What are your first recollections of the beach?
Orient Bay Beach is a very special place for me. It’s where I started every water sport I do today. My dad owns a kite school there, so right from a very young age, it has always been my playground and a place that allows me to get on the water in all different types of conditions.
Can you remember your first sessions?
When I was six years old, I wanted to learn kiting, but I was just too light. For two years, I rode a 5m Switchblade with 10m lines and a skim board. The first day I jumped on a twintip, it just felt so much better to have a board with fins and control. I was absolutely hooked.
Who else did you ride there with?
I had a few other friends there who to start with were mainly passionate about windsurfing, but quickly we transitioned to kiting and pushed each other to ride all the time. Pro riders from other countries would sometimes visit, and Damien Leroy was one of the most important people for me when he came in 2014. Before that, I was mainly windsurfing, and seeing him ride every type of board on a kite inspired me so much to become a versatile kiter. This is also when he left me a Cabrinha kite and I started my partnership with the brand.
Can you talk us through the typical conditions?
During the northern hemisphere’s winter, we have very consistent wind as soon as the trade winds kick in. It becomes a very steady wind machine, with an average of 15 to 25 knots. There is flat water for foiling and freestyle, and additionally, you can find onshore waves all the time and sideshore conditions depending on the direction.
What would be your perfect day there?
The perfect days are when the trade wind blows at a good 25 knots with a two-meter north swell at the same time. My favorite spot called Wilderness is a perfect right with side offshore wind and is very uncrowded. Surfing has always been something I love doing, and kiting in the waves is something I enjoy more and more with time. At home, we have a lot of diversity in terms of wave spot configurations, so I can train in all types of conditions.
Talk us through one session that stands out for you there?
One session that really stands out is when we had one of the biggest north swells with three-meter waves and awesome wind, and I spent the whole day kiting at Wilderness. With the spot to myself I was incredibly lucky to score world class conditions, with nobody to get in my way!
Has the set up at the beach changed over the years?
Year after year, Orient Bay Beach keeps growing with new restaurants and activities. But in 2017, we had Hurricane Irma, which was a Category 5 hurricane and literally destroyed all the infrastructure on the beach. Since then, everything has been rebuilt.
Where’s your favorite meal after a session there?
Saint Martin is a very popular place for food, and is known as the capital of gastronomy in the Caribbean. You will find local products and all types of culinary experiences. For me, nothing beats freshly made tuna or mahi-mahi tartare.
Do you think you would have got to where you are today if it hadn’t been such a familiar spot?
For sure I was very lucky to live only a two-minute walk from the spot, and this can only be beneficial for progression.