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TheKiteMag 51 Tangled Lines Florian Gruber 1 1200x800 - Tangled Lines Legends: Florian Gruber

Tangled Lines Legends: Florian Gruber

Hailing from Bavaria, Germany, Florian Gruber can be found honing his foil skills on the lakes there. He is very competitive and has been part of the racing scene since the beginning, placing on the podium numerous times both on the water and at snowkite events. He is hoping to qualify for next year’s Olympics and thus end his racing career on a high!


Daniela Moroz

Flo, you’ve been one of very few kite racers that has truly been able to make racing into a career and have been in the sport for probably the longest. What has been the most interesting part of seeing the sport develop over time?

In the beginning kitesurfing was just a hobby for me. By the time I got better and helped my sponsors to develop some of the equipment, it was always the intention to bring the sport to the next level, performance and quality wise. There is always something to work on and that brings so much variation with it.

Jemima Crathorne

What is your favorite moment in your career so far?!

That’s not easy to answer, but I think my first World Title and the Gold Medal at the World Beach Games were my biggest wins with the most emotion. But also, the Vake race in Norway was a competition which I enjoyed a lot and always brings up some awesome memories. I also enjoy the little moments where I just have good sessions with my family and friends.

Olly Bridge

Has your strategy around optimum weight changed during the last couple of years? 

It changed. On the old race boards we had to plane, so there a lighter weight was better. Also, in the beginning of foil racing no one was thinking about weight. It just came over time when we all got a better knowledge about foiling and what gives you more speed. For sure I also try to put on a bit more, but I don´t want to get too crazy about it. I still want to feel good and healthy and enjoy eating.

Luke McGillewie

Everyone who is getting ready for racing in the Olympics is bulking up. Can you explain: fat is fast and fast is sexy?

Haha! Usually, you don´t hear the answer from an athlete that he wants to get fat, but since everyone found out that being heavier gives you advantages, everyone tries to eat a lot. To gain ten kilos of muscle takes a crazy amount of time, but if you combine it with some fat and a lot of eating the scale shows faster results.

Michael Zeilinger (Levitaz Product Manager)

How did the hydrofoil introduction in kite racing influence your career and which Levitaz products were significant?

When I saw the first hydrofoils, everyone was a bit skeptical. They were slow and unstable. Then in 2014 I got my first one and became totally addicted. A lot of friends were already on Levitaz and I could see the advantages this gave them in terms of quality and structure. I got the honor of being part of the team from 2016. They gave me the opportunity to be involved in all testing and development processes and I learned a lot. I think the greatest success was the R5 Race Series for the upcoming Olympic Games and I am super proud that I was part of this project. I have already got my hands on new prototypes for the coming Olympic cycle and can’t wait for more. I just came home from a trip to Cape Town with the Levitaz crew and I love trips like that – such good times with the team who have become as good as family.


We had some fun filming a clip with you for Bentley a few years back, does that stand out as one of the craziest projects you’ve done?

This project was for sure a fun one especially because I could do it with Guy Bridge. It’s always fun with him!

Roderick Pijls

I’m fairly new to racing, but one thing that really sticks out to me is that you always keep out of trouble and tangles. How do you ensure you stay clear of tangling with other racers?

Good question. Sure no one wants to get in trouble on purpose. But in racing you need to scan your surroundings and you need to know what’s possible and what’s not. Sometimes a tangle can be just bad luck, but you can minimize it with good risk management.

Annelous Lammerts

Did anything change for you since the sport became an Olympic Class?

I think for everyone it did. The whole sport got way more professional and structured. It’s good to see where the sport has got to, but I hope we never lose the thought about where the sport came from.


Kiting isn’t your only passion. You’re also a skier. Are mountains important to you?

Yes, the mountains were always a big part in my life. My hometown is right in front of the highest mountain in Germany. I can even see it from the window. The mountains are a big playground for so many different sports. I don’t want to miss out on them.

Christoph Hesina (Flysurfer Head of Marketing)

Talk us through some of the Flysurfer projects you have been working on.

With Flysurfer I have already done a lot of interesting projects in the past. Developing new things and giving our designers as much feedback as possible is always cool. Helping Benni Boelli create the VMG was I think the most difficult but interesting part in the last few years. Working with him is always inspiring. He has so many design ideas that bring the whole sport to new levels, especially in the foil kite segment. Also just being with the whole team is always a cool thing.

Olly Bridge

As one of the only guys that’s been in the kite racing game since the beginning, how do you keep motivated to keep performing year after year?

I think the last few years I suffered from a slight lack of motivation, but I always knew when the Olympic Games were coming closer I would find myself back on track. I could really feel a push again from last summer. But I also try to take time off to relax.

Alina Kornelli

If you could choose one location for the rest of your life, would it be the mountains in Bavaria or the seaside in Spain?!

I think the mountains in Bavaria. There are just so many more possibilities for different sports and it will be always my home.

Guy Bridge

Flo, tell us about your past experiences with Peter Burling…

Haha, I don’t want to go too deep into it. But we had some issues after a sailing event in Weymouth. Let’s leave it at that…!


As well as sharp foils you’re pretty nifty on ice skates too. What is the Red Bull Crashed Ice all about?!

Yeah right now I must stop this big passion. But I almost grew up on ice skates and then a few years ago I took part in one of these downhill races on skates. Somehow, I loved that adrenalin kick and even made it to a few world cups like in Japan and Finland. Hopefully after the Olympics I will be back on the downhill courses.

Carla Herrera Oria

What is your training schedule and what keeps you motivated when training?

My training schedule varies a little depending on where I am and what time of year it is. At home my water training is a little less. It really depends on the weather system how often the lakes are working well. It can work seven times or just one time a week. But there I have a good routine with other sports and the gym. When I am away from home and by the sea, I try to do some body workouts in the morning and be on the water in the afternoon. The water training can look different. On one side you try to train your skills, on the other you need to work on your equipment.

Annelous Lammerts

Do you see yourself continuing to do race foiling once you stop competing or will you switch to another kite discipline?

When I stop competing, I won’t have the same racing schedule anymore. I will definitely jump on my racing quiver still, but maybe with a free race kite, so I can go for some jumps. Maybe competitions like in Mauritius could still be a thing. I am not sure if age is on my side for switching to another discipline at a very high level. Kite foil Big Air could be a thing, but more for fun and I just want to go big. But there are still some kite projects in my mind I would love to realize one day.

Roderick Pijls

As one of the guys that’s been in the game the longest, you’ve seen all the changes and revolutions. What would be your next bet that the racing discipline will evolve to?

I hope nothing with an engine. It’s just so cool to ride with the elements. Right now, the base of the sport is there. Let’s see how far we can push the limits, and how new products can help us get there.


Is qualifying for the Olympics your main goal at the moment? What does life after the Games look like?

Yes, for sure it is my main goal now. I am not 100% sure what the future brings, but there are some options. Beside kiting I finished my bachelor’s degree, and also all my travels and activities have given me many connections and options.

Daniela Moroz

What advice would you give to up-and-coming kite racers that want to establish themselves in the fleet?

I think most people are a bit scared to just show up at events. But that’s in my opinion the easiest entry. There you get connected with other racers and usually everyone helps each other. For sure a smaller competition would be better for that. And then it’s a combination of passion and hard training that brings you forward.

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