Thanks for talking to us Noè! Give us some background to the Kite Park League.
The KPL first started in 2016 when a bunch of riders decided to combine the results of the already existing park events around the world into a “world title” ranking. The Triple S was the main event with the most prize money and media coverage, backed with two or even three other events like the Palawan Open in the Philippines, Hood Jam (USA), Rhosneigr Park Jam (UK) and Kite Mansion Open (Brazil)… A solid international league with top level riders who also happen to be some of the most creative and media savvy riders in the industry.
Do you think there’s been a shift in focus away from park style recently?
There is no doubt the older generation of park riders have shifted focus in their own lives, moving on from pro riding careers into new chapters of life. The younger generation now has taken over and will carry the torch for years to come. Some factors that may have affected us are top riders moving on to other things, Covid of course, and the boom of the other disciplines like winging and Big Air. However that doesn’t change anything at a personal level for us. At this time, we are at a higher level of riding than ever before, doing new tricks (NBDs) every season, hungry to continue pushing our discipline, and doing what we love. As much as it is a niche community, people always have and always will love to do it, and it so happens to be the side of kiting most intimate to all other boardsports.
How do you think park riding can be made more accessible to the wider populous?
You hear it all the time: “Oh but there are no features to ride at my spot, that’s why I don’t do it.” We say Bullsh*t! Riding features is the easy part. The work happens behind the scenes – building stuff, getting your crew together, putting in the time and effort to make it happen. It’s not easy, even when you have it all set up something gets in your way. We paint a pretty picture in videos – you see the final product and it doesn’t look like a big deal, but if you’ve ever tried building a little something to ride with your friends you know the drill. And if you haven’t I encourage you to do so. It may be a lot of work but when you finally get to ride your own slider it’s so rewarding. It makes an individual sport like ours turn into a group effort and when that first session goes down every trick is a win.
I guess the new team format for the recent event reflected that ethos as it was a group effort. Can you talk us through how it went down, and do you plan to continue that format for the future?
Yeah I think we all agreed that it surpassed our expectations. Basically the idea was to make a team video contest for a week of riding in the Hood River kite park. We divided riders into five teams with top seeded riders from previous events in each team. The rules, very simple: three-minute videos with a minimum of one clip per rider and a maximum of ten. During the awards party, riders watched all the videos for the first time. We all had to let it sink in for a minute. It was crazy to see it all come together in such a short period of time but we each had to submit our votes for favorite video, and single awards such as best rider, best trick, line, crash, rookie and so on. You can find all the team videos on our website or YouTube channel. So far a lot of people have left comments and private messages on how much they enjoyed the format, so we are definitely planning to do more video events in the future. The team format really showcases what park riding is all about: the team spirit of working together towards a shared goal. One rider’s win is everyone’s win!