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Youth participation program for the Caribbean Foiling Championships

by Sacha van der Wouden 28 Nov 2019 03:40 PST 21-23 February 2020
Mathijs Detering with his spare kite that Justin Pieterse now uses. © Sacha van der Wouden

The justification behind the new kitefoil format is that it represents a broader cross-section of what kitesurfing is today. It is intended to promote interest, excitement and engagement in the sport. It caters not just to Olympic level sailors but to a broad array of participants, in particular it is intended to appeal to the Youth.

To stimulate youth participation on St. Martin, where the first Caribbean Foiling Championships will be held, the organization teamed up with kitesurf school Wind Adventures Orient Bay.

'Youth participation is very important for the rise of our incredible sport, There are only a few young guns on St. Martin/St. Maarten that now see a new opportunity on their own island. This particular collaboration between the event and Wind Adventures Orient Bay makes it possible for them to join in on the fun, experience this new discipline and maybe even join the Olympics in 2032. This is the future and they are part of it!', says Sacha van der Wouden (co founder Caribbean Foiling Championships) with a big smile.

'We selected Mathijs Detering and Justin Pieterse for our Youth Participation Program because they are currently one of the few kiteboarders under the age of 18 on St. Martin/St. Maarten that showed a lot of interest in kitefoiling. We have the perfect conditions to learn how to kitefoil on island and surprisingly there are (still) such few kitefoiling youngsters at the moment. By teaching them the basics of kitefoiling we hope to touch base with more youth,' says Emmanuel Demanez (owner of Wind Adventures SXM).

Before you can start kitefoiling a good understanding of kiteboarding is needed. There are only a hand full young kiteboarders on St. Martin/St. Maarten which makes it difficult to create a transition towards foiling. However, Wind Adventures is trying develop a new generation of kitefoilers by learning children how to sail which teaches them everything about the wind, then teaching them how to kitesurf and eventually how to kitefoil. This process is faster than most people think as children easily adapt to new circumstances.

'I already knew how to sail and windsurf, before I started kitesurfing. I fell in love with the kitesurfing sport as soon as I started! Kitesurfing is great(!), you go fast, you jump high and making progress is way easier than with windsurfing or sailing. My friend Justin recently started kiting so I was very happy to have a kite mate. The only difference was that he started on a hydrofoil. I asked Justin if he could teach me how to foil and luckily, he said yes. There was one problem, he only had an old and small kite. We made a deal: he would teach me how to kitefoil, and he could have my spare 12 m2 kite with bar. That's how we got a complete foil set and we practiced together', says Mathijs Detering (part of the Youth Participation program).

Mathijs continues, 'Maxim van den Pol (co-founder of the Caribbean Foiling Championships) was my former sailing coach. He told me about the Caribbean Foiling Championships and now Justin and I participate in the youth program of the foil-event. I am looking forward to the Caribbean Foiling Championships and I am really happy with the opportunity they gave me. Only four months to practice for the race so I will be training whenever I can!

If you would like to see their progress please follow the Caribbean Foiling Championships Facebook and Instagram or come to the Caribbean Foiling Championships in Orient Bay (St. Martin) on February 21-22-23, 2020.

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