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Q&A: King of the Air Contestant Marc Jacobs

21 January 2020

Known as "the most powerful rider in the world", Kiwi Superman Marc Jacobs is famed for his ridiculously overpowered riding. On any given session you'll see him throw down monstrous mega loops, command the wind and push the limits in Big Air and Freestyle, and also dominate the Cable Park.

As a 2020 Red Bull King of the Air video entry winner, Marc Jacobs (NZ) will make his fourth KOTA appearance in Round Two of the 2020 event the most prepared he's ever felt.
 
“The off-season training conditions in New Zealand have been awesome. I’ve had a lot of 8m, 9m and 10m time on the Orbit since August.”
 
We caught up with Marc at Kite Beach in Capetown.

What does King of the Air mean to you?  What is it all about?

King of the Air is the true meaning of kiteboarding - Big Air! It’s been my dream ever since I started competing in KOTA to win it. I have competed three times in Kota now. This will be my fourth. Despite my result, last year was big for me, because I brought a new level or new tricks. I feel like I proved that Big Air still has plenty of room to push progression and innovation.  

How are you feeling going into it this year?

This year I’m feeling great, I’m very prepared this year. Riding the Orbit since August I feel very tuned with it. NZ was also a great off-season this year. Which has given me good practice to train my switch foot stance for Capetown conditions. I’m ready to show this!

What sort of conditions are you hoping for?

I’m prepared for any conditions - as long as my kites flies, I’m ready to roll.

How do you measure your own readiness? Are you ever truly ready?

If you’re confident in riding in strong winds and throwing the advanced moves that you need to be throwing for Kota, then you’re well prepared. The more strong winds I ride in, the more confident I feel.

Any new tricks we can look out for? What would you say is your "signature move"?

I do have a few new tricks, but I have a bag of tricks I will stick too first. But definitely planning on throwing something new in there if things go to plan. My signature trick will definitely be the megaloop board off double late roll, that I pulled last year.

Watch Marc Jacobs preparing for KOTA

What's your most important piece of equipment for the comp?

It will be the combination of kite, board, bar, harness. All play a very important role for any comp.

Do you have any feedback on the North equipment? Has it surprised you in any way?

I must say I’m absolutely loving the North product range. It’s given me confidence to push myself even further. Pat has done a fabulous job with the Orbit. It’s what I would say is perfection for big air. Height, hangtime and megaloop are all in balance.

Back home in NZ, your dog Ace is quite famous for accompanying you out there on the board - what does she think of your new North gear? 

Haha yes, she is amazing. It was quite a story about how I became her owner; in short, her old owner was my former flatmate. He got deported so I started taking care of her, very soon realizing she could kitesurf. I fell in love with her instantly and had to adopt her. She is very stoked with my new North gear, and she is a massive fan of the Orbit. The hangtime is giving her much smoother and softer landings than ever before! 

And what's your story - lets start at the beginning... where were you born?

Tauranga, New Zealand. A relaxed port city on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.  Tauranga is near the white sand surf beach of Mount Maunganui (NZ’s answer to Surfer’s Paradise) and is surrounded by a beautiful harbour and outlying islands that are home to all kinds of wildlife. 

Where is home?

Auckland, the City of Sails. It’s less than 30 minutes drive to either coast - Muriwai Beach in the West or Orewa Beach on the East, although you’ll often find me at my local Point Chev beach or at the cable park on the Manukau Harbour.   

When did you start kiting?

I started landboarding first in 2005. After one year of doing this, I decided I wanted to learn in the ocean. From then onwards, I was hooked and became utterly obsessed with the sport. 

How?

Back in early 2001, there was a crazy talent top kitesurfer called Dave Edwards AKA Mad Dave, he was one of the best in the world back then, and based in Tauranga too. After many years watching him and convincing my mum to help buy me the gear for my 15th birthday, it finally all became a reality. 

Why?

I was always attracted to more unique sports. Before kiteboarding, I was into off-road mountain boarding, which is an off-road skateboard with straps. I always dreamed and wished that I could fly. Seeing this sport done so well by Dave Edwards, I knew it was the sport for me.

What do you love about kiting?

I love the feeling of being free and experiencing all the elements that Mother Nature has to offer. I feel like kiteboarding is a superpower. Soon as it's strong and windy, I only need a kite, and then I can fly! 

What would you say are your most significant achievements in kiting? (Top 5 in order)

-2nd overall PKRA world freestyle Champion 2013

-2nd overall PKRA world Bigair champion 2015

-1st PKRA Germany world Tour 2013

-1st PKRA Morocco World Tour 2014

-12 x NZ champion

My most challenging victory would have been finishing 3rd in Germany PKRA World Tour 2014 with a ruptured Meniscus knee and a blown eardrum, before coming home and realizing that I needed surgery. 

Manureva Wind Festival (in Rarotonga) said you are known as the most "Powerful rider" in the world - how do you feel about that tag and what does it take to be the most powerful rider in the world?

It was always my dream to be known as one of the most powerful riders in the world. I feel very privileged to be known for this! I spend 2-3 hours a day, six days a week at the gym to keep myself fit and strong. You have to not only have balls, but you have to make sure your body can handle being pushed at such hard forces too. 

What are your goals (life and kiting)? What do you aspire to?

Kiting goals are to win the KOTA or Mega Loop Challenge. But I also want to push Technical Big Air as far as possible, coming up with new tricks and innovation that has never been done before with my future videos. Life goals are to work my way up with North Kiteboarding. I want to help test/design all the latest and greatest new gear coming out, and eventually slowly heading more in this direction for when I ultimately stop competing one day.

Lastly for our "Marc's Gear" selector, what North products are you fizzing on and what do you love about them?

Lately, I've been focusing on pushing Big Air more. I'm loving the Orbit and the Atmos 138. Can't wait to push the limits and innovation with my new set up!