Evelien Bolle, 33 year-old Belgium kitesurfer, is not only fighting her battles as a GKA World Cup competer but also as a Climate Expert. She is the author of the Carbon Footprint Analysis for the Ocean Cleanup where she evaluated the environmental impact (global warming potential) of the project. She grew up in the city of Mechelen and after her studies, she decided that she wanted to live close to the seaside to pursue her passion for kitesurfing. Today, she combines her profession as a Climate Expert and Bio-Engineer working around climate and energy, with competing at high level at kitesurf events.
What do you do as a ‘Climate Expert’?
“As a Climate Expert, I help cities and municipalities on the one hand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to adapt to heat waves and floods that are coming our way through climate change. On the other hand, I work on achieving the energy transition or getting off fossil fuels and focusing on renewable energy instead. For example, I am working on a project that wants to increase renewable energy in existing West Flemish business parks. A company with a large roof area for solar panels should also be able to supply energy to a company in the area that uses a lot of energy.”
What made you decide to fight for the planet?
“Even as a child I always preferred to play outside. As I grew up, my passion for water sports increased. Being outside in nature brings me a certain peace and aroused my interest in the sea and climate. Climate change has also been clearly visible in recent years. Just think of more frequent heat waves in the summer. The predictions of the climate models indicate major changes that nature is unlikely to adapt to quickly enough. The ocean and nature in general gave me so much since I was a child. I would like to protect this so that future generations can also experience this fantastic world.”
How did you get introduced to kitesurfing and what do you love about it?
“As my father was a sailor, I started sailing myself at the age of 7. When I grew up, kitesurfing became quite popular. I would see all the kites in the sky and the kiters doing huge jumps, on days when there was too much wind to go sailing. That’s why I wanted to try it myself. I also had that attraction to beautifull powerful waves. In 2012 the KSP in Mauritius took place at the good moment. One Eye was big and clean. I just learned the basic kitesurfing skills and was watching the live stream. From that moment on I knew that I wanted to ride waves with a kite myself at that level. I love being outside in the ocean and forget about all the rest. It’s all about living in the moment. When riding waves I love the adrenaline rushing through my body. I’m quite competitive so once in the water I always try to push myself to improve my level.”
“When kiting, you are subject to the natural elements at sea. These change under the influence of climate change. I try to limit climate change in my job. Another aspect of kiting is the use of wind and waves. Within my work, renewable energy uses the same elements as nature to generate energy with no or less CO2 emissions.
Surfing in Belgium? Is it even possible?
“In Belgium you can kitesurf really well. There are a lot of windy days and their is a big kite community. The swell isn’t that good so for real kite wave training I need to travel.”
What is your favorite surfspot in Belgium? And in the world?
“In Belgium I mostly kite in Zeebrugge as it is close to my work and my perfect afterwork spot. During weekends I like to go to other places like the north of France or The Netherlands. Last year I went on a trip to Chile and the country has really stolen my heart. There are so many good waves combined with a lot of wind. When there is no wind or swell you can do a lot of other outdoor activities. There is so much to discover. Mauritius is one of my favorite places as well.”
What is your choice of surfboard?
“All the boards I ride are made by Appletree Surfboards. It’s a Dutch company with production based in Portugal. Next to making awesome boards they also make eco-surfboards. For kitewave I love the Appleflap 5’8, the Klockhouse 5’6 and the Applino 5’5. When there is no wind, you can find me surfing on the Jonagold 5’10.”
What are your life and surf goals?
“On the competition side, I want to win a GKA world cup! My other goals are to start shaping surfboards myself, to work around ocean protection, to live next to a beautiful spot and to continue having a lot of fun on the water.”
Want to know what Evelien Bolle is up to? Follow her on instagram: evelien_bolle
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