Steven just joined the dutch CORE Team and brought home a sick video from his latest trip to Tarifa. Reasons enough to ask him a few questions.
Hi Steven, please introduce yourself.
Hi guys, my name is Steven Akkersdijk and I just became a teamrider at CORE Kites and CARVED Kiteboards. I was born on the 1st of June 1993 in Rotterdam the Netherlands.
Two years ago I finished highschool and because I was so much into kiting I decided to take a year off. First I did a roadtrip with my dad and later that year I got a job as kitesurfinstructor on Aruba. enjoyed that year so much, that I decided to add a second year and by now I am even starting my third year of traveling around and kiting.
At the moment I spent almost no time in Rotterdam, especially not in summer when I spend most of my time instructing in Workum During winter I try to spent my time abroad at a tropical location to combine working and kiting. The past winters I have been working on Aruba and Costa Rica.
Throughout the years I did a few competitions. I became 5th at the Dutch Championship in 2010 and 4th overall at the long distance races at the Aruba Hi-Winds in 2011.
When and how did you get into kiteboarding?
I have been kitesurfing ever since June 2007. Before that I was windsurfing, but since I did well in school my dad rewarded me with kitesurfing lessons. I was sold on it straight away. One year later, I dropped out of windsurfing and fully committed to kiting. Learning fun tricks
What are your favorite places for kiting?
Since I was still in school during my first years of kiting, I have been kiting around Rotterdam a lot. We had an awesome spot called "the Slufter" where we had a lagoon at low tide and some waves at high tide. This spot was awesome as we had some nice kickers and totally flat water to do our tricks. So even with the wind pumping at 25-30 knots the water was still flat.
On top it worked in most wind directions. Unfortunately they closed the spot down as they started working on the new harbour about 2 years ago.
Workum is a spot I keep returning to. In summer 2007 me and my dad went on vacation there and the people I got to know as well as the good kiting conditions made me come back every year.
Later I even started working there as an instructor.
Over there we stay at a 1 minute walking distance from the beach, so if there is wind, we’re on the water. 11 knots - no problem, just playing around with a skimboard. 30-40 knots - let's get loopy! Last summer we had an average of 5 days a week!
What do you do on those 2 days without wind?
Throughout the years I picked up a lot of sports like surfing, slacklining or skimboarding. When there is no wind in Workum there is always some sports to do with friends and otherwise I don't mind hanging at a campfire with a beer in the hand.
We’ve seen your Tarifa Movie! Why did you choose Tarifa as training ground?
Last april I was in Tarifa with a friend for 4 weeks. While everyone in Holland was still kiting in a 5/3 with caps, shoes and gloves, I was kiting in a 4/3 shortknee, with warm hands and feet. Tarifa was a good place to go for me because I wanted to train for the competitions in the upcoming season. And in todays competitions it is a lot about wakestyle.
When we came to Tarifa it was even better than what we had hoped for. The wind was steady at around the 20kts, and the lagoon was filled. This made it the perfect training ground.
Although the wind was blowing almost every day there is more to do than just kiting. We found an awesome road for longboarding. It located on a hill and as straight as straight can be, so we could race down and do some nice carving turns.
One of the best days was the one we decided to go to Gibraltar. It all started off a bit annoying because to get in with the car you had to queue for like 4 hours. So we decided to park the car in front and walk over the border. After a long walk through the busy main street we arrived at the cable car up to the rock.
The whole purpose of going there was thing… seeing MONKEYS!! And fortunately we saw loads of them. Actually those guys are bullies stealing M&M's out of cars or simply taking it out of your hands/pockets if you don’t choose to give it to them voluntarily.
If you stick a camera in their face they suddenly behave all cool and chill out in an obvious way. It was so cool to hang out with them and see how they own the rock.
How do you like the new Imperator with CARTAN carbon?
It was in Tarifa that I got a ride on my new Carved Imperator VSE. When I perform wakestyle tricks I search for a board with loads of pop. Most of the times this means a stiff board that is a hell to ride in choppy conditions. The Carved Imperator has the pop I search for, but I was surprised about the control and comfort I had in chop. We had a day with winds reaching up to 32kts and I was riding my 9m Core GTS. Although the board I ride is fairly big (135x41,5) I had no problems handling all of the power, and easily kept my edge. This became an awesome megaloop session!
What’s your favorite trick? Anything special you’re working on at the moment?
I love to get my heart pumping with big megaloops when the wind is nuking, but when the wind slows down I also get a really good feeling from unhooked tricks. At the moment I am still trying to get a Frontmobe down and get my Blind Judge 3, Heart Attack and KGB steady.
I see kiting as playing around, so when wakestyle does not work for a day, I go oldschool or try some jumps with the skimboard. Kiting is full of styles and I like to try all of them!
What are your plans for this season?
This season I’ll be at lots of local competitions in Holland, but it already started off with a big bang!
The PKRA came to Holland on the 15th of May and I competed as well as a lot of my friends, which made it a fun week. We had to do the trials at first to qualify for the main event.
There were 3 rounds and I became 2nd in all 3 of them. Unfortunately it was not enough to get into the main event, but seeing whom I beat in the trials made me smile. Some of them had a lot of experience in competition riding. Right now, the PKRA level is too high for me, but you will definitely see me in the KTE.
On top of competing I will be teaching a lot in Workum to earn some money for my upcoming trip in the winter, that still needs to be decided on. I would like to start off with Brazil in October, November and December and later go to Zanzibar to work as an instructor again.
Anything to add?
If you are interested in the latest news about my kiting check out my Facebook page.
Thanks for the interview!
Life is a journey. Kiteboarding has taken us to the best spots on the planet and allowed us to get to know the local kiters from all corners of the globe. At the same time we have been able to delve into the technology behind the products that we use on a daily basis and catch a glimpse behind the scenes of the kite industry. There are many interesting characters behind the products and it became clear to us, that CORE is not only made up of a team from the Fehmarn Island but instead is made up of people from the world’s beaches. Therefore we became a part of something much bigger.
The idea behind our web-experiment CoreNation is to allow us to share our experiences with you. We want to take you with us on our journeys and share our adventures, experiences and our daily work with you. Enjoy!