Free agent Overbeek reflects on first major win

Published 27th May 2024 by Ian MacKinnon


Dutch rider feels his dedication to training in all conditions gave him vital edge in Big Air season opener at Barcarès

The Dutch rider Jamie Overbeek scored his first big win at the GKA Lords of Tram in France with the highest trick and heat scores of the competition. Overbeek, 18, is without a major kite sponsor after parting company with his previous brand earlier in the year, leaving him free choose any kite in competition. Overbeek explained to Kitesurf365 podcast how training at home in Holland in lighter conditions gave him the edge and told of his plans for the upcoming Big Air stop in Gran Canaria in July.

Question: Congratulations. How’s it feel . . . winning such a prestigious event?

Jamie Overbeek: Yeah, it feels super good. But I’m not really feeling different because of the way I’m just the same person.

 Q: How many other kites did you ride before you decided to go with the [Duotone Evo] D/Lab and the [Harlem] Force? Did you did you ride every kite out there.

JO: I didn’t try every kite that’s out there. I only rode the winning models. I’m a very experienced kiter and I know what I see with my own eyes when someone is riding a kite. And I can already see what are the best kites out there, so I tried those models.

Q: You ride in all types of conditions. I’ve seen you in Cape Town, if it’s 10 knots to 50 knots, you’re out there. You’re on the foil kite. Do you think that helps you in a place like Barcarès where the conditions are so up and down. Our Big Air competitors are getting so addicted to the strongest winds. But if you look at competitions, those strong winds come very rarely. Do you think your ability to ride in all types of conditions helps you in those types of events? 

JO: Yes, because almost all of my training hours are on my 10, 15 or 18 metre kites in Holland, with mostly winds under 20 knots. I think for me it’s almost the best training there is. If you get the chance to train a lot of loops, do it. But light-wind training on a big kite, even if it’s a 12 or 14 metre tube kite, will help a lot as well. Because you can train all the movements over and over, without really a risk factor. So you’re not going to injure yourself if you’re trying crazy stuff. I think it helps me a lot.

‘Super-awesome for training’

Q: After the final [at Lords of Tram] you spoke about being really patient out there. With the conditions being so tricky. Can you feel the gusts coming?

JO: Mostly when the wind is completely dropping over there, the wind is going to be there again in three to five minutes. So you’ve got to be patient for that. I know the spot. When there’s a little opening where we’re waiting to jump and sometimes you can slowly hear the wind blowing through. Then you know the wind’s gonna be there in a minute.

But when the conditions are really bad on a day and you’ve only got those gusts that come really fast, then you’ve got to ride immediately because it’s going to be gone in half a minute. So, it’s a really hard spot to ride. But when you understand it, you can profit from it.

But [Barcarès] is super-awesome for training. In my opinion, it’s the best spot for training. You’ve just got to pull the bar and pull your kite-loop because you’re probably gonna get caught if you time the gusts well. You’re going to get a lot of height; a lot of airtime, because of the Tramontana. 

But if you’re in a competition you just can’t wait for the gusts because you have a minute to jump. 

So you have to jump even if the gust is not there. Only on the really, really good days over there is it consistently super-windy. But on most days, it’s like two or three minutes on, and two, three minutes off. So it’s super hard to ride in competition there.

‘Gonna win it’

Q: We’ve got potentially two stops left in this world championship. We’ve got Gran Canaria and then they’re talking about Brazil. Have you been to Gran Canaria and Brazil before? 

JO: No I’ve never been there. I’ve never been in Brazil and never go down to Gran Canaria to train.

Q: Do you find that you’re OK going to a spot for the first time, just talk to some locals and get a feel, or do you normally like to ride it a few times and see how you feel? 

JO: Before I ride in competition I really need to ride on the spot. I can’t, I won’t, go into the competition without riding the spot.

Q: So before Gran Canaria are you going to go down at least a week earlier? 

JO: If I’m going to compete there, I will definitely go for one or two sessions before the competition.

Q: I feel [at Barcarès] we’ve opened this new kind of Jamie up who wants to win titles and wants to be recognised as the best. 

JO: I think my mindset was totally different this time [from] the [Red Bull King of the Air] Kota into 2022 [where Overbeek, then 16, got second place]. Because that was the first competition where I even got in the finals. And it was the biggest competition out there. I was in the finals and I didn’t really care any more if I got first, second or third. 

But this time [at Barcarès] when I got in the finals, I had won my first three heats. I thought: I’m gonna get four [heat wins] and first place this time. I’m gonna win it. So I had a totally different mindset for this final. ‘I’m gonna ride better than anyone out there.’

edit: Ian MacKinnon
images: Samuel Cárdenas

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