In the documentary Skywalker we dive into the mind of one of the world’s best kite surfers. We spoke to Lasse Walker about how he overcomes his physical and mental challenges.
You started kiteboarding early, why did you start kiteboarding?
My father has always been involved in windsurfing a lot. This is where I got my passion for water sports. With the evolution of kitegear, I had the opportunity to teach myself how to kite. In addition, I grew up next to the surf club on the beach of Noordwijk. It has accelerated from a hobby and passion to a professional career. This was a wake-up call for me that my dream could come true!
Did your experience of kiteboarding change when you became a professional?
No, not in the beginning. I thought it was especially cool that I could travel because of my passion. Because of this I have kitesurfed in many special locations. My favorite place for kiting remains Cape Town. Due to the super strong wind and the high and powerful waves, you can jump very high. As I became more famous, I got more sponsors and it started to feel more like work. Then you also feel pressure to perform.
Can you tell me how a big air jump makes you feel?
The feeling of flying so high and hard through the air is liberating. You feel like a bird. In addition, a fat trick gives me a lot of adrenaline. I used to do a lot of competitions with my friends to see who can jump the highest. Freediving on Koh tao is the best.
The urge to reach higher and higher levels is very present. After all, you want to be the best in the world. The jump depends on so many factors. Staying in control, being able to steer correctly, being in balance and of course the waves and the wind. Every wave is different and every place is different. This requires good and strong adaptability. When this succeeds, it gives a sense of success.
In your documentary you indicate that you want to have control over everything. Why?
This sport is extreme, everything you do you have to do under control. Control has always been a quality of mine, I need this to be able to perform. My performance coach, Caroline Fassaert, helped me a lot with this. I once saw a documentary about freediving. This aroused so much interest in me that I took a course in Bonaire. With more and more practice I got better and better. To prepare for a dive, you enter a meditative position. Staying calm and concentrating on my breathing helps for a better dive. I take these exercises with me before I go kiting.
What else do you want to say to the viewers of Skywalker?
I would like to be an inspiration for people to show what this sport is all about and to inspire others to do it in their own way too. I hope they can get that out of my documentary.