Alex Maes, our belgium Team Rider had a great season traveling, competing and also organizing competition tour stops of the “Kite Park League 2018”. We had a catch up with him on the topic of organizing events, and why it isn’t necessarily easy as well as why the Kite Mansion in Brasil became THE place to be. We found it extremely interesting to hear his point of view, and we hope you will, too – so check out the story!
Photos: Andre Magarao
NeilPryde: Alex, you have spent half of your winter in Brasil at the “Kite Mansion". Can you please tell us more about this project?
Alex: Like every other winter for the past 3 years, I made the trip to the Kite Mansion in Icapui, Brazil, but this year it was a bit different. Together with Sam, Nico (owners of the Kite Mansion) and Annelous we accepted the challenge to organize the final stop of the Kite Park League, the 2018 Kite Mansion Open. It was my first time as event organizer and competing rider! Getting all the official authorizations and managing the park wasn’t an easy task, but I look back at this as the most rewarding project I’ve ever done. I learned so much during those three months and can’t already for next year!
NeilPryde: Why should everybody come and visit this place?
Alex: Well, the kite mansion is the place to be in Brazil! Not only for park riding or for pro-riders but for everyone! The spot in front of the Pousada is very easy and safe to learn or to improve your skills combined with the legendary welcome and hospitality of the Kite Mansion Crew. I can’t think of a better place for your next kite trip! The Pousada was newly renovated last year, so now you are able to drink your caipirinha next to the swimming pool while looking at your friends kiting!
NeilPryde: You have been also involved in organizing other events there, correct?
Alex: Yes, it’s been quite an interesting journey organizing the Kite Mansion Open and a KPL stop! From designing the rails, taking care of the accommodation for the riders to managing the kite mansion media, our crew has been on it during the event. I actually ended up being very tired during the final with all the extra work, but that’s part of being an event organizer! I couldn’t have done it without my crew, I really want to thank all of them for their hard work. These guys are truly the best!
NeilPryde: Can you give us a little recap about your 2018 season?
Alex: For me, 2018 was a year to remember! I started the year in Kenya teaching the next generations of our family shop (Matos) how to kitesurf! After, I went straight to the Philippines to improve my cable skills and do endless laps at CWC. I helped to organize the opening season of Matos and started the kite/wake season at home. After that, I traveled for the 2018 Triple-S Invitational in May, where I scored my first podium and with that realized one of my childhood dreams! With my prize money, I decided to stay in the states for the next two months until the next Kite Park league stop in Hood River and ended up going to Valdosta wake compound in between to improve my riding. This place did so much for my riding and my vision of kiteboarding. The Patagonia Hood Jam was one to remember as we had some of the best conditions we’ve ever seen in Hood River. I ended up cracking one of my ribs during the beginning of final but even with the pain, I was happy to still finish the final!
After a long summer in the USA, I went back home mid-August to enjoy the European summer days and recover from my injury.
Finally, in September, I decided to leave for another three months to the Kite Mansion to organize the Kite Mansion Open! And here I am, writing these words in Kenya and getting ready for one more lap around the sun.
NeilPryde: What are your plans for the upcoming season?
Alex: In 2019 I’ll start the year here in Kenya giving back to the younger generation! I plan to go to Thailand for 3 weeks in February. I’ll then spend 3 months at home to get the shop ready for the next season. We are planning some changes in our kite shop for 2019. My main goal for 2019 is to win the Triple-S Invitational! I have a few new tricks I’ve been working on as well ;-). I also want to spend more time in Europe, we are planning a big road trip with Annelous and Mercedes, which will be awesome, can’t wait!
We want to thank Alex for his time to answer our questions and letting us know what he has been up to and of course giving a bit more insights into a kitesurfer’s year, we think it sounds pretty awesome already, and are very excited to hear back from him on his 2019 adventures. Alex, lots of success for your 2019 season!