and I until we made all the other riders and PKRA crew like it as well) and a change will be made for next year. We’ll have a limit of 12 attempts and only the best 7 tricks will count, each one of them with a score from 0 to 10, and the scores will also go on livestream at real time, so people can understand better which ones are the tricks that make you win and why they are more difficult. I’m pretty stoked with that change and really hope it will work well.
Photo by Toby Bromwich
Are you into any other sports? What do you enjoy doing in your ‘down time’?
Yeh, my favourite are snowboarding and to ride the cable. Unfortunately I don’t find a lot of time to do that but every year I make sure I go to the snow for at least a week in Christmas. I also like to surf and SUP. Just came back from a really nice surf session in New Caledonia with some PKRA crew in Tom Hebert’s boat.
Do you have any plans after kiteboarding? Are you looking for a career elsewhere or are you in it for the long haul?
Well I will keep kiteboarding for as long as I can. Right now I’m starting to work in Brazil distributing Airush and ION, it’s starting pretty good, it’s pretty hard to do both, but I wouldn’t like to stop kiteboarding, especially now that things are going well.
Well Alex, thanks for giving us the time to interview you. Good luck on the tour and we all hope to see more of you on the Scoop from now on ;)
Thanks Adam, I also hope to be more on the Scoop from now, Cheers!