The world cup seen through the eyes of a rider

CHRISTINE BÖNNIGER

Photo credit: Reemedia

She is quite small and appears to be a bit shy, but wow, this girl can kitesurf! If you meet her on the water, make sure to keep your distance.

Christine lives and studies biology in Kiel, and is one of the youngest and most promising kitesurf racers here in Germany, with one goal in mind: to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. At the Kitesurf World Cup in St.Peter Ording she certainly proved her talent and finished second over all after a breathtaking close run with the European Champion in race from 2010 and 2011.

Here is how Christine experienced the 10 days of competition in sunshine, rain and storm in St. Peter Ording:

1. Are you excited every time such an event as the Kitesurf World Cup in St. Peter Ording?
Yes, of course! The PKRA event in Germany is the biggest kitesurfing event in the world. It is a wonderful way to meet new people and reconnect with old friends and spend a nice time together. But of course, for me it is primarily a competition and therefore not a camping trip, as for most.
2. How did you prepare for the event?
Lately, I am almost exclusively on my race board. Before St. Peter-Ording, I was training every day with my team. It is important to secure all maneuvers (turns, jibing). And you can not practice often enough. Another thing which I am focusing on for the event are the local conditions: What are the conditions there? Is it current? How it runs? SPO is also well known for big waves. Since I usually practice in light winds and very shallow water, I went just before to train in strong winds and waves.
3. What is the absolute best event to participate in?

Primarily the competitions. For this reason alone we all come to SPO. But what makes the KSWC in SPO’s just not like any other event has to be the atmosphere and beach parties. The whole set-up is just gigantic. But for me it’s just the greatest thing when I get on the water and I am driven by my goal to be first.
4. And the worst?
KSWC visitors, who are mainly interested in just the celebrations. It is not particularly great if you go just for the night, because of the overnight parking HalliGalli and loud noise. I find it to be not so great when I drive to the beach the next morning to find broken glass scattered in the sand. :/

5. What exactly do you find so fascinating regarding racing?
In the course racing, the kiter is alone and must get through the the course the. On the one side it is a struggle with the kiter him/herself and on the other side it is a direct test of strength and their opponent. We experience freestyle almost every day of the competition and the decisions of the judges cannot be traced

6. Do you have someone who supports you during the event? A caddy or even a whole team?
I am supported by so many people. My friend Jonas is to be mentioned as my most important part. He, like a caddy, takes care of my gear and-in particular-damage to the board. But he is still at the same time my mental and nutrition coach and my dad, because I’m always nervous at competitions. My fly surfer band is watching my back, and takes care of equipment and I have meetings with the fly surfer-race team on tactics.
7. Where do you live while so actually an event?
I live with my boyfriend in the car. In a small VW Caddy, which converts into a bed. Its a car, but more like a sandbox.: D
8. You bring what you eat there every day? Do you find the food tasty?
We riders need a great breakfast every morning. There is something for every taste. And at noon there are hot meals offered. That was always very tasty. Personally though, I found the best to be the salads for lunch.

9. What would you suggest to the organizers of the World Cup for next year to improve?
I think I can speak for the drivers: please ACTUAL SHOWERS! A garden hose with ice-cold water is not separated from spectators, I never count on having great showers.:-/
Also regarding the tents which store the equipement could use some organization; after just two days, a kiter can hardly find their own gear. I would stress an alternative organization tool, such as boxes. That would defintely help to keep a bit of order because even if things are in a cluster in the box, at least we would still be able to find things.: D
10. If you could choose, where would go for your next trip?
If I’m traveling on, it must be somewhere with  sun and of course warmth. I love blue water! For some time now, I have dreamed about kiting off of a Caribbean island. This race would  combine fun and exercise at different spots, different conditions for wave kiting and freestyle.

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