Friday, June 14, 2024
From The MagPro RidersNathalie Lambrecht: In-Depth Interview

Nathalie Lambrecht: In-Depth Interview

A force to be reckoned with. North welcomes Big Air / Freestyle Pro Rider Nathalie Lambrecht to the team in 2024. Half-Swedish and half-Flemish, 25-year-old Nathalie Lambrecht was born in Costa Rica and raised between Egypt and Sweden. She spends most of her time competing, training and travelling around the world, living between Sweden, El Gouna and her board-bag.

DOB: 17/05/1997 

Age: 25 
Where do you live? 
Nathalie Lambrecht: Sweden, Egypt (El Gouna) and my board-bag 

Rider style: 
Nathalie Lambrecht:Big Air and Freestyle on a Twintip 

Nathalie Lambrecht’s Competition Titles: 

2023 – Vice World Champion Big Air GKA 
2023- 4th in the world Freestyle GKA 
2022 – 3rd in the world Big Air GKA 
2019 – Swedish Champion 

Where are you from, and where do you spend your time? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I’m half Swedish and half Flemish. I was born in Costa Rica and raised between Egypt and Sweden. I spend most of my time competing, training and travelling around the world. In my downtime, I go between Egypt and Sweden. 

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your love of kiteboarding? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Since I moved to Sweden to finish high school, I came to appreciate every minute I got on the water over the holidays. I grew up on the beach in El Gouna, trying to get to kite whenever possible. 

Nathalie Lambrecht
Nathalie Lambrecht. Seagar photo

How did you learn to kite, who taught you, and at what age did you start? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: My babysitter’s boyfriend was a kite instructor. He taught me at the age of 12 at home in Egypt. 

What was the exact moment you knew you were hooked on kiteboarding? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I was hooked after the first few metres of riding on the water. 

Do you have a background in other sports? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I used to play football and tennis. 

What is unique about you as a person? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I wear my heart on my sleeve like my mum and dad. 

How would you describe yourself in three words? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Passionate, stubborn and unfiltered. 


What do you think your strengths are – as an athlete and a person?
 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Being stubborn and passionate is my biggest strength as both an athlete and a person.

Do you have any secret talents? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Pistol squat while juggling. 

What drives you to get up in the morning and train every day? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: The fact that I still need to do a dumdum or a *Kiteloop late back board-off. 

What song gets you into the zone before a big event? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Somewhere over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. 

Who is your ride-or-die? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Family and friends. I can’t pick just one. 

What’s your favourite thing about kiteboarding? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: It is hard to describe other than the cliché of feeling present and alive. 

Where in the world are your favourite conditions? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Egypt, El Gouna. My home spot is Makani Beach Club – turquoise blue mid-deep water, side-onshore wind, and a nice setup – everyone around is like family. From March until October/November, the wind is more reliable – if the Windguru forecast says it’s 20-25 knots all day, that’s what it will be. There’s no thermal because the water and land temperature are the same.  

There are also many things to do in El Gouna when there’s no wind – we have training facilities and a little town with restaurants and different walking areas.  

Top 3 kite spots? 

Egypt, El Gouna 
Taiba, Brazil 
Tarifa, Spain 

How did your career in kiteboarding begin? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I started with old-school – that’s what everyone around me was doing back then — tiktaks, backroll board-offs, and jumping real high. Then came social media, and I started seeing Freestyle online and Aaron Hadlow’s progression videos. That looked cool, and I liked the idea of unhooking, so I started pushing Freestyle. When I reached a certain level, the same year, a tour stop came to my hometown. I got the local wildcard and thought, “This is the perfect opportunity to see if I like it”. I had always been competitive in school and wanted the best grades. I knew I had this competitive person inside me. Still, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it with my favourite hobby or if it was something I wanted to push for. So, the event coming here gave me a chance to try. 

“From that moment, I knew this was the life that I wanted. I had the most fantastic competition experience – feeling all the little butterflies in your belly, then landing all your tricks when it counts, is thrilling. I couldn’t even describe it without hugging my whole body! “

Big Air started by accident. I was always scared of looping. I would watch King of the Air but could not see myself doing loops. Then, in Tarifa, it was 40knots, and I was doing some old school, which gave me a good result. Because of my overall GKA results, I ranked automatically in the first-ever Big Air event. I knew I had to start training, so I made one trip to Blue Lagoon, where I met Giel Vlugt and Mostafa Abbas. II learnt three loops in one session, which was easy because of my freestyle background. My only problem was fear, but all the tricks were there once I pushed past that.  

Can you remember the moment you thought you could make it as a professional? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: When I got my first podium, I finally believed I could do it. 

What is your speciality? Big air, Freestyle, etc. 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I’ve always dreamed of competing in Big Air and Freestyle while being free to pursue and chase wind. Competition is significant to me, but I want to do all this to see how far I can push my own level and live the life of a professional kiteboarder. Obviously, I want to stand on top of the podium and call myself a world champion, but the end goal is to see how far I can push my level in general. 

Professional kiteboarder Nathalie Lambrecht. Tom Seagar photo

What do you think sets you aside as a kiteboarder? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: In Big Air, my kite angle and in Freestyle, my toeside tricks. With the kite angle, I posted a video of my 5th-ever Big Air session where the kite went under me (with 22m lines). This was rare in women’s kiteboarding and scored very well in the GKA competition. It became my signature move.  

What is your favourite/go-to trick or signature manoeuvre? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: This changes over time, but I love a good tootsie roll in Freestyle and a kite loop one-foot in Big Air. 

Many years ago, 2013 World Champion Gisela Pulido was doing toeside tricks, and I wanted to bring them back to life. I worked on it for three months, and my ex-boyfriend was good at riding toeside, so he helped me too. Then, in the competition, I scored well with it. It was eventually added into our new format, so, from this year, it is mandatory to do a toeside trick. Now I’m trying to do all my heelside tricks toeside! 

“It’s good to take inspiration from others, but you have to make the trick your own and give it an individual signature. I build on what my strengths are – and what’s most fun.” 

If you could do a move over and over again, just because of how it feels, rather than being the best move anyone can do, what would it be? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: An s-mobe in Freestyle and a backroll kite loop with the kite under me in Big Air. 

Gnarliest jump you’ve ever done? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: At Lord of Tram, it felt like the most giant loop I ever did – it felt like it was over 15m. I wish it was measured. It felt like I was just holding my breath – nothing was going through my head. There’s just so much adrenalin – you pull the loop and feel for a minute like your heart is outside your chest, but you just try to focus on the landing and making a nice big heli-loop so you land clean. I crashed it, but it was the craziest jump ever. Afterwards, I was just getting dragged in the water. I couldn’t get back my board, and I had to wait for the flag to change because people aren’t allowed to rescue your board for you, or you’ll be disqualified. I refused help because I didn’t want to get disqualified! I’d rather get pulled all the way to the other side. Fifty knots is very windy – some people said 70 knots, but I think they exaggerate. Usually, I wouldn’t go out for training in more than 40 knots.  

What has been your proudest achievement to date? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Vice world champion in Big Air, getting podium results in Freestyle and living off my passion.  

I studied Sports Science and Sports Nutrition. I’m 25 now and want to push for as long as possible within professional kiting. In the future, I’d like to continue working in sports because I’m interested in that sector.  

What do you attribute your successes to? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: My family, friends, competitors, idols, sponsors and trainers, both mental and physical. 

Any heroes or role models that you look up to? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Bruna has been my biggest idol since I was 12. It’s impressive what you can do when you really want to. I also admire Angely Bouillot and Aaron Hadlow. 

Who do you draw your riding inspiration from? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: From my heroes and role models.

How did you come to join North? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Matching visions and damn good gear. I’ve been on the same brand for many years, so initially, it was really scary to make a change. I’m excited to be riding North’s high-performance gear and to compete in two disciplines – Freestyle and Big Air.  

But it’s not just about the gear; it’s also about everything around it and the team. Talking with North Team Manager Alex Vliege, I felt supported and that our visions matched where I wanted to go and where the brand was going. Because of that, I felt super safe and secure. 

What North products do you use? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Orbit Pro (6m,7m,8m,9m), Pulse (7,9,11,13), Atmos Pro Carbon (136cm), Flare (139cm), Navigator Control System (38-43cm, 45-50cm, 50-55cm), Fix Boots and Flex Pro Twintip Bindings. 

We’ve seen an explosion in Big Air recently, and it’s so exciting to see more women coming through in the sport – how do you feel about this? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I’ve only been doing Big Air for about a year and a half. When I got into it, I only knew, by name, three female riders. Now, there are more than 20 who can compete, and every Big Air event has a waiting list of at least five women who are more than capable of competing with us. 

Over the years, the performance of the equipment has also really changed. The other day, I had my first two-hour session on the Orbit Pro. I was so impressed with the response and how quickly it caught me – and it wasn’t even that strong. Usually, I don’t go doing loops in 20 knots; I wait for it to hit 25 or 30. It was gusting only 18 knots and catching me like I had never felt before. 

Do you think women will start to own their version of Big Air, or will there always be an element of “keeping up with the men”? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I would rather women develop their version of Big Air. Still, obviously, we are inspired by the current level – it gives an example of what is possible. It feels like we are “catching up” now, but I hope we will turn it into our own version – a Queen of the Air someday. So that we have a platform for expressing what women’s Big Air is and can be the inspiration for other young girls out there.  

What about mixed events – e.g. how Angely used to ride in King of the Air without a women’s division? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Angely being at King of the Air inspired other women, but she had the level at that time to push against the guys. But now, I believe we should have two separate categories, and women should have a platform to express themselves in those major events. I would love to see Cold Hawaii, Megaloop, and Queen of the Air – all of them for us to perform because that’s also a way to inspire others and create this domino effect. 

Should they be separate events? Is there a danger that the women might get second-rate conditions if they are all held together? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Well, in Lord of Tram, we got the strongest wind of the event, for sure, and that was very exciting. So it has happened that we got the best wind, not the lightest. But there are many discussions about this, what tricks we perform when it’s that kind of wind, and whether the quality goes down compared to the men. But if we don’t go out and practise in those conditions, how will we ever be better? I don’t think there should be any discussion of “ok, it’s lighter now; we should send the women out”. If I would swear right now, I would say bull. Send us out when it’s fair for everyone.  

“It’s like a domino effect – when you see other women do it, you believe you can do it too.” 

Over the years, the performance of the equipment has also really changed. The other day, I had my first two-hour session on the Orbit Pro. I was so impressed with the response and how quickly it caught me – and it wasn’t even that strong. Usually, I don’t go doing loops in 20 knots; I wait for it to hit 25 or 30. It was gusting only 18 knots and catching me like I had never felt before. 

Do you think women will start to own their version of Big Air, or will there always be an element of “keeping up with the men”? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: I would rather women develop their version of Big Air. Still, obviously, we are inspired by the current level – it gives an example of what is possible. It feels like we are “catching up” now, but I hope we will turn it into our own version – a Queen of the Air someday. So that we have a platform for expressing what women’s Big Air is and can be the inspiration for other young girls out there.  

What about mixed events – e.g. how Angely used to ride in King of the Air without a women’s division? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Angely being at King of the Air inspired other women, but she had the level at that time to push against the guys. But now, I believe we should have two separate categories, and women should have a platform to express themselves in those major events. I would love to see Cold Hawaii, Megaloop, and Queen of the Air – all of them for us to perform because that’s also a way to inspire others and create this domino effect. 

Should they be separate events? Is there a danger that the women might get second-rate conditions if they are all held together? 

Nathalie Lambrecht: Well, in Lord of Tram, we got the strongest wind of the event, for sure, and that was very exciting. So it has happened that we got the best wind, not the lightest. But there are many discussions about this, what tricks we perform when it’s that kind of wind, and whether the quality goes down compared to the men. But if we don’t go out and practise in those conditions, how will we ever be better? I don’t think there should be any discussion of “ok, it’s lighter now; we should send the women out”. If I would swear right now, I would say bull. Send us out when it’s fair for everyone.  

Nathalie’s Gear:

North Orbit Pro Performance Big Air Kite (6m,7m,8m,9m)
North Pulse Freestyle/Wakestyle Kite (7,9,11,13)
North Atmos Pro Carbon Big Air/Freeride TwinTip (136cm)
North Flare Wakestyle/Park TwinTip (139cm)
NORTH Navigator Control System (38-43cm, 45-50cm, 50-55cm)
NORTH Fix Boots
North Flex Pro Twintip Bindings

Social Media Links 

•Instagram: nathalie_lambrecht 
•Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/lambrechtnathalie/ 
•YouTube Link:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTBLcImpwkWbVAHtzcfKZQA 

 
See Nathalie’s Bio here

A Curated Collection of Videos and Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Kevin Wade Rep 411 Interview

In this exclusive industry insider interview, we delve into the life and career of Kevin Wade, a prominent figure in the US kitesurfing community....
00:09:05

Driven | Capucine Delannoy’s life as a Kitesurfing World Champion

Nationality: France, French RepublicSponsors: North, MysticSpecialist discipline: Strapless Freestyle, SurfHome spot: Prea Brazil At just 17, Capucine Delannoy is already a global sensation, seamlessly transitioning...

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...

Pro File: Frances Kelly

Hometown:  Sidney, British Columbia, Canada Board: Ocean Rodeo Creep and I also have a prototype surf-specific board designed by Reece Myerscough. Kites: Ocean Rodeo HL CRAVE Years on...

Tom Court – Kite Vlogging

You are one of kiting/winging's most popular vloggers; how did you get into Vlogging? Getting into vlogging was a slow process that contradicted how I worked in...