Dreamland

The coast from Villasimius, in the south-east Sardinia, to Funtanamare, in the south-west of Sardinia, is probably one of the windiest places in Europe. For the North team it was the perfect option to shoot a bunch of new gear. Throw in a luxury catamaran with a captain who knows his way around the galley, a skilled photographer and videographer, North team rider Fabi Muhmenthaler and Olympic RSX champion Marina Alabau, and you have the makings of a pretty special trip…

Photos: Miles Taylor 


Marina

It all started with a call from Alex Vliege… “Marina, would you be up for a trip to Sardinia to shoot with Fabi Mumenthaler?”. My answer was immediate… I’m in!

I missed the briefing call, so it wasn’t until Fabi and I met Alex in Frankfurt that I found out we’d be shooting the new North Nova Light Wind wing, Code Zero kite and Sonar High Aspect hydrofoil series.

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When we arrived in Sardinia, a beautiful catamaran was waiting for us, full of all the new gear and plenty of food. There was a room for each person with a nice bathroom and a hot shower. And there was Rubrio, a fantastic captain and chef, who made amazing dishes every time we came back to the boat, and always with a smile.

Our videographer, Adam Sims, watched the forecast and chose spots where every place was more beautiful. For a few days, we were alone, with no other boats or people around. The landscape looked unreal, and the conditions were delivering. We could not have asked for more.

© PROtography 2022

Each day was fully action-packed. If we were not winging, we were kite foiling. If not paddling, we were training in backflips from the boat or shooting lifestyle shots. There was definitely no time to get bored. Every spot we reached seemed even more beautiful than the last one – the sun rising over the most crystal-clear waters I've witnessed in my entire life.

Owing to the variety of Sardinia's ecosystems, which include mountains, woods, plains, stretches of largely uninhabited territory, streams, rocky coasts, and long sandy beaches, Sardinia has been metaphorically described as a micro-continent. The wind direction could change every day. Mistral (NW), Scirocco (SE), Libeccio (SW), Levante (E), Thermal Wind, etc, can blow from one day to the next.

Adam, a windsurfer, knew everything about the forecast, where and when to go, when to push and when to stop. I just remember him telling us; “that was perfect, but one more, one more.”

One particular day, we were just done shooting near this beautiful little island. The water was glassy, and Adam said, “Guys, get ready to go winging – the wind, it's coming…” The sun was almost down, so Fabi and I looked at each other, thinking “in your dreams, Adam”. Suddenly 12 knots of wind came up, something none of us expected. This beautiful sunset, in this magic place with these special people… Seriously, that day I had the session of my life on the trip of a lifetime.

Fabian

When I found out I was going to share the new North shoot with the windsurf legend Marina Alabau, I couldn't believe it. I still remember watching her win the gold medal at the Olympics in 2012.

It was amazing to get to know her better and see how talented and yet humble she is. You might expect that an Olympic gold medallist could be a bit cocky, but nothing could be further from the reality. Marina is a very chilled and polite person, who enjoys the little things in life and doesn’t get stressed. She’s always got a smile on her face and embraces challenges with a really positive attitude. A true competitive spirit runs through her veins, you can definitely sense that. It was cool seeing her trying new wingfoil tricks every session we had. This woman is definitely pushing the sport.

I remember the sunset session we had. Imagine this: perfect blue water, tiny islands around us, the sunset sky blazing, everything on point for the shot, and as the sun was getting lower Marina and I realized the spot was getting full of jellyfish, every minute we had more and more of those things around us, and within half an hour the only thing you could hear was Marina and I screaming every couple of minutes as we got stung by them. Although you could also hear Alex and Rubrio laughing from the boat…

It was fantastic to have Miles Taylor and Adam Sims as photographer and videographer respectively. To work comfortably you need to have a good connection with the cameras, and these guys made everything super easy. We had a couple of stressful moments when I nearly chopped Adam's ear with my foil… but luckily nothing happened. As Alex Vliege (North Team Manager) says, “If you don't risk it, you won't get the biscuit, bru”.

Alex named me “the meerkat' during this trip. Seems like everybody found pretty funny my way of getting scared, looking at things and spotting the horizon. Just like that, I became Fabi “Meerkat” Muhmenthaler. Guess they'll have to change my name on the North website.

The Sardinia trip was one for the books, a nice week of working hard, enjoying good food, getting to know new people and visiting new places. Creating memories that will stay in my mind forever and just being grateful for the life I get to live and for the people that make this possible.  

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