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Proven Wrong

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Roderick Pijls recently signed with FLYSURFER, and for his first photoshoot with them, headed to the beautiful south west of England with the rest of the team – Olly Bridge, Johanna-Catharina Edin, Alina Shalin, Matias Lee, Megan Barnett, and Marketing Manager Ines Rodlauer. It may not have been boardshorts and bikini weather, but the turquoise water and head-high waves of Cornwall won Roderick over to the UK.

THEKITEMAG ISSUE #48
PHOTOS: Miriam Joanna
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This trip had been on my agenda for over three months, was postponed twice and its location changed four times! Our first choice of destination was Hawaii, then we thought we’d head to Martinique, that changed to Mauritius and Madagascar… but, eventually, that all vanished away and we booked our flights to the UK, Cornwall to be precise… not exactly the warm tropical location we’d originally planned.

Together with a strong and cozy group of riders, media and FLYSURFER crew we arrived at London airport, stuffed our cars with the latest gear and started the mission to hunt some swell. After a five-hour drive we arrived at our first base in Gwithian, Cornwall, where we stayed in a beautiful luxury beach house, ‘Three Mile Beach’. We rushed to the beach to check out the conditions and what we could expect over the next few days. I was genuinely surprised by the beauty and scenery of the spot. I had expected something like the Netherlands, but the scenery got me going wild. The colors reminded me of Cape Town and the steep cliffs looked like Portugal or France. Unfortunately, the tide was too high and the wind was light, but we could see some insane potential for the next days. The swell was forecast to increase and the wind to pick up, so we enjoyed a beautiful sunset with the amazing cliffs, lighthouse in the far distance, and some slow waves breaking on the shore.

Next morning we decided to set the alarm early to scope out the conditions and to make sure we wouldn’t miss out on anything. I was excited, as it had been a while since I scored some great conditions, so I was up at 5:30am to make breakfast with Ines and get all the gear ready. The aim of this trip was to shoot the new STOKE. I hadn’t had the chance to get my hands on it yet, but had heard some good rumors about it, so I was a bit excited to test it. That day we had side-offshore to (almost) straight offshore wind and some head-high waves. I had the 9m STOKE with the new bar in my hands and some magic wave conditions, similar to One Eye in Mauritius! The kite was blasting downwind and drifted with me like there was no limit. On every bottom turn it followed me easily and while setting up for my top-turn I could just sheet out the bar completely to lose as much power as I needed to completely finish my turn without getting pulled out of position. That day was just magic – long and clean waves, offshore wind, sunshine and friends – what else do we need?! The first session we spent four hours straight on the water, alternating wave after wave with each other. As the tide got low, we had a break to charge the batteries and eat some food, then it was back into our wetsuits when the tide started pushing again. That second session we kited till sunset, screaming like little kids, and I even got a small barrel in. We finished the day with a cold beer and a hot plate of food. 

The next morning the forecast was for lighter wind, so the entire crew headed out for a surf. I decided to put a foil under my board and try to get some surf foiling in. We drove to another beach with a river mouth, which a local had told me is surf foil heaven. Wave after wave and pump after pump we got our morning exercise and ‘stoke’ in to sit satisfied at the lunch table. While sipping on our coffee we saw the wind filling in with a cross-onshore direction and some head-high waves. Olly, Alina and I took an 8, 9 and 10m STOKE for a spin, curious as to the performance of the new version in cross-onshore wind. The speed of the kite was good, but would it still drift as well as yesterday in the offshore wind? While setting up for the bottom turn I sent the kite up to 12 to gain some more momentum to get as vertical as possible and I couldn’t believe how easily it climbed up the window with that onshore wind direction. 

After four days of kiting, shooting, enjoying the surf, and watching an astonishing sunset every evening we decided to drive towards Wales, as the conditions looked a bit more promising there than Cornwall. We had a local guy on our side to show us around the beautiful and rough landscape. The forecast looked pretty challenging – light, gusty and offshore wind, but we had hope and a positive attitude. After a serious driving mission from Cornwall to Wales we scoped out the forecast and set up a plan for the next morning. We decided to gamble and go for all or nothing. Waking up at 5:30am for breakfast, continued by an hour drive into ‘no-mans-land’, followed by another hour walk through sheep-land we arrived at a spot that could be straight out of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. We arrived at a rough and untouched beach surrounded by cliffs worn down by millennia of harsh conditions. The wind was light for the 10m and super gusty, but beautiful and peeling waves stretched out in front of us. I couldn’t wait for the media crew to set up their gear and before I knew it I already had some bangers in the bag before the clock hit noon. More than stoked I got out the water, with a smile from ear to ear, asking if we could stay a bit longer for another session. 

Starting this trip with the intention of traveling to the other side of the world – Hawaii or Mauritius – and eventually ending up in the UK couldn’t have turned out better than this. I fell completely in love with this country, the open attitude of the locals, and of course the new kite. We couldn’t have wished for better conditions and as the UK isn’t overshot yet, we were able to produce some magical and unique content…

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