DPC Team: Hi Jeremie, thanks for taking the time for this interview. We are very happy that JT Pro Center has joined the Duotone Pro Center family. Your kitesurfing school is located in one of the most beautiful kitesurf locations in the world. What made you decide to open a kitesurf school?
Jeremie: Yes, I am also very excited!
After many years of traveling the world and being on the search for the best kite spots in the world, I realized that nothing compared to Union Island. So, I came back to this slice of paradise and opened a kite school. Operating a kite school allows me to spend a lot of time in the water and to also progress my own skills. It feels like I am on an endless kite trip.
DPC Team: You have been kitesurfing from a young age and even built your own equipment. What makes you so passionate about kitesurfing and can you tell us a little bit more about how you got started?
Jeremie: I started kite surfing when I was 12 years old which was in 1998. Kitesurfing was a new sport back then and we didn’t know much about it. My uncle used to work in a sail repair shop and gave me my first kite – a 3m foil kite. I was living on Martinique at the time and had only little access to the internet, therefore it was not easy to get my hands on some information regarding how to learn kitesurfing. So, I tried to figure it out myself. In the beginning I even used a body board.
In 2000, the first inflatable kites came up and somebody brought a ripped 7m Naish kite to the repair shop. To repair it, we ended up unstitching the whole kite which ultimately provided us with the patterns. Shortly after that, I started putting together my own kite. It took me a month to cut all the pieces that I needed and another two months to stitch them together. I used my grandma’s sewing machine to do it. Eventually, I was done and had my first own kite. By that point I had upgraded from a body board to a windsurf board which was still not ideal. Today it is fairly easy to advance in kitesurfing because there is so much knowledge and good equipment out there but back when I grew up, I had to figure everything out myself.
DPC Team: Why did you choose Union Island as the location for your kitesurfing school?
Jeremie: Union Island is a very special place as it combines a great lifestyle, offers consistent wind conditions and has a beautiful landscape. It is not only ideal for kitesurfing but also to create footage because it just looks incredible.
DPC Team: Have you ever thought about opening other kitesurfing schools somewhere else? If yes, what would be your top three locations?
Jeremie: Yes, I have definitely thought about it. What is still holding be back, is the fact that when you are not there at the kite school every day, it is hard to maintain a certain standard. In comparison to other watersports schools, I train new people every year at my school in the Grenadines because people are only coming to work for a season.
Some of the places that I liked a lot during my travels were Brazil, Greece and Zanzibar. However, if I were to open another kite school, I would want to do it in a place that is not known yet. A place where there is no competition and that offers all the great things that Union Island has.
DPC Team: Besides kitesurfing lessons and rentals you also offer kitesurfing excursions. Can you tell our readers what they can be expecting from this offer?
Jeremie: Union Island is located in the middle of the Grenadines which makes it a great starting point to go to different kite spots as everything is quite close. There are two good spots on Union Island and three more in the surrounding area. With the speed boat it is only a 10 to 15-minutes boat ride from the kite school to the other spots. We do excursions every week and they are always a lot of fun. Besides kiteboarding we also have a barbecue on the beach and swim with turtles. At the end of the trip we launch our kites from the Tobago Keys and go downwind for 40 minutes until we are back at the kite school. The downwinder is for experienced kite surfers only as it requires a lot of skills. It is definitely the highlight of a trip to Union Island.
There is also a downwinder that takes you directly from the surf school to other kite spots around Union Island.
This is why staying on Union Island is the best way to kite and discover the Grenadines.
DPC Team: Which accommodation would you recommend when staying on Union Island and visiting your kitesurfing school? Do you also help with the booking?
Jeremie: Yes, we do help with the booking. There are two hotels that I strongly recommend because they offer high quality service. One is right next to the kite school and more affordable. You will get direct access to the kite launch area which is normally private property. So, this is a big plus.
The other one is a high-end luxury resort on a private island and only a 5-minute boat ride away from the kite school.
Just send us an email and we will find the best place for you to stay at.
DPC Team: What do you do on a day without wind?
Jeremie: There are very few days without wind which is why Union Island is such a great kite spot. On those days, there are still a lot of activities that you can do. For example, we offer standup paddle excursions and go downwind with the current which makes the paddling a bit easier. We cruise down the lagoon to some mangroves and beautiful beaches and then usually a boat comes, picks us up and takes us back to the kite school. Besides the standup paddle excursions, we also offer snorkeling excursions that we do via boat.
There is also a local dive shop in case someone is interested in that. Another great thing to do is exploring the island during some trekking.
DPC Team: You invented a new trick – the Jesus Walk. How did you come up with it?
Jeremie: I came up with the idea around 2002 when I was still on Martinique. At the time I started doing competitions over in Europe. As a result of our slow internet, I never really knew what the competition was working on. I lived in a bit of a bubble on Martinique. One day I tried to simulate a run on the water and was just playing around with tricks. It was spectators’ reaction to my trick that made me further work on the Jesus Walk and pursue it.
The good thing about Martinique was that I could kite all day every day because of the good conditions. At the time there was no influence from the outside, so you had to come up with tricks yourself which was hard. My friends from Europe had people that filmed them when they were doing tricks which helped them to progress. I didn’t have anyone which is why I got into photography and videography. I still love producing great content to this day.
DPC Team: What tricks are you working on at the moment? Judging from your Instagram feed you are very inventive when it comes to performing new tricks.
Jeremie: These days, I am merely just doing ridiculous and silly things, to get inspiration. One of the stunts that I recently pulled was dropping off a palm tree. It generated a lot of views which is not only good for the marketing of the location but also for sponsors.
Right now, I am mostly playing around with different cameras and angles, with the aim to record a trick in the best way possible.
DPC Team: Thank you Jeremie for sharing your story with us. Keep sharing exciting content and keep us posted on what’s happening at your Duotone Pro Center on Union Island!