Alex Maes and Annelous Lammerts join team Cabrinha. Check them out shredding in Hood River, Oregon! Stoked to be with Cabrinha, the two shared their stories and passion for kiteboarding below.
“I grew up in a small village in the south west of the Netherlands. Together with my two brothers and two sisters I was always outside, but even though I lived close to the beach I didn’t start kiteboarding until I was 16 years old. I’m the only kitesurfer in the family, but last year I finally had the chance to get both my parents on the kite and ride a few meters.
In the summer of 2009 I learned to kitesurf and I have been addicted to the wind ever since. After working in our local supermarket for a few months I bought my own gear in November 2009 and the cold couldn’t stop me from kiting. Whenever it was windy I just had to go kitesurfing. Even on the most extreme day there were snowkiters on the beach but I still needed to go for a session in the North Sea.
I lived 17 kilometres from the beach and the only way for me to get there was on my bike. I always cycled to the beach with a cart behind my bike loaded with my gear. I never wanted to take the chance to miss a windy day!
From the beginning I was always trying new things on the water. I love the feeling that I get when I land a new trick; it’s like the feeling I had when I made my first meters on the board. It is the best feeling in the world! Since I was always riding with guys I just wanted to do what they were doing — that definitely helped me to progress a lot from the beginning.
In the summer I got a job at the beachclub on my homespot the Brouwersdam where I was working in the kite shop. I would work there almost every day of the summer, but on windy days they would always give me the time to go for a session. This way I could keep training and at the same time earn money to escape the cold winter. I remember all those evenings cycling back, totally broken but with a big smile on my face after having a good session after a day of work.
At 17 years old I finished my high school and I knew I wanted to see how far I could get with kiteboarding. During the week I usually couldn’t go kiting because of school and work and because I was so addicted, it was super frustrating. Finishing high school was a big relief and I could finally do what I really wanted to do. After working the whole summer I left for 4 months to Brazil, the best place to progress.
When I came back from Brazil I started competing in the European Championships for two years and combined it with working and training. After becoming European Freestyle Champion, I decided to focus on the World Championships. It was amazing to be competing against all the girls I have been looking up to since the beginning. Making my first podium in the World Cup in Egypt my first year on tour is definitely something I will never forget.
Since the Slalom and Freestyle World Cups are usually hosted during the same event I decided to start doing slalom racing as well. I really like the fact that it’s really competitive and really easy to understand — the fastest one wins. I have also been competing in all the big air events. I love all the different possibilities that kiteboarding has to offer.
Together with Alex, I also started riding wakestyle this year. Alex always has been really passionate about wakeboarding and because of him I started too. Since we both really enjoyed wakeboarding we wanted to try to hit the sliders with our kite. Riding the sliders and kickers was a great new challenge. We built our first kicker and slider last winter in Brazil and filmed our Triple S wildcard videos. Going to the Triple S was a great experience; we both have been following the event since the beginning. Since I didn’t have the chance to ride many features with my kite before the event, I was happy with my 5th place. After the Triple S we went straight to Hood River, the only place where the kitepark is always out. The new Cabrinha rail is a perfect addition to the park and definitely my favorite one, since the possibilities on this rail are endless. My first place at the Hood Jam 2016 was an amazing way to end a whole summer of training in the park, and I couldn’t be more happy with my new Cabrinha gear!”
“My name is Alex Maes, I’m 20 years old and i’m from Brussels, Belgium.
I grew up in the windsurf shop (Matos surf & kite shop) of my parents located in west Brussels, Belgium. I’m the only child of the family, full of dreams and aspirations just by looking up at the shop and with the love of my parents, I never had one minute to get bored.
I had to wait until 2005 to finally be able to go into the water because I was really light. I had the chance to have the first version of the Switchblade in 4m which was one of the first kite with a depower. This kite was absolutely amazing, it didn’t matter the conditions, I was always riding this 4m Switchblade. From this moment, I never stopped chasing the dream of being a pro kiteboarder.
In 2014, I dislocated my shoulder which took me a proper two years and two operations to be able to ride freestyle again. During this time I had the chance to start wakeboarding and had the help of my parents to finish high school. Wakeboarding definitely had a massive impact on my vision of kiteboarding. At the time, I was only traveling with my best friend who is 3 years older than me. I always looked up at him like a bigger brother, so when he decided to stopped kiteboarding to wakeboard, I had the give it a try ! I never stopped kiteboarding, as both sports are really beneficial to one another; wakeboarding will definitely make you a better kiteboarder but you can’t beet the freedom that kiteboarding gives you !