Carpe Diem

Xavier Kain helped organize the Full Power Tarifa, Big Air Kite League event last year, and by all accounts also put in an insane performance in the competition. He currently calls Tarifa home and is lucky enough to hit the water there whenever conditions are best. From the look of these photos, all that time on the water has evidently paid off…

Photos: Maria Cole


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For me Tarifa is the best place to be for year-round kiting. I originally came here for only six months, but have now been here more than five years! It’s not an easy place to kite – the offshore Levante wind is strong and gusty, and the onshore Poniente wind brings big waves and choppy water – but you can practice all kiting disciplines. I like to go foiling when it’s super light Poniente and then I’m often blissfully alone on the water. When it picks up to around 15-20 knots of Poniente, I love freestyling with boots and my C-shape Impact in the lagoon. When it goes over 20 knots then we have nice waves and it’s really fun to go strapless. And when the Levante comes round with its strong wind from 30 to 50 knots, it’s time for some Big Air action. 

Big Air is for sure the discipline I prefer, and we were super lucky at the start of this year because we had non-stop Levante for weeks – I loved it and Maria was there to snap these photos. These sessions were at Balneario right near the town. It’s tricky because you never really know how the wind is before entering the water; it’s hard to know if it’s stable or gusty and how strong it really is, and it can change super fast. And you have to watch out for other kiters – my teammate Janek recently downlooped straight into my lines on a 40 knots day, cutting both of my frontlines! So I had no other choice than to put the rescue plan into action. But these strong sessions are the best to fly high and pull huge megaloops, for the best feeling ever… I tend to take the XR for jumping high, as you seem to keep going up 3-4 meters more than any other kite, and you have an incredible hangtime. But when I loop I prefer my Nexus because it has a stronger pull during the loop, a good bar pressure so I know where my kite is all the time, and it catches me every time with some nice extra lift before landing. It’s only my personal feeling and most of my teammates prefer the XR, but for me the Nexus is my weapon of choice for megalooping. 

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I am lucky to be living right by Balneario. I can work while keeping an eye on conditions outside my window. I’m actually doing it right now because there are two kiters out and I may join them soon! I work as a freelance web developer, so I can manage my work time around kiting and get on the water when conditions are best. But it does mean I need to work before and after kiting even if the session killed me! And I often end up working weekends. The funny thing is when I need to plan a client call, my calendar is literally Windguru – when it’s purple all week it’s hard to get hold me on the phone… Let’s hope none of my clients are reading this. On average I kite one day out of two, all year long, for up to two hours per session – I’ll let you do the math. I also do a 30 minute warmup workout before every session because it’s really important to prevent injuries, and after the session I love to lay on my massage chair and use my massage gun to relax all my muscles! Now if I can just work out a way to do that while catching up on work…

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This feature originally appeared in TheKiteMag #46. To read the full issue, subscribe here.

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