What Peter starts, he does excessively. After the adventure of being a professional kiter, he joins the development department of skywalk paragliders. Then for years, you could only find him in the air mastering his paragliding skills to perfection. Just a few weeks ago he changed his sports equipment again to successfully compete in an international foil racing event with the VMG. We know him as a person who is always fully committed.
Chris: Hello Peter, many know you from the early days, as one of FLYSURFER’s figureheads. Tell us how it came about! I heard wild stories that you experienced with the then German freestyle champion Sebastian Bubmann. Do you want to share a special experience with us? What made the time so special?

Peter: I could tell you, how I met Bubi at Munich Airport on the way to Tarifa. At first we had to go to the closest pharmacy there, etc. … but that’s not appropriate for young people. That’s why I prefer to tell you how he destroyed after a crash one of these small huts near the Cauipe lagoon in Brazil with his PSYCHO3. The local owner didn’t think it was as funny as we did. He not only confiscated his kite and board but also himself and asked for a ransom of 100 real. Of course, we didn’t have any money with us, and I had to drive the long way back to the guesthouse in our rental car to bail him out again. On the way I got caught in a rather big forest fire, only to be checked by the military police without ID or vehicle papers. You can imagine when I got out of the whole mess and arrived at the guesthouse, I really thought about leaving the guy with the nice restaurant owner for another night. Nevertheless, we were a good team, had to show the spirit and drive with our foil kites at shootings and events and shaped the time in the competition scene dominated by tube kites in our own way.

Chris: Haha, I didn’t even know the story! Especially when you consider that Sebastian is a management consultant and you develop products that are about safety, or better said about survival. Interestingly, you are still loyal to the kite community. You and Benni Bölli got caught by the hydrofoil hype very early on. As everyone knows, you didn’t do things by halves but went straight to the first competition. Are you still tempted to measure yourself against others?

Peter: After years of abstinence from the kite-freestyle competition scene, I returned to the kitefoil racing discipline in 2014. Everyone still rode those big, bulky Formula boards and had little experience on the hydrofoil. Just as little as I did about tactics or the importance of signal flags at the time. Not infrequently, I mercilessly missed the starting shot and then sailed after the field in a daring chase. Over time, the fleets got bigger and bigger, and the level of the riders got better and better. I had also learned a lot and was now on the first tour of the Kitefoil GOLD-CUP, which was the world championship in hydrofoil racing at the time. Back then it was already impressive how fast the scene and the material developed from event to event.
Since it has become clear that kitefoil racing will be an Olympic discipline in Paris in 2024, many young guns have also picked up kite foiling, which has given the scene another big push.
As an “old dog” and father of a family with regular employment relationships, I can do little to counter this. But I’m happy to be able to take part in one or the other event and even more if it’s enough for the podium!

Chris: At this point, I would like to mention that you won the master class at Lake Traunsee at the Kitefoil World Series. “Old dog” is probably more like “fast old dog”. There are a number of videos from snow kiting to land kiting and finally very successful short videos of you on social media. When you think back, which trip do you remember?

Peter: I once had the pleasure of telling the prospective kite instructors something about our FLYSURFER soft kites at an IKO training course and then practically familiarizing them with our kites. I flew from Munich to Cabarete in the Dominican Republic over the weekend Friday – Sunday. The schedule was so tight, just imagine that I couldn’t ride a meter on the water myself. Since this has been my only trip to date where I haven’t come to kite myself, I remember it in an amusing way.

Chris: I think I would have gone nuts. Cabarete is known for winds in the 20-knot range and has perfect kicker waves. The spot is ideal for freestyling, especially for right-foot-forward riders. You can be found in the air a lot again and you have returned to flying. Do you get bored with a sport or are you always looking for something new?

Peter: I’m basically always looking for something new. The attraction of simply learning something new. Kitesurfing as well as paragliding is three-dimensional and, with all its different styles of surfing and flying, offers not only a high potential for addiction, but also the possibility of reinventing yourself in the respective sport. Be it kite freestyle, foil racing, wing foiling or cross country and acrobatics flying. If you get bored here, you haven’t even rudimentarily exhausted the potential.

Chris: I think very few kiters have only tried the many facets of the sport to a rudimentary degree. I have to admit, I only became aware of that through my contact with FLYSURFER. Let’s talk about synergies. You have already developed a number of successful products with your colleague Dominik Asteiner for skywalk paragliders and implemented a high-quality, visually appealing design language for the harnesses. Is there a FLYSURFER project that would appeal to you?

Peter: I see my strengths in the soft goods area and the technical implementation, where we skywalk paragliders – FLYSURFER, already use efficient synergies. Be it World Travel or Universal Kite bags, which we have already been able to complete as a successful project. What’s particularly fun for me is the collaboration with the two FLYSURFER developers Maxi Kühnhauser and Benni Bölli, with whom I also like to go on a private kite session at the lake. A lot of good comes around and people like to philosophize “out of the box”, where everyone brings in their input from their field. It can be a dynamic talk until well after midnight.

Chris: Exchanging ideas is always good and working with friends is a lot of fun. Finally, I have to ask you about the wingfoil boom. Have you tried it? Do you think that it is the future in water sports, or will kiting with its diversity remain the more interesting sport for you? Thank you for your time!

Peter: I not only tried it, but even sewed together a WING myself from an old STOKE at the beginning. Shape and performance left a lot to be desired, which is why I am very happy that Maxi has built the MOJO, where I could try it again without any material deficit. Every beginning is difficult and so, like back then, I “messed up” with hydrofoiling.
The right material is necessary and decides the speed of your learning curve. I was able to ride a few meters with the MOJO in the third session. I see the greatest added value for me personally in inaccessible spots or crowded beaches or swimming zones, which simply does not allow you to kite and take off safely from land.
Unfortunately, we often have this combination here at Chiemsee in Germany, so that the wing foiling boom has hit us in full.

As with kitesurfing, wing foiling offers several disciplines in which you can look for your challenge. Be it just pump foiling, wing foil racing, wave riding or now more and more in freestyle.
The scene is growing and is just going to be another interesting sport alongside kitesurfing itself. After more than 9 years, I am still fascinated by kite foiling so much that I find it difficult not to go kite foiling on a good day.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank skywalk paragliders for Peter’s time. Because there are only a few who shaped FLYSURFER over a really long period of time. With this in mind, we look forward to another 20 years with “Breaking Peter” 😉 we are looking forward to it!

Finally, here is a video – “treat” from 2008 of Peter in Brazil.

Christoph Hesina

Photo Credits:
FLYSURFER Archiv, skywalk paragliders Archiv – Daniel Gassner, IKA – Alex Schwarz
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