Oct 6, 2008
Author: Sky Solbach
I met 17-year-old Jon Van Malsen about a year ago at his home spot in Southern California. At the time, he had just started riding for the national North Kiteboarding team, and he and his dad were hanging out in the parking lot waiting for the wind to pick up. The wind never picked up, and I never got the opportunity to ride with him. Since then, Van Malsen has been riding his brains out, focusing his energy on nailing every kind of mobe and grab known to man. He attended the North Young Blood Camp in Egypt last summer and again in Brazil last fall, which opened his eyes to what is happening on the international pro scene.
I recently spent a week with Van Malsen cruising around Northern California in a big van; we scored some epic wave and freestyle sessions. I was blown away by his freestyle riding. Van Malsen is one of those kids who is made of rubber. He not only learns fast, he also throws it down with ease and style. His grabs are legit and stylish. He rides with his kite low and stomps tricks with authority. And he doesn’t just care about making moves; he cares about making moves look good, which is what we need more of in kiteboarding.
Van Malsen has a desire to compete and already competed in his first PKRA this year in Mexico, where he made it through a couple of heats. He says he wants to have all his double handlepasses down 100 per cent before he really commits to competing on the PKRA, and will continue to compete on the national scene for the time being.
The best thing about Van Malsen is that he’s got a good attitude and has fun whenever he’s in the water. Watch for him to continue to turn heads. —Sky Solbach