How I placed 2nd in the world with a 33m jump

It all started when Woo announced that they will be having a world championships for who can jump the highest. The rules were simple; anyone in the world could compete, find the strongest wind possible, put your Woo device on your board and record your session, jump higher than everyone else, and lastly upload your session. Simple right? Well that is what I thought when the competition started because I live in Cape Town – the home of breaking Woo records and I am fairly confident in my ability to do so. Well that was not the case at all.

The competition was set from the 1st of September until the 29th of September , a 29 day period. You were allowed to travel anywhere in the world to find the strongest wind and the best conditions possible. Luckily for me I live in Cape Town so I did not have to travel very far.

The problem with Cape Town in September is that the predominant SE wind is very scarce due to the fact that our kiting season only usually starts around October. So it was very possible that even with living in Cape Town that I would have had to of ended up travelling, but luckily that was not the case once the 17th of September arrived.

On the 17th of September I had noticed quite a nice forecast that had built in Kommetjie, Witsand. I was not expecting it to come through strong enough to try and do any significant jumps, so I ended up going with my friend and he was going to practice a few jumps and I was going to wave ride. Unluckily for me after an hour of wave riding the wind decided to come through and it was absolutely nuking.

I ended up packing my wave gear away and running to the car to grab my Woo. Unfortunately I did not have my Big Air gear with me so I ended up stealing borrowing my friends gear. He was on the Omega, which is our All-Round kite and is not specifically designed for massive jumps so I was not on the most optimal gear for the situation. Nonetheless I managed to score a 29.1m jump temporarily putting me in 2nd place overall, but I knew that it would not last very long as there was a massive storm approaching the Netherlands within the next week. I was upset with myself that I did not bring my gear with for that exact reason, but at the same time I was stoked to have scored such a massive jump on our 3 strut all round kite. Besides from that, I knew that it was not the end and I still had to secure another massive session to take the win.

The next best thing on the charts was the opposite of the conditions I was waiting for. There ended up being a massive winter low pressure system passing by just 3 hours away from where I live on the 18th of September, the day after I was at Kommetjie. It was predicting 40 knot gusts with 4.6m – 5.5m swell with a 18 second wave period. For those are you that are uncertain what that means, just know its massive. So I packed the car that night and let the next morning at 5am as the strongest part of the storm was meant to arrive between 9am – 11am.

When I arrived at the first spot it was not as strong as I was hoping for and the waves were nothing like predicted. I was extremely disappointed after all that driving and preparation. It was a very dismal first session and I was ready to pack up and go home. On the way out we drove past this spot and there it was. Waves so big I couldn’t even see the horizon, absolutely nuking wind and the whole place to myself. We drove to a spot where I could launch my kite as the whole coast line was very sharp and big jagged rocks.

It was one of the sketchiest sessions I have ever had and there is a reason why no one ever kites it. The waves were so big that I had to tack over 1km out to see to get open faces to take off on and if something were to happen to me out there I would of 100% drown. The waves were 5 times overhead and coming from all directions, it was absolute carnage out there. When I was riding between the waves I could not see land at all as the swell was completely covering the horizon all around me. With all that being said, it was one of the most adrenaline pumping sessions of my life and I absolutely loved it. I unfortunately did not push it to hard as it was extremely unsafe to be that far out all alone, so I only managed to secure a 28.1m jump, not what I was hoping for.

Days went by and I was getting pushed further and further down the leaderboard as all there were big storms coming through in the Netherlands and everyone was breaking the 30m + barrier. I was down to 10th place at one point and there was no wind on the forecast. All I could do is wait as I could not travel due to COVID related travel bans in South Africa. Every day, 5 times a day I would check the forecast and it was just looking so dismal. I thought it was all over for me as there was nowhere in South Africa with Strong winds. It wasn’t until the forecast of the 29th appeared on the charts. The last day of the competition. It was not looking to strong, but it was the right direction and with living in Cape Town my whole life I knew that it was just going to keep building and building. The 29th finally arrived and it was on!

I arrived at the spot at 11am as I wanted to kite the whole day to maximize my opportunity to take the crown. I ended up having 3 sessions that day and each one stronger and better than the previous. the first session I managed to score a 29.1m jump, which wasn’t to bad considering the wind still had to built a lot. The second session I managed to score a 32.9m jump, which was my new PR and put me into 3rd overall in the Woo Worlds. Then finally my third session I managed to score a 33m jump putting my 2nd overall. There was so much pressure as I knew that it was the very last day to claim that throne and I tried my absolute best. The wind began dying off towards the end of my 3rd session so there was no point in going out again to try beat it once more. I was content and stoked to have placed 2nd in the World.