Red Bull has a different definition for the perfect beach day. The company recently hosted the 2015 Megaloop Challenge in Vandvoort, Netherlands — a coastal town just a half hour west of Amsterdam — on a dark, rainy day with wind gusts pushing 55 mph. The contest consisted of 16 kiteboarders, eight pros and eight invited amateurs, zigzagging over the gray water and launching themselves into the air, in an effort to achieve maximum altitude and a precision landing.
Though the weather was formidable, as onlookers stood huddled on the sidelines in drenched layers of clothing, many of the kite surfers looked right at home. One 19-year-old Dutchman, Lasse Walker, particularly stood out, soaring nearly 38 feet in the air before sticking a landing on the unpredictable surf, a performance good enough to earn him first place on the day.
The day did not go as swimmingly for Steven Akkersdijk, who launched his board 41 feet into the sky but quickly came crashing into shallow surf, where he remained motionless for several moments before being helped up. Thankfully, he was all right, and only had to be treated for an excess of water in his lungs.