When someone mentions the name Aaron Hadlow, people stop dead in their tracks to get a glimpse of this English kiteboarding superhero in action. From his super sick freestyle moves, to his smooth wakeboading influenced style, Hadlow is simply the best of the best. Since his debut in 2002 at the age of 13, Hadlow managed to rocket his way to the top, winning 5 consecutive freestyle kiteboarding world championship titles. It was a shock to many when he stated he wasn’t going to compete in the 2010 PKRA World Tour season. In a recent interview, Hadlow shared a few of his thoughts as well as some insight on what his intentions are for the upcoming year.
1. Everyone would love to know why you decided not to compete in the PKRA World Tour this year?
Yeah for 2010 I have decided not to compete, it has been a long 7 years of the same lifestyle so I am going to try something different for a while.
I decided I would take a brake at the beginning of 2009, I was actually not going to do it then either but without a solid plan it wasn't possible.
This time around I have a great plan so that has allowed me to step out from the PKRA for a bit and come back with some fresh motivation in the future.
2. Now that you have reached the ultimate goal five times, tell us what’s the next step?
To win 5 consecutive championships was pretty unbelievable, I hope in the future I will make it more, that would be the ultimate goal.
Next up for me in the coming years is a different plan though. For 2010 and onwards I am lucky enough to start making a brand out of the name I have made in the sport. Building this will be a fun project, and then when that is going well I will make my return!
3. In your opinion, what do you feel about last season’s point system? Do you think that it cost you the world title and should it be incorporated again this season?
I think it was strange, I personally think all competitions should have the same points if it is contributing to the overall World Championship.
At the end of the day you have to compete against the same people and put the same amount of effort into winning the event, if you get less points because of political reasons that doesn't make sense to me.
It should be where you place in each event that contributes to you winning a tour, surely the guy who has the best results should take the title?
I would say that it is not the best option, but once everybody is on the same page then I'm sure it will work out eventually.
4. I’m sure that some riders will be extremely confident about winning the world title because of your absence. In your opinion who do you think will be at the top of the podium this year?
I don't think that it will be any different really, just one less contender to worry about, this year the level is looking high, the obvious contenders are Kevin and Youri but I also think Alex will have a good shot too.
Like any other year there can be surprises, new people can pop out of nowhere, or somebody could have the grit between there teeth and really improve their level over the winter but for 2010 my money is on Youri Zoon despite the first event.
5. When tough decisions in your life need to be made, whom do you turn to for advice?
Luckily I have a great family that I can depend on, with most business decisions and personal deals I usually turn to my parents, they have supported me all the way, got me to where I am so any guidance and or help they give me to keep it going is always welcome.
6. Is there one place in the world where you haven’t traveled to but would love to?
I have recently been talking to some friends that have been to the Virgin Islands and that sounds amazing, I would love to get the chance to go there.
7. On average, how many Red Bull’s do you consume per day?
It depends on the day and what I am up to, I also go through stages.
If I am really active I find it really helps a lot, I know I am meant to say that but it genuinely does help me focus and gives me that boost I sometimes need. During competitions, trips, riding or just going to the gym, I tend to have 1 before sessions. Maybe 1 before Gym in the morning then 1 before a kite or other sport session in the afternoon.
8. Everyone listens to music for motivation or inspiration… I bet that you secretly listen to Ruben Lenten’s hit mixes on your iPod prior to ripping some major kite loops ;-) What do you think?
Yeah I do like music a lot and it is great because all my friends are into different things. I personally like hip hop/rap a lot but if I spend time with Ruben then minimal (techno type) music is belting most of the time, and I really enjoy that too, you can really get into it.
Other friends are into new rock and all sorts of stuff so generally I let my mates play the tunes.
Music always depends on your mood but hanging with Ruben on windy days defiantly gets you pumped.
9. I know that you must be a Playstation addict. Do you think you’d be interested in using this addiction in a positive way to create your own kiteboarding game? We could call it “Prat” the game by Hadlow!
hahha no I think that will be someone else's game title.
But seriously, I do hope to have a kitesurfing game one day, this will really grow the sport and get it out there, anyone can play the game and when they see how cool it can be for sure they will give it a go in real life.
I'm not that addicted to PS, I only play 1 game, PES, matches with mates can be so epic.
10. What is your favorite kiteboarding magazine?
I'm not sure really, I think there are a few guys who have something good going on.
I do most of my stuff online as news gets so old so quick these days.
To be honest I don't follow it that much although I think Kiteworld, Core and few mags in the States have some good material.
11. In your opinion, what steps do you think should be implied by the international world tour judges in order to make better decisions regarding competition heats? Do you think that implying instant replays would benefit the competitors?
It is hard to say, judging is a hard thing to do and if they new every move and could do it all then they would obviously be out on the water competing.
Judging systems are so hard to please everyone, especially criteria which is key.
I think the main thing is to create a platform where nothing is missed.
Video is always a hard subject because of time, but once the locations are established on tour as places that are better for kiting and almost guaranteed wind then it could work.
Maybe the heat should be judged as normal but also filmed, during and next heat this should be edited together so every move is on a time line in a row, during the transition time the previous heat is reviewed, maybe it takes 1 minute per rider to watch through but then the judges can make sure they have made the right decision and that their original result correlates with the footage.
Results will be delayed a heat and the transition time will be a little longer, you need a camera man on each rider in a heat, plus a couple of editors and obviously it is more work for the judges, but once there is more money in the sport it could be a good option.
Thank you for taking the time to share a few of your thoughts and opinions with us. It will be interesting to see what you have in store for the future, and we are all looking forward to your comeback! Wishing you the best with all your endeavors.
PKRA Press Officer.
Check out more about Aaron Hadlow at: http://www.aaronhadlow.com/