and how that can really improve your career and value as a rider later down the line. With regards to motivation, other disciplines or even other sports can influence your progression in kiting. Sports that work on your fitness and improve your board skills and coordination are perfect as long as the injury risk is low. Finally, injury prevention and how to look after your body was another topic that I felt was crucial to discuss. All these points of course are not that easy to take in at a young age, and typically you have to experience them yourself to really learn, but I truly hope that sharing my experiences with the group will allow them to understand and deal with things better when certain situations arise.”
The fourth day saw us training with Luis de Dios Mellada, nicknamed Kuky, who was part of the very first Young Blood Camp in 2006. With decades of experience in working with some big names in kiting, such as Mallory de la Villemarqué, Alvaro Onieva, and Deury Corniel, Kuky has also helped the Spanish Snowboard Olympic team, a number of top-level skiers, and Iballa Ruano Moreno, multiple windsurf and SUP World Champion. Furthermore, Kuky is also a GKA judge in the strapless discipline and works with Duotone and ION training some of their top riders like Matchu Lopes. Everyone loved Kuky’s training, pushing each other and working out as a team was something the young bloods thrived on. Kuky said: “My objective for the camp was to comprehensively inform the young bloods about the physical needs and demands on a pro kiter, explaining exactly the science behind movements and making them aware of their very personal physical strengths and weaknesses, plus giving them the right tools to work with in order to improve. I see Duotone’s Young Blood Camp initiative as groundbreaking. It’s almost like a time travel for the kids. There is so much crucial information about so many aspects packed into the camp, and the learning experience is immense. There is no other kite brand that supports and invests so much into young talents and the future of our sport.”
On one of the last afternoons, young bloods Edgar Ulrich and Camille Losserand were given some homework consisting of preparing a presentation about Duotone’s strapless boards and twintips for the next day. Edgar’s message that he sent through the camp’s WhatsApp group, “doing my homework, maybe the coolest I’ve ever had to do”, put a big grin on everyone’s face. Edgar and Camille delivered an awesome presentation which was the perfect opportunity for other riders to learn more about the products. The next assignment went to Andrea Principi and Beto Gomez who had to role-play working in a Duotone shop, with Duotone’s marketing wizards Philipp Becker and Craig Cunningham playing the interested customers. The main lessons from this exercise were to be attentive to the customer and their needs, and to match that with knowledge about the gear and its suitability for different needs. Beto even went the extra mile in his approach by offering a coffee and free test rides with him at the beach to his customer.
A sunset yoga session with Lucia Pele was the perfect end to another perfect day, then day five brought more yoga and a social media presentation with Duotone’s social media guru and international team rider Craig Cunningham. After a few days of no wind, finally, a little breeze came up in the afternoon and a lightwind photoshoot was on. More kite-specific training and injury prevention with Kuky finished off the day nicely. A nurturing early morning yoga session kicked off day six, followed by a very interesting talk from Porsche race driver Simona de Silvestro, in which she shared her insights into her routine before races, mental preparation, the importance of recharging batteries and racing against good friends. Concluding the day, there was more training with Kuky and learning about the Wim Hoff method including breath work and ice baths.
With a boat trip on the menu, day seven turned into the highlight for most young bloods. The wind gods came to the party and wild ideas could be lived out, including jumps off the boat and tow-ups behind it. Tasty fresh fish landed in the hungry bellies of the future generation with Max Tullet summing up the common sentiment of everyone at the end of this epic day: “This camp was one of the best experiences of my life”. Coming home, everyone had a lot to digest on what just happened in only one week. Every participant took home a lot of great memories, things to work on, ways to become an even better athlete physically and mentally, and maybe also will become an even better person… ■