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Close Up: Adam Koch

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Name: Adam Koch
Age: Somewhere between birth and feeding the earth…
Years Kiting: Over a decade
Favorite Spots: Wherever there is wind and water, but I tend to migrate between the west coast and Maui
Favorite Conditions: Whatever Mother Nature tosses at me
Favorite Moves: Anything with style and intention usually catches my attention
Sponsors: Team Fluid (http://www.teamfluid.com)

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GEAR SET-UP

Boards: Aguera CR 59
Kites: Ozone Edge
Harness: DaKine NRG (waist)

TIPS

  • 1. Enjoy.
  • 2. Focus on a broad goal and don’t get ahead of yourself.
  • 3. Stop talking about it and do it already! If at first it seems too difficult, that means you just need more practice. Visualization counts as practice. The BEST simply means the most PRACTICED.

If you’ve been following kiteboarding for a number of years then you have probably heard of Adam Koch. Adam grew up racing small sailboats in Seattle before finding his way to kiteboarding in 1998-1999.

One of the early professional riders, Adam was a star of the early kiteboarding movies and magazines when Maui was the center of the world. At the same time, he pursued an Olympic sailing campaign with Morgan Larson, a world-class sailor.

Adam stepped away from kiteboarding for awhile to start a family, but now he’s back, and this time he’s combining his love of sailboat racing and kiteboarding while traveling from competition to competition. “Now I get to live out of my board bag once again! Life is amazing if you let it be. Who dosent love a good second chance at fun?” said Adam, who is the 2010 IKA Kiteboarding Course Racing World Champion.

First thing first. How do you pronounce your last name?
Cook. My great grandfather translated it from German to English.

You were one of kiteboarding’s early pro riders. How did you get started?
I taught myself in Seattle while working for a windsurfing/board riding shop called Urban Surf. I remember leaving the beach every session completely alone, ignorant, curious, and for sure not coming back to the same beach I launched from. Every session I swam into someplace very sketchy and new, usually swimming through a busy shipping channel and often times climbing up random docks, boats, rocks, and walls. I have even been rescued in the middle of Puget Sound by a large commercial fishing boat in 30° temperatures. I guess you could say I get stupidly motivated when I’m in love.

How is being a pro rider now different from back then?
Well, technically I’m not a professional kiteboarder anymore. The only income I make through kiteboarding is by shooting it with a camera. I’m a free agent and that’s what Team Fluid is – we ride what we choose, which actually says a lot about what we ride. I just paid full pop for a new Aguera board and I’m proud of it even though I may have to sleep in my truck a bit longer to make it happen. Lately, I’ve rolled into kiting locations where ten years ago we were alone just trying to figure out how to get out and back safely. Now I can’t lay out my lines without catching a kite or being asked for a launch. I’m stoked to see so many new people in this sport. It’s very refreshing. I love this sport!

Photo Adam Koch

Have any other sports or disciplines helped influence your kiteboarding?
Sailing, paragliding, windsurfing, surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, waterskiing – tons of different sports can be applied to kiteboarding. That’s why I love it so much. If I’m bored of racing I’ll just change what’s under my feet.

What do you do off the water to help you on the water?
Visualization, let downs (reverse push-ups), and some leg strengthening exercises, but nothing replaces time on the water. I learned in sailboat training that it’s best to focus on your opposite muscles to encourage a balanced body. Your body is the most important piece of equipment in the equation. My brother Andrew and I do all of our own rigging and fine tuning – countless hours of measuring, re-measuring, splicing, sanding, molding, testing, breaking, and re-building just to make sure we are dialed for one regatta. I worked very hard for three weeks straight before the World Championships to make sure we were over-prepared from every possible angle.

What do you think about the prospects of getting kiteboarding into the Olympics? Is this a good thing for the sport?
The prospects are huge. It out performs everything else in the sailing category and it’s affordable to buy and travel with. The real question is how would it NOT help our sport? Actually, I think we have more to offer the Olympics in the long run than it has to offer us, but initially it will help us get ourselves together as a sport. I’m already witnessing this just with the discussion of the Olympic potential. Without a doubt kiteboarding is physically demanding and exciting to watch and do. The Olympics bring out the true athlete in those who give themselves to it. I would be honored to be a part of that tradition.

If someone is interested in getting into racing, where should they start?
There are a lot of races going on in San Francisco through the Cabrinha Race Series. Seattle has a series as well as Squamish (Canada) and Hood River. Naish has also started a series in the Hawaiian Islands and there’s a lot going on in Florida. I was supposed to be in Hood River a month ago, but with the high caliber of races and racers in the area I can’t seem to leave San Francisco. For the last two months it seems there is a regatta every week and weekend.

What is something about you that you do outside of kiteboarding most people wouldn’t know?
I am still recovering from two clavicle surgeries on my left shoulder from doing stupid stunts on mountain bikes. My surgeon recommended I sell my bike!

Do you still get out there for freestyle or wave sessions, or are you completely dedicated to racing?
I will love waves forever and I’m working on a new freestyle board to suit my style. Anyone who knows me will tell you I get obsessively focused on one thing, but now that I’m older and wiser I think I could surprise myself a few more times in this lifetime.

What are your must-haves that you can’t live without?
Growth, fun, wind, water, dirt, friends, and love.

Any words of wisdom you want to share with our readers?
Think for yourself; only you know what’s best for you. Opinions are the cheapest commodity available. Everybody has them and wants to give them away for free. Sift through them and hang onto the ones that make you feel good.

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