Holland (where it's very cold), and the Kiteboard Open (May 27th - 28th)
Posted Saturday June 16th
by Clinton "Better Late Than Never" Bolton
Holland … wow, what a place. For the last 2 years, my friends have been trying to get me to come, but I have never been able to make it. This year, I finally decided to go and check it out, during the Kiteboard Open (aka KBO) a couple of weeks ago.
Holland is an awesome place ... not just because they have coffee shops and the famous Red Light District in Amsterdam, but there's a lot of culture and incredible things to check out.
Amsterdam is just a different world: friendly people and amazing scenery.
So I stayed up at Noordwijk, where the event was being held, and checked out the town until late, as ... in summer ... it doesn't get dark here until 11:30 Pm. The next day, I went down to the event site to help set everything up for the event, and to also meet up with Richard Siwaletti, the Best rep for Benelux and Germany. After a few Dutch beers and enjoying the beautiful summer weather with no wind, I headed down south to check it out there, as the event was only starting on Sunday.
Helping set things up with Kevin Langeree
So on the day of the event, things had looked different, with a lot more tents up and just tons of people. It was crap weather, as it was to good to be true with the beautiful weather we had the last few days. But what amazed me is the amount of people that were out. It was cold and light winds ... which was ice cold, actually ... but yet people came out to see the event and enjoy the weekend on the beach. People literally were walking in board shorts, and even small kids were swimming in the sea, which I wouldn't dare go in without a dry suit.
We had our spot located and set everything up every kite you can imagine. We had Waroos, Waroo Pros, and the Yarga ... with all colour variations. People were amazed by the white colour of the Waroo, so I was keeping my eye on my precious white Waroo, as I knew somebody might try something (laughs).
The determination of the local kiters is great ... even in the slightest bit of wind they want to try go out, even if they don't get up and riding. Loads of people wanted to test the gear, which was great. We had loads of Best kites in the air and also on the water, which stoked people with the brand ... they were up and riding in such light winds. At times, we had to ask people to wait, as all our kites were being tested and nobody wanted to come back to shore and hand over the kite.
The wind slowly picked up to get the rookie competition going ... they're so light they can go in nothing. I sometimes wished I were as light as them. Some heats had to be stopped due to the wind dying, but it was an on- going thing as Mother Nature would be playing games with us all day. In the end, they finally got to finish the rookie competition and do the prize-giving, and I'd like to say congratulations to Jerry for placing 3rd. Only 12 years and he has great potential ... but when you see him he doesn't look 12 years old, so at times I thought to myself, "He shouldn't be riding in the rookies ... he's taller than all the other kids and especially taller than me ... much taller than me ... but congrats to him and all the best in the future.
Afterwards, everyone packed up quickly so that they could start partying. As for me, I was dying of hunger from not eating all day. Richard and I had dinner together with the whole Dutch Best crew that were also in Fuerteventura for the Dealer Meeting, and we just talked about the day and kiting in general, completely forgetting about the party. We eventually made our way over and partied all night, which was intense ... the whole tent was packed. I think that's the biggest thing of the event: it felt like the whole town was inside partying, but as they say in Holland, "IF IT AINT DUTCH IT AINT MUCH," which they for sure hold to ... I'll be a witness to that.
Next day, I woke up early to the wonderful smell of Dutch breakfast being made, the sweet smell of melted chocolate for the pancakes. After a giant breakfast, which I'm glad was "inclusive" as I would have had to pay for four more people eating, but hey, what can I say, I love Dutch food. Sorry to the other guests if they came late and there was nothing left to eat. I apologize. Hahahahaha!
The day was worse ... the weather had not changed. Well, it did actually ... it changed to more bad weather. It was raining and no wind, and the waves had picked up, but that still didn't stop anyone from going into the water and messing around in the waves. Yet again, to my surprise, there were loads of people walking around in the rain coming to see the event and starting to drink.
Overall, it turned out to be a great event with unbelievable turnout and it has to be one of the best events I've been to. Even though it had crap and cold weather, the local support and support from other European countries was incredible, really helping to push the sport of kiteboarding.
I'd like to thank very much Richard Siwaletti for bringing me over for the event and putting up with my craziness, and one thing I can't forget especially is what an amazing job he's done on pushing the brand in Holland and across Europe. Thanks again ... and I hope to be back next year.
For more pictures and news from the KBO, right click here (and open in new window).
To read more about Clinton, visit his team rider page at www.bestkiteboarding.com/Clinton-Bolton.