Behind the lens of the Duotone Academy APP

Duotone Kiteboarding Academy Launch Filmmaker Chris Zarfl

Chris Zarfl has been part of the Duotone Academy APP since the beginning. A competitive and passionate windsurfer and kiteboarder, he’s a specialist in multimedia supported training methods, producing some of the biggest digital sports coaching projects worldwide.

Finally he can share why he wanted to be part of the project, what it was like to work with the riders and why the APP is a game changer.

Duotone Kiteboarding Academy Launch Behind the lens

Hi Chris, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to being involved in the Duotone Academy. 

I finished my scientific studies with a thesis about multimedia supported training methods in sports 2004. Since then, my company has finished some of the biggest digital sports coaching projects worldwide such as the Bergfex skiing Academy and the F2 Virtual Trainer 2005 - 2007.

I competed on the PWA Windsurf World Tour (Freestyle), PKRA Kite Tour and Snowkite World Championships in Silvaplana Lake. With my growing passion for kitesurfing, it was a logical step to think about a Kitesurfing Academy. I talked to Thomas Kaiser, Head of Marketing at Duotone Kiteboarding, about the idea and it took us two years to get the project started. In 2015, we went to Union Island for the first time and shot about 40 videos, during which, Thomas Kaiser was preparing the old, North Kiteboarding APP, so the videos could be implemented. 

This was the first stage of the kiteboarding academy and due to the great success, Tommy decided that we should go one step further. Now, I think it is a huge step further. There were no compromises. We organised the best camera on the market so we could deliver in 4K + super slow motion. All the footage was shot on the new Red Gemini in stunning RAW quality. I went to the Caribbean with about 20 hard drives. I am quite sure we went to the best spot, Union Island. Consistent winds, the most beautiful scenery you can imagine and Jeremie Tronet has an awesome infrastructure at his kite centre.

How did you find working with the riders? 

Jeremie is a former professional kiteboarder and has lots of teaching experience. He is also a brilliant videographer and photographer, which helped a lot. We mainly shot the hooked and basic moves which sounds easy, but to be honest, the beginner moves are the hardest. There are a lot of kitesurf teaching techniques around the world which differ quite a lot. My job as a sports scientist was to figure out which ones are the best and how to adapt them for the video learning process. Finally, we had lots of discussions, sometimes they felt endless, about the right teaching techniques. I think those discussions were one of the hardest parts for all of us. The great thing was that we had a huge team to join the discussions, including 3 world champions.

For me, Airton Cozzolino is one of the most creative athletes I have ever met, Matchu Lopes who was there for the wave shooting impressed me with his awesome style and last but not least, King of Freestyle Aaron Hadlow. 

The work with Aaron was really special. As I didn´t know him, I thought that the king of freestyle wouldn’t care too much about a project like this. But it was totally the opposite. I have never worked with an athlete who cared so much. He started working on a spreadsheet with all the freestyle moves imaginable and sorted in a logical way. Every day, after shooting we sat down in front of the laptop for hours, sorting the best moves and discussing how we could improve the whole Academy. 

Duotone Kiteboarding Academy Launch Behind the lens Chris Sandra Aaron

Once you captured the clips, what was next?


We came home from the Caribbean with about 200 texts to write, 200 voiceovers to make, 200 videos to edit and 800 animations to create for this project. I think this was the biggest project we ever finished in such a short time. I thought the biggest challenge would be to find great editors who also know a lot about kitesurfing. In the end, I found 4 editors who were working as kitesurfing instructors which the perfect combination.


What makes this project so special?

What makes this project special is that it was created by a big team of experts and leaders within their disciplines. It’s the biggest and highest quality kitesurfing media project to date and will bring huge advantages to users worldwide. 

There were thousands of hours of hard work involved in this project, but looking back, I have to say every second was worth it! The Duotone Kiteboarding Academy will support thousands of passionate kitesurfers and there’s nothing more rewarding than sharing the stoke for a sport you really love.