KIRI ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Having been on the verge of global success so many times before, Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) would have been forgiven for perhaps losing faith that he could ever be crowned the champion of the world. However, Thode stayed mentally and physically strong and he was finally rewarded in 2013 as he fended off stiff competition from Steven van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Different) and Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) to be crowned the PWA Freestyle World Champion for the first time in his life, and in doing so realized his childhood dream.
Thode made a strong start to the season finishing third and second in Austria and Fuerteventura respectively, but it was the final two events of the seasons where the Bonairean King really stepped up his game as he won in both the Netherlands and Sylt to secure his maiden world crown. Thode has been a man in high demand since his huge success, but we have finally managed to catch up with him. Read the interview below:
PWA: How are you feeling after winning your first PWA Freestyle World Championship?
KT: “Well it is still shocking for me. I have been fighting many years for this title, it was a childhood dream for me. And it came true! So I'm super stoked for this accomplishment.”
PWA: For the last five years you’ve been so close to winning, being second and third all the time, did you ever start to wonder if you would ever win the title?
KT: “Yes, but I new deep down that one day it will come true. Never lose hope and faith! Just keep fighting to reach your goals:).”
PWA: If you did start to have any doubts about winning, how did you get over them?
KT: “I never really lost faith. After every competition no matter what the outcome was it would give more courage and fighting spirit to try to do better in the next event. Besides having that fighting spirit I can luckily say I have a few of my dearest people who also helped push me to the limit, which I'm thank full to this day.”
PWA: Do you think you sailed or did anything differently this year compared to the last ones that helped you win?
KT: “Hmmm, not really. What I can say is that I normally like to sit down and reflect on how the competition went. For example watch videos of my heats and how the opponent did during the heat, so I can see the differences.”
PWA: Who have been your windsurfing idols?
KT: “Josh Stone (Goya Windsurfing), Matt Pritchard (Tabou / Gaastra).”
PWA: How has the reaction been on Bonaire?
KT: “Well when I arrived they had a big welcome planned out for me, many people were there! I was overwhelmed with the reactions! Most importantly I was given the opportunity to visit different schools on Bonaire where I gave the children a nice motivational speech. There is nothing more great to try to push the youngsters to their limit so they can become the best in anything they want to become!”
PWA: What is your favourite move?
KT: “My favorite move right now is Bulado. This is a combination move I created. It is a Spock into Airbob into Culo.”
PWA: Is there any move that you found really difficult to learn? Which one?
KT: “Hahaha, when I was around 12 years old I had difficulty with 'Flaka’.”
PWA: How have you been celebrating your victory?
KT: “I haven't really celebrate it in a big way YET, but for now being at home and with my dearest ones is the best way to celebrate my victory in a more relaxed way :).”
PWA: What will you be doing for winter?
KT: “I will be staying home for sure. Training is a must, and of course with the nice wind conditions we will be having on Bonaire will make it the best! Without forgetting celebrating the holidays with my closest friends and family.”
PWA: Favorite food and drink?
KT: “On Bonaire we call it "Funchi ku piska" that is a kind of polenta (made with corn flour) with fried fish with a Creole sauce. Especially if its made by my Grandma!”
PWA: Do you think there is any reason in particular why Bonaire produces many of the best freestylers in the world?
PWA: “I think beside being isolated from the world in a way, we are a group of friends and cousins who loves to be on the water everyday. This means that when we are training and doing big things on the water everybody tries to go higher and bigger which push you to a certain limit to the extreme! And of course the different conditions we have on Bonaire, for example our shallow flat waters in Sorobon bay, or our wave choppy Lac bay. A combination of all of this and of course you have to have your own will power makes a great reason that Bonaire produces many of the best freestylers in the world.”
PWA: Thanks Kiri, enjoy your success and we look forward to seeing you defending your title in 2014.