Up & Coming French shredder Capucine Delannoy has sprang (or double front rolled, rather) onto the scene of strapless freestyle. At only 14 years of age, Capucine’s career as a pro kitesurfer is just getting started! After making a strong impression during the latest season of the GKA Kite World Tour, her plans to compete for the rest of the year were disrupted by the cancellation of the tour due to COVID-19. However, the GKA Distance Battle hosted an online event in October 2020 which saw some surprising results… We sent some smoke signals across the South Atlantic Ocean to catch up with this young talent and share her story!
Congratulations on winning the GKA Distance Battle! 2019 was your debut year on the GKA Kitesurf World Tour, and your best result was at the final stop in your home spot in Brazil with a 4th place finish. It looks like you’ve been training hard since then… Were you surprised when you found out you’d won the event?
I was really not expecting it. I had no idea what the other girls were gonna do since we were all all around the world! It was super exciting to see the girls shredding it and I was really happy to see that my training showed results.
What was it like competing in an event where you couldn’t see what the other riders were doing? Did you feel more or less pressure than riding in a live heat with the other girls on the water with you?
It was a very different type of pressure. Usually when we compete it’s 10 minutes of pressure. For the GKA Distance Battle, I was constantly thinking about it. But, for sure, I prefer competing with the other girls on the water: more fun, shared moments, and I can see what they are doing .
You’re only 14 and riding at such a high level! What was it like for you travelling and competing on the World Tour?
It’s amazing! I feel really lucky to be able to travel and discover new spots all over the world. I love to compete on the world tour with my brother and it’s really nice to see how everyone is really kind, helping each other, giving tips, etc.
What are your long-term kiteboarding goals?
My long-term goals in kitesurfing are to discover many other countries and spots, and also to be a few times world champion.
Do you think 2021 is your year to become World Champion?
I don’t know if 2021 will be my year… I’m training hard to make it happen as soon as possible, but I still have a lot to learn and to improve. I’m training to improve my waves skills too!
What is your favourite trick and what trick are you having the most difficulty sticking?
Double front roll, and most difficulty with front roll shove it.
Who are you currently sponsored by? How have your sponsors helped you throughout your kiteboarding career?
I am sponsored by F-ONE, Manera, Heine Optotechnik, and PreabeachVillas. My sponsors are helping me by developing good gear that I can ride, and are supporting me to travel around the world and compete on the world tour.
Tell us a bit about your gear choices from F-One and Manera. What equipment are you riding and why?
I’m riding the F-One Magnet board which is perfectly light and designed for freestyle. My kite is a Bandit S because it turns faster for the loops. And I use a Manera Exo harness and a Manera wetsuit or shorty, no matter the weather. With a wetsuit, I feel more confident to do my tricks.
We only see you on a directional these days! How often do you whip out the old twin tip? Do you find that practising on the twin tip helps when learning new strapless freestyle tricks?
Basic knowledge with twin tip can be for sure useful . Personally, I never ride a twin tip anymore… I feel much comfortable with a strapless board.
When did you start kiting? Can you share your earliest kitesurfing memories?
I started kiting at 7 years old, and my earliest memory is the first time I went kiting with my whole family. I was really proud and happy!
How old were you when your family moved to Brazil? Were you excited about the move or worried about missing your friends and life back in France?
When we moved to Brazil, I was 7 years old and I was already happy about this new adventure with my family. There were no worries at all, only excitement! Our move to Brazil has been progressive. At the beginning, we were living 6 months in France and 6 months in Brazil, so I was always very happy to go back to France to meet my friends and family. Each time, I was also excited to go back to kite in the warm water of Brazil. Now, I live full time in Brazil and I love it. I travel a lot and still have a lot of opportunities to meet my French friends (who visit me too) and make new friendships all over the world.
Was the move motivated by kitesurfing or something else?
The move was motivated by living a new adventure on the dreamy beach of Preá. At this time, I was just starting to kite but my family fell in love with the place, and with kitesurfing too!
Which professional kiter do you admire the most? Why?
I really admire Moona Whyte and Jalou Langeree for their wave skills.
You’ve said that your brother Camille is a major inspiration to you… what inspired you both to get into kiting?
When I started, I was super young and my motivation was to be able to join my family on the water, and do long downwinds along the beach with them…. At this time, my favourite drink was Guarana (a local drink, and each time I managed to finish the 7 km downwinder, I was allowed to have one. This was part of my motivation hahaha!
Will your younger brother be following in both of your footsteps?
He’s really motivated for it! He’s only 7 and is already shredding and doing airs and grabs. He is on the water with us for the downwinders, and we can’t wait to have him on tour with us.
What’s it like doing distance learning? Is it hard to focus on school when the wind is blowing?
It’s like so convenient! I really do like studying like this. I can make my own schedule and organise myself around trips and competitions. I usually manage to have finished with my school when the wind is blowing.
When you’re not kitesurfing, what are you usually doing for fun?
I’m riding my horse, spending time with my family and friends, reading, and cooking.
If you’d never discovered kitesurfing, where do you think you would be, and what do you think you would be doing right now?
I think I would be in La Clusaz, France. I would be skiing during the weekend and going to school the rest of the week.
If you could go spend a season at any kite spot in the world, where would you choose?
I would love to spend an entire season in Tarifa!
What’s next for you? Any exciting plans for 2021?
Depends on the COVID, but I hope it will be a lot of kite trips, competitions, and chocolate!
By Crystal VenessFeatures Editor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or editing the latest feature article for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.