REALITY SETS IN
Tonky hugged me and told me ‘you did it man, you did it’, and then because of that I couldn’t hold it back. I was so stoked
Boardseeker: When you returned to the beach after beating Steven twice in a row, you were over come with emotion, did you finally realise you had achieved your dream?
Kiri: Yeah when I came to the beach and I saw Amado, I said to him ‘I think I got this man’, he said back to me ‘shut up man, you killed it, sure you won’. I knew I hadn’t sailed the best heat ever but for the conditions it was pretty much as good as I could have done.
Then when I returned to the beach after my heat and I had a good feeling about it, everyone was cheering and as soon as I stepped off my board, Gollito and Diony were there, lifting me up on their shoulders, announcing me as the world champion. I couldn’t believe it. It was crazy.
Actually I didn’t have the tears in my eyes straight away, they came when Tonky hugged me and told me ‘you did it man, you did it’, and then because of that I couldn’t hold it back. I was so stoked and so happy I just said to myself ‘thank you for letting me know this sport, it is just insane’. And really if it wasn’t for Tonky I would have never tried this sport, it was these moments that came to me at that time and of course I thank him a lot for this.
Boardseeker: You said on the podium that you dreamed about this since you were 6 years old, you dreamed of becoming the world champion, you had a lot of hurdles to jump on the way, particularly with judging decisions, do you think luck was not always on your side?
Kiri: Umm.. actually I was kind of unlucky with the judging thing, often I knew inside that I had won but I never won physically you know. This kind of affected me and it didn’t always make sense, I would sail a heat that wasn’t so great and win, then I would sail a sick heat and lose, it felt kind of shi* to be honest. It left me feeling confused about what to do. In the end for the last two events I decided to play it a lot safer, go for the more normal moves, the konos, burners, and aim more for diversity than for the big big moves. It really seemed to help me, normally I got for the kabikuchi and other crazy moves but this time I was just progressing with the easier stuff, it was really working out.
Boardseeker: How did it feel to finally stage on the stage as not just the winner of PWA Sylt but also as the PWA Freestyle World Champion?
Kiri: Man it was so special, it was really great to stand there and hear the Bonaire national anthem and it was so so crazy to stand on top. You know everyone was saying to me, ‘you know the world?.. You are the best best best of it’, I was just speechless. However, I didn’t really feel like I was finally there until I got home to Bonaire and I stepped off the plane and hundreds of people were there, I was like ‘woah, this is a dream come true’.
It’s funny, still to this day, I go to the supermarket or I’m walking down the street and everyone is shouting to me, ‘hey champion!’, it’s something I try to get used to now.