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Young Guns Opening spread 1200x800 - Young Guns

Young Guns

Naish Team Europe was established to find young riders with talent and help them on their path to becoming a pro rider. Adriano Gazzoli from Italy, Arne Thiebaut from Belgium, Nathan Texier from France, and Jinne Boer, Teun Spliethof and Timo Boersema from the Netherlands recently joined Big Air legend Stig Hoefnagel and freestyle wizard Louka Pitot in Leucate, for a week of fun, kiting and getting some tips-from-the-top for guaranteed kite-world domination!

WORDS: Linda van Lakwijk
PHOTOS: Arthur Samzun
Young Guns Jinne Boer and Timo Boersema 1 - Young Guns

Three years after establishing “Naish Team Europe” the riders have grown, not only in riding skills but also as athletes. Stig Hoefnagel, Cohan van Dijk and Tom Seager have progressed to the Naish International team, and with their advancement, new talent has been added to Team Europe. Covid meant they had mainly seen each other via video calls only, with a few meeting at competitions. Now that travel restrictions have eased, it was time for the first trip for the new team members. Adriano, Arne, Nathan, Jinne, Teun and Timo were ready for an adventure. The team went to Leucate accompanied by Naish International riders Stig Hoefnagel and Louka Pitot. 

As a local guy, Louka could tell the guys all the ins and outs of the spots around Leucate, and as a former Naish Team Europe member, Stig could tell them more about his journey and how he progressed from Naish Team Europe to the International team. Their role on the trip was to tell the young guns more about what it takes to be a pro rider and what brands expect from you as a rider, about when you are representing a brand in a positive way and how you add value to a brand. Besides that they could coach the boys while riding, where Stig was focusing more on those that are into Big Air and Louka those that are into freestyle.

The team arrived in the evening in Leucate and went for dinner to get to know each other a bit better. From that moment on, Louka got the job as interpreter and had to translate the menu everywhere they went. Imagine if the boys ended up with something on their plate that they didn’t recognize… Burger and fries it was. After two days with lots of fun and riding like crazy, it was time for a more serious meeting with Stig, Louka, photographer Arthur Samzun and videographer Floris Tils – time to step up the game and become more professional. Stig and Louka told the boys for example that you can be the best rider in the world, but if you walk to the beach with your headphones on, get on the water, do your tricks and go home, you will not be interesting for a brand and are not representing a brand. You have to be open to others, talk to people on the beach and help them. Besides that a brand expects you to be present and help out on demo days, give presentations and head to events if asked.

Young Guns Arne Thiebaut and Jinne Boer - Young Guns

“My favorite memory was, firstly, the best burger I’ve ever had on our first day in Leucate… secondly, when we rode at Le Barcares with around 27 knots and I did a late frontroll for the first time… I would like to say thanks to everyone who was there. The close friendship that developed in such a short time was magical and it felt like coming home every day.” – Arne

Young Guns Adriano Gazzoli 2 - Young Guns

“For me the thing I remember most is when we met with the other guys from the team, the energy I felt in the air was unique everything was perfect being on the water and doing tricks, having fun and laughing together. Also I remember the first sunrise session the color of the kites, the rising sun, the sky it all came together. Can’t wait to see everyone again!”

– Adriano

That same day there was a test event with the French Naish rep and the wind looked better at a different spot so the lessons could be put into practice right away. The boys had to visit the test event first, even though they wanted to ride at the other spot with better wind… It’s part of being a rider for a brand. And later that afternoon they did get to go to the other spot to shoot the brand new S27 collection from Naish, which gave them another chance to put into practice what they’d learned… So the karma paid off in the end! During their earlier meeting, Arthur and Floris had given the boys tips on how to deal with a photographer and videographer – approaching them all together like crazy isn’t going to work and will not give you the best shots; the same goes for the best tricks when you are too far away. The easiest trick can already look spectacular on a photo or in a video when performed from the right angle right in front of the camera. The boys got on the water and immediately you could see a difference. They gave each other space and listened to the instructions from Arthur and Floris. That evening during dinner we checked some of the shots and they were totally blown away by the content. It suddenly looked amazing!

The Naish Team Europe riders had a lot of fun, experienced new things (like cooking their own dinner!) and learned a lot that will help them to grow as athletes. And of course there is still a lot to learn, like the fact there is more in the world than just burgers and fries, cuisine that is also a lot healthier…

Young Guns Nathan Texier 1 1 - Young Guns

“Arne is a great DJ if you have a party, book that guy! I also learned, don’t cut pasta in front of an Italian guy Plus, Jinne is the best packer he can fit everything in one board bag, Timo never jumps without a board off, and Teun snores!”

– Nathan

Young Guns Timo Boersema 1 - Young Guns

“The best moment with the team was when we all went on the water together with Stig, and that Jinne, Stig and I went for some awesome drone shots together. Also I’ll always remember a session with my 11m where the gusts were getting stronger and stronger, and I had a jump with an updraft where I just kept on flying So much airtime!”

– Timo

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