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TheKiteMag 52 Follow the Current Stig Hoefnagel Kyle Cabano 4 copy 1200x800 - Follow the Current

Follow the Current

Stig Hoefnagel and Helena Brochocka were invited by Prolimit to join their photoshoot in the Cape, South Africa. But the trip wasn’t just about kiting and photos. It also had a deeper objective – to learn more about the relationship between ocean currents and climate. We’ll let their Head of Marketing, Linda van Lakwijk, and Stig explain…

PHOTOS: Kyle Cabano
TheKiteMag 52 Follow the Current Stig Hoefnagel Kyle Cabano 1 1440x754 - Follow the Current

Linda: Have you ever thought about what is happening below the water surface while you are riding, why the waves are the way they are at your local spot, or why the water is so cold while the air temperature is relatively warm? Ocean currents play a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate and weather patterns. Currents are driven by various factors such as wind and temperature, and they can travel thousands of miles across the ocean’s surface.

At Prolimit we want to highlight the importance of understanding how ocean currents work and how they affect water temperatures and climate. We are collecting data on this and talking to professional meteorologists and oceanographers to learn more, and we want to share this knowledge with everyone who’s interested. We are taking our riders on this journey too as we believe it is important that they are also aware since they travel to different parts of the world and ride at many varied spots. With this data we can give insight on the complex relationship between ocean currents, water temperature and climate patterns – and importantly, which wetsuit to wear where and when. It’s not only an innovative project but also educative for water sports enthusiasts and anyone who cares about our oceans and climate.

Follow the Current is also aimed at raising awareness about the impact of climate change on the oceans and the need to protect them. As the Earth’s temperature continues to rise, ocean currents are likely to change, which could have significant implications for the planet’s climate and weather patterns. We believe that by understanding how ocean currents work and how they affect climate and weather, we can all play a part in protecting the oceans and ensuring a sustainable future for our planet.

Stig: I’ve been traveling to Cape Town for quite a few years now, and this winter was no different. I arrived in early November to get myself ready and acclimatize to the conditions for the big comp at the end of that month: Red Bull King of the Air.

Prolimit asked me if I wanted to come along on a trip to shoot the new summer collection and to explore the Cape. They wanted to do this differently to previous years, not just doing the trip, but also giving us the opportunity to learn more about the Cape. On the second day we had the privilege of meeting Steve Spike, a surfer who is also very knowledgeable about weather. We visited him at his home in Kommetjie, south of the city, where he explained everything that goes on in the Cape and why and how weather fronts and water currents and systems change; from temperature to waves he explained everything. So with all the knowledge from Spike the trip could officially start.

We spent three days around Cape Town itself where the water is very cold, according to Spike varying between nine and 17 degrees, a big range in temperature. This has to do with the wind. The more southeast the wind blows, the colder the water, and on no-wind or onshore days the water usually gets much warmer. We had some crazy strong wind for these sessions around the Cape. After a good start we continued our journey further south and eastwards. Our second destination was Hermanus, a really nice town that is known in the kite world for its flat-water lagoon. This time we were not as lucky with the conditions, or at least that’s what we assumed looking at the forecast, which wasn’t great for wind and weather. We had to really search for the right lighting, wind and locations. This included a lot of early mornings and long drives but in the end it all came right and the results made it all worth it!

On the last stretch of our trip we made it to Cape Agulhas, the most southern point of Africa, a place I had never visited before. It was very unique in its character and definitely a beauty of its own, with warm, blue water and no one else kiting. In the space of one week we had gone from wearing winter wetsuits and almost getting brain freeze when under the water, to kiting in warm weather and getting away with just wearing a shorty. Thanks Prolimit for an awesome trip and for teaching me more about our climate and ocean currents.

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