ISLAND STYLE

The aesthetic differences between a lake resort in Italy and the dusty moon-like landscape of Fuerteventura could not be starker. But that’s part of the charm for Pietro Kiaulehn, who uses his time spent on the island to develop his knowledge of every aspect of its wild landscape. And that includes its rugged and often dangerous coastline.

Photos: Ronny Kiaulehn


Since I can remember, I always spent a good part of my wintertime in Fuerteventura every year, alternating it with Lake Garda where I live the for the rest of the year.

The island is like a second home for my family and me: my father was there as an 18-year-old windsurfer the first time and later as a windsurf tester and developer for many years. At that time, alongside working on sails and boards he also designed and developed windsurf harnesses with a completely new concept which set the pace for today’s semi rigid harness designs, in some ways.

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Fuerteventura is one of the places I love the most. Here I have a lot of good friends, and among them is Klaus, my father’s best friend and his former test partner, who taught me a lot about the island and its secrets. Then there’s Rob, a superb kitesurfer and biker, with whom I always spend a great time in the water and on the island’s free ride bike trails. There are many other friends too who are deeply integrated into the water sports scene over there and are a wealth of knowledge in terms of spot and riding experience.

“It’s a place where I can be in the water every day, doing the sports I love, mainly wing foiling, and tow-in surf foiling.”

Mainly thanks to Klaus, I’ve learned a lot about the island over the years, the extremely delicate balance of nature due to the lack of rainwater, how to sow potatoes and how to pollinate edible plants with cotton swabs because of the lack of bees on the island.

It’s a place where I can be in the water every day, doing the sports I love, mainly wing foiling, and tow-in surf foiling. In December and January, I had plenty of days of good conditions, and I traveled to all the best spots along the often-perilous North Shore. There are so many good spots where you can jump into the water and have fun without causing any trouble to other surfers. Here I can push my gear to the limits… My Naish Hover 50l and 75l, together with the Matador LT and Wing Surfer MK4 wings. I try to put as much stress into them as possible, with speed and intense high jump sessions, just to confirm how good their strength and durability really is. It never fails to surprise me what they’ll take.

In my opinion it’s important to know how every single spot works and if the conditions are good enough to have fun and to be safe at the same time. That’s why I think you should always pay attention to what the local surfers do. They’ll know all the ins and outs.

It happened on a North Shore spot recently. The south wind was particularly strong, completely offshore. At a first glance it was wonderful… a very powered and constant wind. I could have tried my Wing-Surfer MK4 3.0 for the first time. I was pumped and ready to jump into it. But having waited for a bit and observing the water for longer, I noticed there were a lot of rips heading out to the open sea. Nobody was in the water and nobody was thinking about getting in the water on their wing foils in those conditions. One little mistake would have meant not to being able to get back to the beach anymore, maybe the loss of your gear, and then just hoping that someone would call in a rescue. It had happened just a few days before.

So, it’s better to be wise and head to another spot, perhaps on the east coast. It might not be so powerful on that side, but it’s less risky for sure. 

It’s all part of getting to know this wonderful island better.  

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