Tuesday, February 27, 2024
From The MagPro RidersMichael Phaneuf - Rep 411 Interview

Michael Phaneuf – Rep 411 Interview

Rep 411 Interview

Name: Michael Phaneuf

Hometown: Bennington, New Hampshire

Current home: Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Favourite board and kite: Carved Imperator 7 139 cm, Nexus 3 9 meter

Favourite conditions: Big air 28-35 mph SW. Waves 28-35 mph NE with overhead waves.

Other pros you ride with: Eric Rienstra, Mike MacDonald, Shaun Bennett, Austin Leder, Nick Baines

Last tricks landed: Boogie Loop Barspin with an extra rotation, and Dark-slide Backroll-to-Blind.

Tells us a little about your kiting background and how you got involved with Core? 

Michael Phaneuf: I started my kiting career as a travelling kite coach back in 2012, working in Hatteras for the summers and the Caribbean for the winters. About six months into my career, I met the owners of 321 Kiteboarding in Cocoa Beach, Brett Zachar and Romann Chavannes. They gave me a coaching job in the shoulder seasons between Hatteras and the Caribbean. Brett was also the US Importer for Core kites at the time. He appreciated my enthusiasm and riding skills and offered me the opportunity to become an ambassador for Core. 

Although Core was unheard of at the time, I was ecstatic to join the team and for the chance to take my kiting career to the next level. I continued to help at Core demo events whenever I could and eventually got offered a position as a sales rep. I happily accepted the job and worked for Core for two years. Then I took two years off from the brand to manage REAL Watersports’ Lesson Center. Now I’m back with the brand and I’m proud to say I’m the US sales and marketing manager for Core Kites. I’m excited to see the brand doing so well lately. 

What impressed you most about Core when you started working/riding for them? 

Michael Phaneuf: I was mainly focused on handlepass tricks then, so the GTS2 was my go-to kite. It was basically a proper C-kite with bridles. It was super fun for unhooked riding and Kiteloops. But the most impressive thing was the Core team and employees. Everyone at Core is a kiter and super down-to-earth and they immediately took me under their wing. I learned so much from them in such a short time and I’m very grateful for it.

What trends in the sport excite you most? The big air scene has been incredible to follow lately. The amount of control and awareness the new generation has while whipping through the air is impressive. 

Cape Hatteras is your home base. What’s your favourite spot to ride in the OBX? 

Michael Phaneuf: The best thing about Cape Hatteras is there’s a wide variety of spots and conditions. I let mother nature dictate my session for the day. On any given day, you can be riding butter flatwater in the REAL Slick practicing all your best tricks, or the next day you can be in the surf smacking lips in overhead waves, or maybe the wind is a little light, so you’re learning new tacks and jibes on a foil in the Watermen’s Foil Garden. This place will make you a well-rounded rider if you let it. 

What piece of kitesurfing gear impressed you most for 2022? What did you like? 

Michael Phaneuf: The Core Nexus 3 has been the most impressive to me this year. It’s a one-kite do-it-all quiver killer. I use the kite primarily for twintip riding, but it performs at a high level in all disciplines with little to no sacrifices. The kite is super stable, the power delivery is smooth and predictable, and the turning radius is tight and precise, so placing the kite exactly where you want it for certain tricks is easy. However, I’m most impressed with the improvements to the hang time and how smooth and powerful the looping is. I’ve learned more tricks on the Nexus 3 this summer than on any other kite in the past couple of years. It has taken my riding to another level. 

What is in your quiver? 

Michael Phaneuf: I’ll admit, I’m spoiled because I ride and work for Core. So I have everything in the Core lineup for just the right conditions. For the waves: Section 4 6, 8, 10 meter and Green Room 2. For foil: Xlite 2 10 meter and SLC foil. For twintip: Nexus 3 7, 9, 12  meter and Fusion 5 139 cm, plus some XR’s and GTS’s sprinkled in for the land-gap downwinders Hatteras offers or the gnarly Megaloop days. 

What’s the best kitesurfing trip you have been on? 

Michael Phaneuf: Hard to say. Cape Town is pretty special, but I think I will go with the island of Tobago. It’s such a chill vibe and the wind is a consistent 18-25 every day, with some days stronger. There’s a friendly kite center (Radical Kiteboarding) right on the beach in a beautifully manicured park called Pigeon Point. The mile-wide lagoon is amazing if you’re looking for uncrowded, crystal clear, flat water. Plus, when the waves on the outer reef line up, they are something to write about. 

What’s on your bucket list? 

Michael Phaneuf: For tricks, it’s a mouthful, but I want to land early-Backroll to late-Backroll Megaloops with extra rotations. I just dialled in the late Back and I’m feeling confident, so I think I’ll get the double and triple rotations soon. For kite spots, Mauritius. My Core teammates make the waves at One Eye look so amazing! I’m drooling just thinking about it.

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