Interview with Ruben Lenten

What made you decide to start kiting?

When I was ten years old and living close by the beach we always played and flew power kites for fun. The sport of kiteboarding was still fairly new and it was only when I was twelve that I saw the first inflatable kite on my home-spot. I knew immediately that’s what I want to do…


Tell us a little about growing up in NL.

Growing up in the Netherlands feels like quite a privilege to be honest… it’s got so much coastline and water that get all kinds of conditions which create different playgrounds to ride each time you go out. We’re located pretty central which makes traveling quite convenient. The people are nice, the food is delicious and if it ain’t Dutch it ain’t much… Haha ;-)


What is the first memory you have of jumping?

Wow, the first memory of me ‘jumping’ (flying with a kite)… I’ll have to go back to 1998 when I flew a delta shaped 2 line little kite on top of the dunes in my hometown. It was a windy day but we launched it and I remember going straight after it face first into the sand, the thing was powerful and the beginning of a great adventure of me figuring out how to kite. Haha!!


When did you do your first kiteloop?

My first Kiteloops were made in 2002 I believe… and I’ve got some flashbacks of hucking biggies at the North Sea Open 2003 contest in Belgium. On a 7m kite in howling winds… kite below me, good times. Haha… wiping out big time!


If you were not kiteboarding professionally what would you be doing?

I’m sure I would have followed my feelings somewhere nice… haha. Sports, Music and Traveling give me great energy so perhaps something to do with that.


C-Kite or SLE?

A C-kite is my weapon of choice as I prefer a direct and powerful feel. A lot of people ride SLE kites when they’re learning as it is safe with the full depower. What people forget is that when they want to progress with tricks that this depower is holding them back… so once you’ve learned how to ride and you’re ready to fly. Get yourself a C-shape kite. J Wayyyy!


Most of the competitions you are entering are outside of the PKRA. What do you think about the PKRA possibly having big air comps?

Competing is not really my thing as I care more about the freedom feel of the sport… although I do enter the Red Bull King of the Air as it’s a nice stage to display and promote our sport. If the PKRA is (considering) adding a big-air, well that’s great… if they run it in proper conditions and ‘judge’ it the right way. Flying is the wow-factor after all so it should be pretty interesting and entertaining.


What made you decide not to join the PKRA?

Me wanting to feel free and ride the way I want to instead of doing the same tricks inside a competition box over and over again.


Describe your ideal session?

Every session is unique and it’s hard to describe something ideal as it’s often the unexpected (wind, wave, trick, person, location) that surprises and makes something ideal. But in any case you won’t hear me complaining with a 30+knots sunset session and big waves rolling in.


Describe your style.

Powerful, Active, Energetic, Emotional, Spontaneous, Flow, Radical…


What is the hardest part about being a pro kiteboarder?

The WOO sports device – Now we can’t just brag about our jumps anymore. Haha ;-)


Where is your favorite spot?

Cape Town, South Africa is a beautiful place with some of the best wind and wave conditions. Been coming out there for two months a year for the past decade, so must be my fav right?!


What is the scariest kitesurfing experience you have had?

That was definitely being tumbled by a big wave with my boots on in onshore conditions when my lines went slack. Drowning and strangle feeling combo. Or the third time I tried to jump the pier, that was a close call… Oh well, you pay the price for the adrenaline you choose.


What is your best tip for boosting as high as possible?

Speed is everything, without speed you’re nowhere… then direct this speed into the right direction by having a good edge and takeoff (with the nose of your board into the wind) with the right timing of steering the kite up. As soon as you takeoff focus on stabilizing/tensing your body so that you are in control. Enjoy the flight and make sure you keep the kite under control and steer it back to land safely with the nose of your board downwind and landing tail to nose first to absorb impact.


Kickers or flat water?

I prefer kickers… you just get that extra dimension and element to play with.


Beard or Mustache?

A bearded mustache


What are some of your career highlights?

2nd overall PKRA 2005 / 1st Red Bull King of the Air 2005 / 2nd Red Bull King of the Air 2014 / On The Loose TV / Signature products with Mystic and Best Kiteboarding / Snowkite Cliff jump / Pier Jump.


What does WOO mean to you?

Stronger, Faster, Harder, Higher, Bigger, Further… It’s an upper!


Why did you decide to join the WOO Team?

Teaming up with WOO Sports is amazing as I love kiteboarding, technology and pushing the limits… progression all around.


What is one item you can’t travel without?

My passport, err my WOO device… haha, my laptop, uhm…my Iphone… DJ gear and above all my kiteboarding gear.


Whats going on in your DJ career at the moment, and what tunes are you listening to pre kite session to pump you up?

My career as a DJ is fun for on the side but my main act is definitely being an athlete and running my business at LEN10. Nonetheless I love music and playing so I always make sure there’s some dope Deep-House, Tech-House and Techno in the collection whilst traveling. Some of my favorite tracks come from artists like: Alex Niggeman, Guy Gerber, Bob Moses, Maetrik, Unders, Mano Le Tough, Onno, Adriatique, Edu Imbernon, Los Suruba, Tale of Us and Mind Against.


How do you think kiteboarding will grow commercially?

Kiteboarding commercially, that’s an interesting story and a frequently asked question for sure. In my eyes the whole world is evolving quickly and peoples lifestyles are changing. Living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is definitely a mega-trend in the world and more and more people get active. Kiteboarding is a very dynamic and interesting sport, with disciplines for everyone’s liking. When content and media get in line and share the true stories and imagery of our sport and it’s lifestyle there’s no doubt that more people will participate and get addicted.  After two decades the majority of the world still doesn’t know a thing about it, so we’re only at the beginning.


In terms of gear innovation how much more room for improvement do you think there is in the sport?

Technology, experience and knowledge are all evolving so there’s no doubt gear will change with that. I’ve got dreams that I need special gear for… and there’s always room in the sport (to be created). ;-)


Recently you were kiting with one of WOO’s founders and went a bit too big near the shore. Can you tell us what happened in your words?

That’s right, I went for a session with Ytzen in Ijmuiden… I was doing a shoot for Mystic and a Woo test session in some pretty nice conditions. At one point I was looking straight into the sun and going towards the beach, it looked like I had plenty of space so I took off for a Megaloop-Frontroll but as soon as I got in the air I realized there was wet-glistering-sand instead of water at my landing spot. I immediately aborted the Megaloop but was like 4-5mtrs in the air, kite remained on the side and I felt out of the sky onto the sand, flat on my back with my head slamming backwards. Instant pain in back and neck with white flashes scared me and resulted in hyperventilation… and yes I cried a little! Haha… all in all it wasn’t too bad in the end, two bruised vertebrates. Never jump too close to the beach or in shallow waters, a crash might mean the end… so not worth it.


How do you deal with injury and how has your training off the water impacted your performance?

An injury is of course the worst thing to happen as it takes you out of your zone. Although an injury is there to teach you many things about your body and mind. You just have to focus on the things that you have and can do. Really rehab properly as it’s everything you need in order for the body to get stronger again.

Injury prevention plays a great role in my routine, drink enough water, warm up, use the right gear, wear protection when needed and visualize your move.

When I was ready to ride again I was better than before, just because I was feeling like a better person in a stronger body. Thrive on that!