Jamie Overbeek-The rising star of the big air kitesurfing

Have you heard about Jamie Overbeek? You've probably seen videos of him flying high above 30m with his kitesurf. Few days ago we asked him some  questions. Find out the world of this inspiring young Dutch talent.
 
Funny fact about you: I got autism.
Guilty pleasure: Frikandel broodje.
Favourite kite practise: big air and overpower airstyle riding.
Favourite trick: backroll contraloop with double or triple rotation.
Hidden dream: nothing hidden, i just want that world height record.
Your next height record:35+ meters.
Person who inspire you: no one in particular but i respect some of the upcoming talents.
  • Hi Jamie, could you please introduce yourself and tell us more about your practice of kite-surf?
I'm Jamie 16 years old living in the east of the Netherlands and I am a big air kiteboarder.
At about 6 years old I got my first two liner kite on vacation in Denmark, the next three years this evolved in flying bigger kites, just on the beach doing slides and jumps.
At 9 years old I did a landboard course in Denmark and the same year I started kitesurfing in Holland. It got noticed I did have some kind of a talent in kitesurfing and pretty soon I got supported by Flysurfer and after that I moved on to Ozone where I signed up and am their international big air teamrider.
I don't just limit my riding to one discipline but try to combine Landboarding, big air kitesurfing, hydrofoil big air, wingfoiling and longboardkiting. Another big difference between me and most big air riders is that I use both inflatable and foil kites.
  • We often see you and your brother ride together, what does it mean to you? And what is the best moment you have shared?
It means a lot, we can challenge each other and share our thoughts on gear, sessions and tricks. I think our most epic moment was challenging storm Eunice and surviving those sick conditions.
jamie overbeek and his brother
  • In February, you beat the European height record, can you tell us more about this crazy day?
Well we just returned from Capetown when a series of storms was forecasted in Holland, it looked like storm Eunice would be the strongest.
We carefully planned, compared the different forecasts to get an idea of when the conditions would be best to hit the water.  It looked to be not that strong until about 14.00 pm, than a sudden direction change from south to south-west would make the wind speed increase dramatically and there would be a possible riding window for max 1,5-2 hours after that wind speeds would reach 70 knots, there's a limit to everything and that wouldn't be safe anymore.
We drove away from home at about 12.00 o'clock and managed to get there in time. As we arrived it was just about 30-35 knots, we setup our gear, both on the Ozone Edge V11 7.0 with for security reasons both a brand new bar on 23 mtr. lines. We went out not really powered, i pulled a few kiteloops to warm up and within 15 minutes the direction changed to south-west and wind speed was picking up dramatically to about 50 knots in an instance. There were one meter waves on the otherwise flat water spot and our kites were jellyfishing like crazy because of the extremely strong gusts.
We managed to survive for about 35-40 minutes and it went crazy high. We had all our kite friends watching on the beach, supporting us.
After that first sesh we took a break, time to do a WOO read out. I knew I went crazy high but just how high remained the question.

The results came in, score 34,6 mtr. according to WOO just 20 cm shy of the world record.

To be honest I was disappointed and wanted a revanche and decided to go for a second sesh. Meanwhile winds were gusting 60 knots and my brother Sean was done, he didn't want to risk it anymore. I just wanted one more shot at the world record. Sean and my dad had a 10 minute struggle to finally get me on my board and I set off for the highest jump I ever made, at least that was my gut feeling. My WOO didn't agree and recorded 34,3 m. Another disappointment but luckily we got it on video and there was and is still a lot of debate about this jump, it looked and felt higher. In the end I'm glad I improved the european record and survived the storm without injury, just a little dent in my ego but I will fix that next time.
  • Do you have fears? How do you take advantage of them?
To be honest, if you only slightly have fears or lack of confidence you shouldn't be trying to be at the top of the current big air.
You should know though the limits of your potential and know when to stop, the point of stopping would be different for every rider.
My rule is, if you are losing control and your kite is taking over it's not your place to be out there anymore. So no i don't really have fears but huge respect for the forces of mother nature and common sense challenging it.
jamie overbeek kitesurfing
  • How do you prepare yourself (physically and mentally) to keep on performing and breaking new records?
It's a drive that's in me, the will to outperform myself every single time. If i see an epic forecast on the horizon, it's the only thing in my mind. I visualize the coming session and dream of riding. Even if I break the world record, I still won't stop and reach for new boundaries.
Physically I prepare by riding every session I can get and doing daily workouts to strengthen my core.
  • How do you train when there is no wind? What kind of exercise?
Like I said, I perform multiple disciplines, no wind is relative, in case of hydrofoiling I can get out in as much as 6 knots. From 10-15 knots on I can train big air on hydrofoil and reach 10-15 mtr. height already. This means that there is virtually not a day nothing is possible. Same story for landboarding and longboard kiting, there is always something kite related to train.
  • How do you manage to go to school and train as a high-level athlete?
I got a special arrangement with school for training and competing, if my school results are as expected I enjoy special leave. At the moment I am graduating and if all goes well I have been granted exemption for next year and I will be able to fully focus on my kiteboarding career.
  • What are you goals for this season? and the next one?
Participating in some major events, I have already been selected for the Red Bull Megaloop Challenge. I'm hoping to make the cut for the GKA big air 20th of june until 6th of juli in Tarifa. In September the Cold Hawaii games in Denmark are on my bucket list ( participated already twice there ) and the big dream would be riding at KOTA in South Africa ( September-2022 - February-2023 )
  • What's the main attraction of big air for you personally?
The feeling of freedom and the adrenaline rush would cover the question.
  • What's the worst wipe out you've ever had?
Breaking both wrists at the same time during landboarding and a knee injury as a result of a bad timed kicker wave.
  • You've been traveling a lot already looking for the best spots, how important is the adventurous aspect of kiting for you?
It's not particularly about the adventure but essential for the best conditions to keep your level up to speed and keep up with the progression other riders make.
The Netherlands is just too inconsistent in providing good training conditions on a regular basis. Still it is of course great to dive into other cultures and meet lots of new friends at wonderful places all over the world.
  • The Olympic Games will take place in Paris in 2024. It is almost at home, do you have this event in mind? Is it just a dream or a goal to participate?
Because of my hydrofoil background I've been asked already 2 years back to train for Paris 2024 and make the Dutch team. I declined the offer because i wasn't prepared to focus on race only and sacrifice my big air dream. So for me Olympics are no dream or goal, only if they decide to take the big air discipline in the line-up I would be on the front row to be part of that. In my perception this won't happen on twintip, maybe hydrofoil would have a chance because it needs less wind.
  • Most of the people are aware of climate change and all the consequences on the planet, are you sensitive to that point? How do you try to have a positive impact every day?
Climate change is a matter that impacts everyone, we riders notice quick change in conditions, short periods of extreme conditions followed by longer periods of virtually not rideable conditions. I honestly believe we are beyond the point of halting this process. We might be able to slow it down but I notice people are prepared to change as long as it doesn't impact their lives too much.
We should focus more on sustainability and not produce disposable but reusable quality products that are meant to last and not to break down after a certain period.
I personally try to not consume for the sake of consuming, respect nature and simply try to produce as little waste as possible. For example some of my old kites were recycled and have a second life as bags now.
But I realize I'm also part of the problem because I have to travel to stay on top of my game and I contribute to the use of fossil fuels leading to pollution. Hopefully systems will eventually change and clean affordable energy sources will be widely available for everyone in the near future.
  • Last question, did you know about the brand Suay Hype? What do you think about it?
I got to know Suay Hype on Instagram, was intrigued by your story and the way you try to market a sustainable product through the whole chain. I'm glad I am able to promote the good work you do and let people know there are perfect alternatives that care about the future of our planet.
Thanks Jamie and we wish you a lot of fun and new records for the next years.
Utrecht, 20/05/22
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