We just had a chance to touch base with the brand new 2010 PKRA World Champion Andy Yates. Hewas still pumped after being officially crowned at the final PKRA event in Australia. The event ended up being a victory lap in front of his home crowd since the title had been determined at the previous event in New Caledonia. Andy had an intense final there against another strong Slingshot team rider, Youri Zoon. It was amazing to see a couple Slingshot riders duking it out at such an extreme level. Not only did he win the final, but he also secured his first World Championship in only his second full year of the tour. Truly epic. So, it was very cool to be one of the first to get his reaction to becoming the 2010 PKRA World Champion.
Hereʼs how it went down….we can hardly wait until next season!
[Slingshot] – Ok. Letʼs do this. Howʼs it feel to be World Champion?
[Andy Yates] – This has been my dream for a long time now. Iʼve put in so much effort for it, and itʼs all I
have been thinking about. I am absolutely stoked to be the World Champion for 2010. I didnʼt think even
in my wildest dreams that I would be able to tie up the World Title with one event to spare, which happens
to be at my home!! This is something that I will remember for my whole life!! After finishing 5th overall in
2009, my goal that I set right at the start of the year was to finish in the top 3 for the year. I was stoked
with my 2009 result, and I knew a top 3 finish would be harder to achieve. Coming into this year, I hadnʼt
yet beaten the top guys in a heat. The first event for the year was in Thailand. I came into the event feeling
good after a good summer at home training at my local spots. I went straight to the final after beating
Kevin Langeree in one of my heats. It was at this event when I realized that I was able to beat all the guys
I had looked up to in the years before. Where in previous heats I was nervous against them, I now went
into them feeling confident, for I knew I could ride well and easily beat them. This event gave me so much
confidence and set me up for a great year.
[SS] – The PKRA has many tour stops. Which was one of your favorite, why and did you go to all
of them? Which one was the hardest or gave you the most trouble or hardest to get to? Ok. Thatʼs
like three questions.
[AY] – There were 10 events this year. The most in the history of PKRA. That meant I was away for most
of the year. I enjoyed competing at every event this year, but I did have a particularly good time in Thailand.
In the Thailand event, I had my first podium finish after beating 2009 World Champion Kevin Langeree.
It was probably at this event when I realized that World Champion is within my grasp. Going to
every event is important because it keeps your ranking up. Ranking and pre seeding is very important in
competitions as it gives you better runs to the final. Europe is for sure the hardest place to get to. It’s basically
on the other side of the world for me and getting there is a bit of a mission!
[SS] – How would you describe yourself and your style? How do you convince the PKRA judges
(or any judges)?
[AY] – I would describe myself as a consistent rider. I pride myself on being able to do my tricks consistently
in all conditions, and in every heat. This is what I work on when I am free kiting. If something is not
up to where it should be, thatʼs what I work on, again and again. Apart from that, I want to make the tricks
look good and powerful. Itʼs an endless progression…
[SS] – What did you do to prepare for this 2010 PKRA tour? What steps did you take to train for
the off season?
[AY] – Last summer I stayed at home with the family and friends. We had good wind and I trained as much
as I could. We have some sick spots at home and I’m always stoked to get home and kite them after I’ve
been overseas for ages. Apart from kiting itself, I just kept my general fitness up by surfing, biking and
[SS] – Which trick was a pain in the ass for you to learn it? Any tips how to learn new tricks?
[AY] – Backmobe. I copped so many stacks learning this trick! I just think you have to keep going and
push through the crashes. I always used to think about the trick and visualize me landing and riding away
smoothly from it. The mind is very powerful and confidence is crucial if you want to land new tricks.
[SS] – You havenʼt been in the kiteboarding scene as long as other PKRA riders. How did you
manage to reach such a high riding level in this “short” time?
[AY] – This year was my second year on the tour, and I was able to win the World Title. I didnʼt think that I
would be able to achieve this in such a short time. Having said that, I did work and train really hard to get
myself up to the level of the worldʼs best. I always knew I could do it, but Iʼm so stoked to have achieved it
so soon. I feel very fortunate and lucky.
[SS] – Why Slingshot? Which kite is your weapon of choice and why?
[AY] – So I won the 2010 World Title on the Fuel and the Lunacy. The tour took me to every sort of conditions.
Windy, light, choppy, flat, wavy, hot and cold. My gear performed at every event and helped me to
win the title. In 2008, Slingshot gave me a chance and opportunity when no other brand would. I thank
them for this and all their continued support. I ride the Fuel with 5th line. Itʼs perfect for what I want. It
does everything I want it to and when I want it to. I froth on it.
[SS] – What do you do beside kiteboarding?
[AY] – I surf whenever the surf is good and there is no wind. I surfed for 7 years before kiting and I think
that what I have learnt through surfing has transferred over really well to kiting. Apart from that, I must
admit I am a bit of a gamer. I play Call of Duty on Xbox, I find it relaxing when kiting gets a bit much.
[SS] – What support network would you like to “THANK” that helped you get to where youʼre at
[AY] – The most important people in my life – my family. My Mum and Dad are awesome and have helped
me so much. Straight up would not of got to where I am now without them. Also my friends and sponsors:
Slingshot and SolRX.
[SS] – What are your goals for this upcoming season and what plans do you have?
[AY] – So now I’ve got my World Title, next year I definitely want to come back and back it up with my second
World Title! In the mean time however, I’m going to go home and spend Christmas with the family
and spend some much deserved time at home!
Andy thank you for taking the time and all the best for another successfull season in 2011!