Jaime Exclusive - Tarifa Strapless Pro
Tarifa; a kiteboarding mecca and a place with so much wind sport history that it needs no introduction. Many Kiteboarding legends have emerged, lived, trained or grown up here, along with events like the Tarifa Strapless Pro which will be going into its third year for 2017 from the 28th June - 2nd July.
Longstanding Team Rider and all-round waterman Jaime Herraiz has played a fundamental part in conceptualising and running the event which draws in an international list of the world’s best riders, along with a huge global audience who will be there to watch the epic event.
We catch up with Jaime to hear more about the event, the style of riding and what we can expect for 2017.
How has the Tarifa Strapless event grown since it first started?
The first invitational we organised in 2015 set the standard. It was the start of what would later become a discipline in its own right and a legitimate World Tour.
What makes Tarifa the perfect spot for the event?
I think Tarifa has been the most forward-thinking destination in the world. The vibe on its 12km long sandy beach has always been very welcoming to new trends and when the Andalusian spirit merges with the athletes, it’s a show that has no equivalents in our industry.
You’ve seen Kiteboarding grow since the very start. What do you think of all the emerging styles of riding and did you ever think that the sport could have so many different ways to ride?
To be honest, I must admit I didn't even see it coming. The level of the riders, the evolution of the sport and equipment, especially the incredibly gifted athletes across every single discipline, I’m in constant awe of it all. I was scared I would loose motivation to keep riding through the years, but the way the sport is evolving I’m more hooked on Kiteboarding than ever before.
How creative do the top strapless riders have to be?
I believe the perfect combination for a well balanced rider sums up the requirements for any type of World Champion. In our discipline the rider has to have a good surfing background and surfing abilities, plus superb kite control and a great level in freestyle. In my position at the GKA I force myself not to have any favouritism. I'm a huge fan of the pack and I enjoy watching them pushing the envelope with the camaraderie they all share.
What do you think of the 2017 North Kiteboarding range?
I'm proud of how our company has been pushing it from all ends. Our designers have been continuously challenged, creating amazing things with our production facilities. Our company has invested great deal in everything it produces and I’m a huge NEO fan! This kite, in combination with my Whip 5’2, has been an incredible help in pushing my strapless freestyle riding and new moves. The new Click Bar is a milestone on our sport and I couldn't imagine riding without it anymore.
What’s exciting about this year’s event?
Loads of things starting with the level of the riders and their strategies for this season. The strong wave riders will step up their game in the more freestyle oriented tour stops, whilst the level in the waves will continue to rise. For the last few months the guys have been hiding away and training hard so I'm curious to see on what's on their menu.
For me, the big question mark always hangs over the spectators and beach goers, and how they’ll react to the Tarifa Strapless Pro. In the past we’ve reached epic levels of rider / crowd interaction never seen before in the industry. It would be amazing to continue down this route of creating an insane experience for everyone, and see whether this discipline and it’s riders can take it even further. It’s going to be great!