Jesse Richman: the kitesurfing World Champion from Hawaii

WE TALK to two-time World Champion Jesse Richman about his kitesurfing career as well as his life and passions outside the sport.

Jesse Richman

Jesse Richman started kitesurfing at the age of nine and has gone on to become a two-time World Champion in the sport.


AMONG his many accolades in the sport Jesse Richman has been the kitesurfing World Champion two times. However, when you speak to the man the are no airs and graces and he is more focussed on living life to the full rather than notching up more titles and awards.


Jesse is looking forward to this winter’s kitesurfing opportunities in Hawai and then to January 2017 for the Red Bull King of the Air in Cape Town, which is the next major competition he will compete in. He talks to us here about his ambitions in the sport for the years ahead as well as the places kitesurfing has taken him to date and some of the people it has introduced him to.


To find out more about Jesse and the work he’s doing to open up kitesurfing to the world visit www.JesseRichman.com.


When did you start kitesurfing and who were the biggest influences on you at the beginning?


Growing up on Maui I was exposed to kitesurfing at a young age and started riding myself at 9 years old, back then their were a few riders who I really looked up to, Low Wiman and Flash Austin as the most progressive and extreme kiteboarders of their time. Then there was Laird Halmton for just being an all around fearless charger.



Jesse’s list of kitesurfing accomplishments is impressive but even more so is his attitude to the sport and to life.


What was it like growing up on Hawaii and could you tell us a bit about the kitesurfing community there?


Hawaii is so beautiful and full of adventure, being an island child has been such a treat, getting to play in the ocean from day one has given me the comfort and confidence I need to go out in the gnarly conditions that I love. 


Kitesurfing has an incredible community around it, with a kite your never really competing for waves or space on the water, you always have each others backs out there and it’s more fun to kite with friends. So it really does brings people together.


Where in the world has the sport taken you and what have been some of the highlights? 


Over the last ten years I’ve spent the majority of my time traveling to the far corners of the planet to explore the endless possibilities with a kite. Always searching for the perfect combination of wind and waves, sometimes traveling to film movie or get great content for the web, other times to competitions or media events. I’ve even found myself in a tux with Richard Branson and many incredible entrepreneurs. All the trips are different but the stoke is always there. 


Jesse Richman

Jesse has travelled the world looking for the perfect conditions to kitesurf.


In terms of competitions what have been some of your biggest achievements? 


One of my life changing moments was when I won my first World Champion title on the world tour in 2008. It was at that point where I did it, I accomplished my goal of becoming the world champion… the funny thing was, nothing changed. Everything was still the same, sure there were some perks from winning and it was awesome but when I woke up in the morning and went to sleep at night it was the same… So this pushed me to live and love every day more then the last. Sure I still have ambitious goals I’m working towards but I’m loving every step of this journey… Since then some of my better results would be:  2008/2009 overall World Champion, 2013 Red Bull King of the Air and 2012, 2013 and 2016 AWSI Kiteboarder of the year. 


Jesse Richman

Mountain biking is one of Jesse’s favourite sports outside of the world of kitesurfing.


Tell us about some of your other passions for extreme sports and outdoor activities? 


I really enjoy stepping outside of my comfort zone, the flow that I find in my sports grounds me, drives me and stokes me out so hard. My favorite sports outside of kiteboarding would be surfing, freediving, mountain biking, dirt biking, snowboarding and paragliding. Each one of these activities has such a different bliss to them and they work together so well. Every day is a good day for at least one of these sports. 


Jesse Richman

Jesse is looking forward to this winter’s kitesurfing opportunities in Hawai and then to January 2017 for the Red Bull King of the Air in Cape Town, which is the next major competition he will compete in.


What are you currently training for and what challenges in the sport have you set yourself for the rest of the year and beyond?


At this point I train for two major things: Big Waves and Big Air. In the winter months Hawaii will get big swell and I want to push the limits in these waves with a kite and a surfboard. This type of training entails a lot of cardio, swimming and breath holds, especially breath holds with an elevated heart rate to simulate crashing on a big wave. 


For big air it’s a lot of load absorption training and upper body strength. I go out in very strong winds and try to pull off crazy manoeuvres. I need to have the strength to pull my self through the trick, the strength/flexibility to survive the landing and the endurance to stay out there for extended periods of time. The next major event I have is in January 2017 for the Red Bull King of the Air in Cape Town. 


Looking forward, my drive off the water or outside of the gym is to push the limits in everything that I do and share the ride with anyone that wants to join. With a new partner – Lufelive we have created a new platform on www.JesseRichman.com where we will bring unique content on kiteboarding, extreme sports and the training and lifestyle that goes with it all. Growing and sharing this ride with the world is a new way for me to connect with awesome people who share my same drive and passion to live life to the fullest.

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