How to train for Big Air

Interview with Lasse Walker

Although still being young, LASSE WALKER is one of the most experienced riders in Big Air competition, competing several times at the King of the Air and winner of the Red Bull Megaloop Challenge, Lasse knows what’s important to fly high. Today he’s gonna share some of his experience with us, to also get us even higher!

How long before the King of the Air do you head out to Cape Town?
Usually, the Red Bull King of the Air took place in January/February, and then the whole Cape Town season offered the perfect place and time to train from early November. Since the 2021 edition the new dates are at the beginning of the season at the end of November. Since the winds only start blowing in November, that is when I will head out again.

Do you follow a training program? Who are the coaches you work with regularly?
To stay fit and get stronger I regularly go to the gym with a personal trainer. We really focus on kiting related muscle groups and train so I can kite better. Besides that, I’ve been working a lot with a performance coach. During competitions I used to put a ton of pressure on myself which made me stress a lot and really suffer mentally.

How many days a week do you do off-the-water training?
That is all very dependent on the wind and different every week. If there is no wind at all, I go to the gym three times a week, and do sports like tennis or running for example on other days. But if there is wind, I focus on kiting. This way I can give 100% to what I do.

Give us one exercise that every kiter should be doing in the gym or at home.
Squats! There are many different varieties of squats and all of them work well for strengthening legs and core as well as increasing the range of motion of your lower body. When I started training my legs, I really noticed a difference when kiting. It showed in having much more control when taking off, landing and when overpowered.

 What are your focal points when preparing for a big air event?
When preparing for a big air event I like to focus on myself and what I want to do. I don’t look at other riders but really work on what I consider big air kiteboarding to be. Making sure I’m very secure in my tricks, confident, and then I start praying for strong winds!


Does your day-to-day kite setup vary from your competition setup?
I like to keep it mostly the same. For many years I've been hooked on the Dice and the Dics SLS. These are my go-to kites, I know them, I know how to control them and how to get the maximum performance. All of the kites in the Duotone range have a great similar feeling, but still, I like to keep it the same, so there’s the least amount of variables possible.

At which spot do you train for big air and what makes it so unique?
Like most big air kiters I’m hooked on the Cape Town conditions. The strong and consistent winds with waves make it the best place in the world! Compared to the Netherlands where it is pretty chaotic, Cape Town really provides the dreamy conditions you can only wish for.

What was your biggest air of this season so far? How did you manage to jump this big? What equipment where you on and how did it feel?
The biggest session must have been in Witsand, about a 40-minute drive from Cape Town. There were 5-meter-high waves and wind from 20 to 50 knots. It was a super cool session to ride and feel the extreme rough conditions, although it was pretty much impossible to perform technical tricks, I had a really good time.

What’s your most used Social Media App and where can people find you?
For social media I’m actually mainly focused on Instagram and Facebook. These are the platforms that show my personality and who I am. Check me
@Lasse Walker.

Thanks a lot Lasse for sharing some of your secrets, we hope we’ll be able to get as high and loop as radical as you someday!


Big Air warm-up with reno romeu

Don't forget to do a proper warm-up before you go out for a big air session. We all know: big jumps, can lead to big crashes, thus, a proper warm-up is crucial before hitting the water and sending it. In our latest video Reno Romeu shares with you his trade secrets. In his warm-up routine, Reno focuses on all the major muscle groups and joints that come into play when taking on big moves. Split into two sequences incorporating mobilisation, dynamic and strengthening exercises, Reno’s routine prepares your body for rapid movements as well as hard crashes. You can find this warm-up video also in the Training section of the Kite Academy App. Go send it like there's no tomorrow!


Photo credit: Craig Kolesky