Wednesday, July 24, 2024
From The MagPro RidersEwan Jaspan - Peer Pressure

Ewan Jaspan – Peer Pressure

Ewan Jaspan has been the face of Australian kiteboarding in the USA for the past couple of years. His fast park style riding was turning heads before a couple of injuries sidelined him. Now he is back and riding better than ever. Fresh off his victory at the 2017 Wind Voyager Triple-S in Cape Hatteras, we had Ewan Jaspan’s pro kiteboarding friends interrogate him about everything kiteboarding. 

Sam Medysky: Ewan if you weren’t from Oz were would you want to be from? 

Ewan Jaspan: Well I was born and lived in Scotland until I was 11 so I guess that would be it. Otherwise I might move to Hood River. 

Hood River Jam. Bromwich photo

Sam Medysky: What’s the future of kiteboarding competitions? Will we see park riding and freestyle join for a slope style event? 

Ewan Jaspan: I would love to see the two disciplines combine for a true freestyle world tour. It would be great to have to show you can do all aspects of unhooked freestyle at once and would give a whole new dimension to the competition. Right now I feel both tours (WKL/KPL) are trying to find their feet and it may help things a lot if the two disciplines just combined for a bigger reach and the possibility to create a better tour for the whole industry. We would have one tour to follow for unhooked twintip riding and all the world’s best freestyle riders can compete at once. 

Sam Medysky: I heard you’re training on a foil board? True story?

Ewan Jaspan: Well I started doing a couple of days on the race foil and am actually having a great time. I guess as it’s possibly going to be in the Olympics I better get a little head start on other freestylers looking to get in on it. 

Triple-S winner…Ewan Jaspan. Bromwich photo

Karolina Winkowska: How do you see the future of kiteboarding?

Ewan Jaspan: I see rails and I see kickers and I see air tricks; all together at last. 

Karolina Winkowska: Is the Kite Park League the new PKRA?

Ewan Jaspan: Not yet. Freestyle kiteboarding had it pretty good until recent years, but we are on the way to world domination! 

Karolina Winkowska: How do you deal with injuries?
Ewan Jaspan:It’s hard to come back for sure. It’s hard to take time off and it definitely feels like lost time. The only way is to just try and come back stronger each time and when you’re ready. The worst thing I’ve found I can do is ride with a niggle that is holding you back from doing things or is constantly on your mind. Then you get scared of certain tricks and just take your riding backwards. 

Ewan Jaspan with a huge Crail Front Roll at the Triple-S. Bromwich photo

Karolina Winkowska: What is the most frustrating thing about kiteboarding?

Ewan Jaspan:The wind 100 per cent. Especially in places like Hood River where I currently am. You have to ride when the wind is the perfect angle otherwise nothing works properly. That, and the leash; the leash is basically what holds a lot of progression back in our sport. I’m thinking of new ways to attach myself to the kite or for the leash to be able to move freely around us so it doesn’t tangle around your legs/arms/fingers/neck/ankles/harness hook etc. 

Karolina Winkowska: Who is your favourite person to ride with?

Ewan Jaspan:Anyone who I feel is pushing the sport, no matter what the discipline. 

Karolina Winkowska: Is being a pro kiteboarder the best thing in the world? Well, I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else!

Wrapped up Tail Press in Cape Hatteras. Bromwich photo

Alexander Lewis-Hughes: What do you think of people dangling around with surfboards nowadays? 

Ewan Jaspan:It can be fun to mess around with and definitely has a place in the sport. In a serious competition though? Not so sure about that.

Alexander Lewis-Hughes: What do you think of the kite industry? What could be improved?

Ewan Jaspan: It’s a strange one. The industry doesn’t seem the same as most other boardsports, where legit riding is pushed and the people who partake in the sport actually have an idea of what is hard. Kiteboarding is going through a strange phase where anyone who makes a video of them doing some sort of gimmick or stunt sends them more viral than anything proper. I guess the whole industry, magazines, brands, shops etc, could put more of an emphasis on the actual board riding instead of just going for a quick five seconds of fame. 

SW BS Noseblunt during the Hood River Jam. Bromwich photo.

Alexander Lewis-Hughes: Is gear tailored enough towards park riding? Or do you think brands haven’t really tried hard enough yet? 

Ewan Jaspan: I think a big issue with this is that gear tailored towards park riding probably wouldn’t be all that good for the average joe kiteboarder. But then again we see kites suited directly to strapless freestyle, racing, big air, light wind, foiling etc, so hopefully soon we get some more park-specific gear. Or even new settings on kites that make them turn slower etc. 

Alexander Lewis-Hughes: Why do you think brands spend so much time producing equipment targeted at kooks, when in other sports we see the total opposite? 

Ewan Jaspan: I really don’t understand this one. In almost every other sport in the world, people seem to want to buy and ride what the pros are riding. They are worried about buying entry level gear because it may hinder their progression or they will grow out of it too fast. I think kiting has an older average age than many other boardsports, which may be a contributing factor, but it’s really just the way the sport has evolved. If kite brands just started marketing the high performance gear towards people entering the sport, it would be like that. It’s the brands and magazines that dictate most of the trends in any sport. 

FS 360 to Nose Press. Bromwich photo

Alexander Lewis-Hughes: Do you think kiteboarding in the Olympics would be a good thing?

Ewan Jaspan: I guess it can only be good for our sport, as long as its’ not the expression side of the sport that enters. I think kite foiling would be an amazing Olympic discipline and it wouldn’t really have much of an effect on freestyle/wakestyle. I would like to see it as I’m keen to give it a go!  

Mimetic Martin: I know you like pretty much every aspect of the sport, what would be your ultimate world tour?  

Ewan Jaspan: Ultimate world tour would be a mix of every twintip discipline. I love doing all freestyle, park and big air and would love to be able to compete in all of them at once. Also in an ideal world we would get rid of all the petty politics and feuds right now and focus on the riding! 

Mimetic Martin: What is your daily training?

Ewan Jaspan: While I am on the road I spend most of my time just kiting, but I make sure to do some sort of physical activity every day, whether it be the gym, biking, wakeboarding or another sport. 

Ewan Jaspan. Bromwich photo

Colleen Carroll: You are known for coining new slang that typically catches on. Where do you get your inspiration? 

Ewan Jaspan: The KPL lay days provide plenty of ammunition and inspiration. 

Colleen Carroll: You’ve made several remarks that you’d like to move to the States. However your sense of humor seems to line up more closely to that of the neighbors to the North, would you ever consider moving to Canada? 

Ewan Jaspan: Do you not like my sense of humour? Canada is way too cold I think. 

Colleen Carroll:  You’re just coming off the win at Triple-S and are the current leader of the KPL however 2016 tour champ Sam Light is one win away from catching up. What is your strategy for holding on to the lead? 

Ewan Jaspan: Well I’m spending some time in Hood River again this year just trying to improve my riding and work on some video projects. I guess that is the best thing I could be doing right now. Sam is coming to Hood River pretty soon so it will be great to ride with him a bit and hopefully push each other before the next event in Turkey.

Hood River action. Bromwich photo

Pierre Vogel: Who’s your biggest influence for your riding? 

Ewan Jaspan: Depends what I’m doing at the time, but the people who I ride with really motivate me; Christophe Tack, Sam Light, Noe Font and Brandon Scheid, the list goes on. Anyone who is out there going hard and/or having fun will get me stoked for a session or a new trick. Otherwise I look to a lot of other boardsports such as wakeboarding and snowboarding for ideas and inspiration or progression. 

Pierre Vogel:What motivates you the most in kiteboarding right now? 

Ewan Jaspan: To stay motivated I just need to keep switching up the styles. I have been riding a lot in the park for the last couple of months and I really feel ready to start focusing on freestyle and big air for a while again. Since my run of injuries a few years ago I have just been catching up on lost time which is keeping the fire stoked. 

Sam Light: Ewan, why do you always make weird pig noises? 

Ewan Jaspan: It’s a form of communication with Brandon mostly, derived from the walrus. 

Triple-S at Real Watersports. Bromwich photo

Noe Font: Why park riding over all the other disciplines? Is it progression? Why are you not in the freestyle world tour? 

Ewan Jaspan: I wouldn’t say I have chosen park riding over other disciplines, it’s more that the KPL is the only form of competition I want to compete in right now and it just happened naturally. I used to compete on the PKRA but recently the freestyle tour has been such a mess and the judging does not line up with my vision of the sport, and the KPL does. I would love to go back to the freestyle tour to compete, but what is scoring well right now is technicality over everything, and that’s not something I really want to train for. Progression is also a key as to why I love the park right now. Every session I am still learning new things as it’s still a relatively new discipline to me. 

Noe Font: You have a few tricks to pick from so what’s your favourite and why? Do you ever not grab a trick? 

Ewan Jaspan: I have so many favourite tricks, I guess whatever I just learnt is usually my favourite. I think for the feeling, Seatbelt Pete Rose is my favourite for now. Most of the time when I’m learning a new trick I won’t grab it, but the aim is to be able to grab every trick I can do, so far so good! 

Noe Font: What is it with double air swapping? Why are you against it? 

Ewan Jaspan: Unless I need to pass in the air to make an extra 180 degrees I just prefer to land blind. For example a HSBS540 I will always land blind, only passing in the air if I need to make it into a 720. 

Craig Cunningham: Why don’t we see more young talent coming out of Oz?  Back in the day you guys used to have a pretty influential wakestyle squad that were pushing it just as hard as the dudes out on Maui.  

Ewan Jaspan: I’m not really sure to be honest. There are a lot of kids who start to get really good and then seem to lose interest, or just plateau. I think it seems like a bit of a problem in a lot of places around the world, maybe as an industry we need to have better/cheaper ways for kids to get into the sport. 

Craig Cunningham: In my opinion you’re probably one of the most well-rounded kiter in the game right now, between freestyle, big air, park and I’m sure you can hack a few lips on the wave board.  How did you get so good? 

Ewan Jaspan: I just try and mix up my riding all the time and always push myself. My home spot in St. Kilda has a really good range of conditions and has helped me be better at kiting in tough weather. I also think riding the same kite (the Torch) for eight years now helps as I’m just so used to my gear it feels like part of me. This helps with confidence and trying new things on the water. But really I’m not sure how to answer the question ‘how did you get so good.’ Thanks I guess? 

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