Ruben Lenten is a Red Bull athlete as familiar with doppler radar and atmospheric conditions as your local weatherman. That’s because he’s always looking for the gnarliest storms he can find. Low pressure systems are particularly apt to produce the extreme conditions he covets, and more importantly, the winds that can send him flying hundreds of feet in the air. You see, Ruben is an extreme kiteboarder; he trusts the violent gusts to carry him high and far, only to drop him safely back in the roiling surf. It’s a trust he’s built up after chasing storms for the last two years.
Recently, Lenten saw a low pressure system off the northwest coast of Ireland. Forecasts predicted 50 knot winds (about 57+ mph). After arriving in Ireland, he headed to the beach and got his gear ready. He took to the surf, and hit a couple large squalls, but nothing approaching what he anticipated. The storm had lost it’s kick over the preceding night, and Lenten has missed the best of the storm’s eruptions.
Thankfully, Lenten’s luck changed while 2013 was still in its infancy. An even bigger storm showed up on maps near where he grew up in the Netherlands. As Lenten says in the video, “there are not many times when you can train in these conditions, so once a storm hits, you better be ready.”
Perhaps because he’d missed an opportunity in Ireland, it had merely stoked the drive to hit the Ocean hard in his home country of Holland because when Lenten got on his board and released his kite, it immediately grabbed hold of the swirls of wind tearing over the beach. Watch as he hits waves and is carried at least a hundred feet in the air only to keep his kite in control and land safely in the paroxysmal waves below. The kite’s annular rotations and the heights Lenten reaches, mean this is no zephyr. If you don’t think this is extreme – even for an Adrenalist – than you’ve never riden a kite board before. The strength alone needed to control the kite in such fearsome conditions would break a weaker man. Thankfully for Lenten, he was ready, so for a while he got to experience what he lives for: the dangerous thrill of extreme kiteboarding.