It’s basically musical chairs except, for the women, you have to sit down on a perverted Frenchman. Mind numbing and purely primitive, Love Island holds a mirror up to modern society’s idea of love. Or at least, it does for those trying to sound intelligent whilst writing an article on it.
Once upon a time in June 2023, Edgar Ulrich took a step into the unknown. For the first time in kite history [Ed: fact checking please Colin], a C-grade pro rider appeared on an ever-popular reality TV show, Love Island. Will he live happily ever after in a cocoon of love and Instagram endorsement deals, or should we pre-order his therapy sessions?
When I heard the news, and received a tirade of screenshots of Edgar Ulrich dancing alone in a wetsuit in a TV studio, it dawned on me that you should never meet your heroes. They’ll let you down. Unless it’s Aaron Hadlow of course. Always meet him. Few times a week if possible. But our boy Edgar, who is regarded in the kiting world as a wealthy-but-nice and pretty-talented-chap, had fallen foul to the lure of the lights of fame and Instagram fortune.
Whilst he was on Love Island, his friend Andrea Principi became World Champion for the second time, and the first Triple Loop was landed by Lorenzo Casati. In Big Air, 10 weeks is a very long time. Edgar, who is/was known for his distinctive style – keeping his board off for the majority of the trick, and for the way he fully flips into his boogie and doobie loops – his are more like an airborne roly poly – and it’s quite sick – he is/was on track to be a big name in Big Air.
But the thought of those $1500-for-a-tagged-post deals had proven too much for our boy. So he signed himself up to French Love Island. He waltzed in there, thinking that this was his big moment. And as someone who has made a living out of examining pro kiteboarders’ more questionable decisions, I have never clicked on anything faster. To this day, I have never received more messages of encouragement about a series. So I tuned in. Everyday. For an hour.
Let’s be honest. Edgar’s first few days on Love Island were rough. On a show where it is vital to place your bet on the right horse, he picked a dud. Pernelle, despite the obvious Freudian attraction of looking like his sister, turned out to be not a horse, but a one-eyed Shetland pony. Cute from a distance, however up close she’s got quite the kick. And has hairy feet. She immediately pitted our boy Edgar against Issam in a dance off (don’t ask). This would have been fine if it wasn’t for Issam’s unbelievably smooth hips, which seemed to resonate in perfect rhythm with Pernelle’s idea of what a man should be: tall, groomed and emotionally stunted.
So in episode four, our boy Edgar is left without a chair when the music turned off. And there he was. Vulnerable. Single. Alone, in a semi-circle around the Love Island campfire, being condescended to by the show’s presenter. And if it wasn’t for Cindy-The-Savior, things could have been very short-lived for our boy Edgar. Which to some, might have been a blessing, but then he would never have gained 30k followers and cried 5+ times on national TV, would he? And what a great shame that would have been. Cindy saved the day, giving Edgar a lifeline and on a few inappropriate occasions (such as at lunch), an erection.
For the following six weeks, Edgar and Cindy-The-Savior experienced what we are all taught is romantic bliss: where you both pretend to be someone you are absolutely not in order to please the other party because you’d much rather be that than be single and therefore logically lonely and miserable for the rest of your dull, insignificant life.
This phenomenon, as we all know, is a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps the equivalent of a 40knot gust. Which, as we also all know, is something of a treat for our boy Edgar, who simply sheets in and megaloops his way into the good books of the voting French public.
He saw off threats from the likes of conventional-Camilla and basically anyone that came into his vicinity, no doubt allured by his sexy status as a ‘kitesurfer’. Mmmmm. They enter the tacky villa, dressed head to toe in cheap Chinese fast fashion, make a lunge for our boy, who nobly rejects them in the name of true love for Cindy, whilst soaring to the top of the opinion polls. He was even voted ‘Sexiest’ on Love Island. This is (by a long, long way if you check his past performances in the GKA and KOTA) surely the height of his professional career.
In fact, the following weeks of Edgar and Cindy’s life together were so plainly uneventful that my translator, who I hired to wade through the dystopian swamp that is French Love Island, informed me in week seven that she’d had enough. “I can’t and won’t do it any longer. It has numbed me beyond repair. My mind is smooth, like a pebble.”