World champion at Cannon Rocks kitesurfing contest

WORLD’S FINEST: Jalou Langeree, the Kite Surf Pro (KSP) women’s world champion, will compete in the Halyards Cannon Rocks Kite-boarding Classic from January 3 to 6 Picture: QUINCY DEIN

JON HOUZET

KITE Surf Pro (KSP) women’s world champion Jalou Langeree will bring star power to the Halyards Cannon Rocks Kite-boarding Classic next month.

Langeree, who hails from Holland, was crowned KSP Women’s World Champion in Hawaii earlier this month, in her first year on the KSP World Tour.

The 22-year-old, who rates South Africa as having some of the best kitesurfing spots in the world, was persuaded to participate in the Cannon Rocks competition by organiser Cedric Vandenschrik.

In an exclusive interview with TotT, Langeree said she started kiteboarding when she was 12.

“My brother Kevin was always power-kiting on the beach, and most of the time I went with him. We spent the whole day power-kiting together,” she said.

“Kevin surfed a lot, but after a while he saw the fun in the combination of kiting and surfing. He was one of the first kids to do this on the water. He had no one to teach him how to kite and had to do it all by himself.”

After a few years her brother started teaching her how to kite on the water too.

“It was a lot of fun, but I knew I had to practice hard. After the first time I got onto my board (it was for about 4m) I was so excited about this extreme sport that I never stopped!” said Langeree.

As she humbly puts it: “Iapparently got good at it.”

When she finished high school, at 17, she began focusing exclusively on kitesurfing and was soon ready to compete internationally.

“My parents have always been my biggest support,” she said.

She has been Dutch champion (freestyle) since 2004, and competed for several years in the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) World Championships for freestyle kiting.

“My best results were coming second in Belgium back in 2006 and third in Australia in 2010,” she said.

“I made a change from freestyle to wave riding about two years ago, because I wasn’t motivated in doing freestyle any more.”

This year’s KSP tour started off in Portugal with no result because there was no wind. The next stop was in Mauritius where Langeree said she spent almost a month to get used to the “enormous, powerful waves”.

Her training paid off and she took second place. The third stop of the tour was Ireland, where she tied for first place “because the wind died off in the finals”.

The finals were held in Maui, Hawaii, where she also spent one month to get used to the conditions “and riding on my backside”.

She took second place which gave her enough points to take over the lead and make her world champion.

“I never expected something like this to happen to me on my first year on tour. I am so happy and very motivated to train hard and keep that title in my name,” she said.

She first visited South Africa about eight years ago, and has returned every year ever since.

Next year she plans to take on the KSP tour again “and see if I can win another time”.

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