The first weekend of April took place the 4th edition of the Lord Of Tram at Barcarès. It was the first step of the new Big Air kitesurfing world tour: the BAKL World Tour 2022.

For the occasion, the best riders on the planet competed in dantesque conditions (more than 40 knots of Tramontane) in order to award a winner for each category. On the amateur side, it was the Frenchman Théophile Van Beek who won his first title at his local spot, the Parc Des Dosses!

Spotyride went to meet him, zoom on this rider in the making.

Picture : Baptiste Gillier

Hello Theophile! Can you talk about your discipline in more detail?

Good morning! Yes, so there are many disciplines in kitesurfing. Personally, I chose to practice Big Air because I like the thrills and the extreme side of this sport. The principle of this discipline is simple, you have to climb as high as possible in the areas while adding tricks such as rotations, board-offs and kiteloops. To this day, it is one of the oldest disciplines in kiting but it continues to evolve, especially over the past five years.

How did this passion for Kitesurfing come to you?

When I was in high school, I had the chance to try kitesurfing thanks to a teacher and I was immediately hooked. I was already windsurfing with my family in Leucate but I had never really invested in this sport.

It was therefore only natural that my father bought me my first kitesurfing equipment so that I could continue to follow him during his Windsurfing sessions before getting started too. Subsequently, my brothers and my cousins also became interested in it and it became a sport to share with the family.

We can say that we were lucky to live near Leucate, a region with 300 days of wind a year and a multitude of spots to progress quickly.

This is the 4th time that you participate in this competition, what made this one the right one?

Indeed ! Since the creation of this competition, it was the first time that it took place on my homespot, here in Barcarès, and I think it helped me a lot. The wind that blows here (the Tramontane) is a strong and often very irregular wind. Being used to sailing in these conditions was an advantage for me.

I was also lucky to have my friends and family present who pushed me to give the best of me.

Before launching the second division, we were able to attend the final of the pros. They set the fire! The level was crazy and I think that motivated everyone to surpass themselves.

Théophile Van Beek – « The level was crazy […] it motivated everyone to surpass themselves. »

In the professional category, the Dutchman Giel Vlugt achieved two world first in competition, what do you think of this performance?

Giel is huge! It had been a few months since we saw him going beyond the limits on social networks, but now he has become downright legendary! Seeing him fulfill two world first in competition on my homespot was just crazy! He is one of those riders who makes the discipline evolves and pushes us to outperform ourselves.

Precisely, what do you think of the general evolution of kitesurfing and your discipline?

As I said before, this sport has continued to evolve since its inception. Whether in terms of equipment, the number of practitioners or the level of riders, you never get bored!

What is good with my discipline is that there are so many good riders in the world that the level evolves every year! It pushes us to train hard to always try to stay on top of tricks, but it’s sometimes very complicated.

What’s great is that we can see that for about five years, things have been moving in Big Air. Where before there were only a few major competitions such as the Red Bull King Of The Air or the Megaloop Challenge (reserved for the best of the best), today there is a world tour of the discipline with several step and many organized events.

All of this makes the environment more accessible and we can see it in particular thanks to the youngest. When you see the level of some riders like Andrea Principi (winner of the first division) or Lorenzo Casati (semi-finalist of the first division) who are just 16 years old, it’s just incredible!

I hope that Big Air kitesurfing will continue to evolve in this direction, it’s off to a good start!

What do you envision for the future? A transition to the professional category?

This competition really boosted me, whether as a runner or a spectator, it really made me want to progress in my discipline. In the future, I hope to be able to go abroad to train in the best spots in the world like Cape Town in South Africa where almost all the riders progress every year!

Regarding the pro category, yes of course it is a goal but there is still a lot of work to do and I will do my best to achieve it!

Before finishing, I just want to thank my sponsors who have followed me since the beginning, Duotone Kiteboarding and Surfone Leucate.

Follow Théophile on Instagram