EXCLUSIVE: Meet the two teenage champion kite surfers riding the waves in Estepona on Spain’s Costa del Sol

FOR some, a perfect day at the beach means a dip in the still waters of the Mediterranean but for two particular boys growing up in Estepona, there is nothing better than when the breeze picks up and whips up the waves.

Rafita Keanu Playa
Keanu Merten & Rafa Montero Contreras – Eric Merten

That is when Rafa Montero Contreras, 14, and Keanu Merten, 16 grab their boards and head for the sea for the ‘extreme sport’ of kitesurfing.

Both first picked up the sport when they were just 11 and are now found training as often as the conditions allow it.

“Sometimes it’s three days a week for up to three hours at a time, if the wind allows it,” confesses Keanu in an interview with the Olive Press.

The dedication has paid off with both winning titles in Kitesurfing championships held in Tarifa between September 23 and October 3.

Rafita Keanu Podium
Keanu Merten & Rafa Montero on the podium

Keanu, who was born in Germany before his family relocated to the Costa del Sol began competing at age 12, achieved the title of Junior Under 17’s World Champion as well as first place in the mens strapless freestyle and junior strapless freestyle categories of the Spain Kiteboarding League.

Keanu (6)
Keanu Merten – Eric Merten

“I’m very happy,” Keanu said of his recent win. “It’s the motivation to keep working at it  I want to do this professionally as this is my dream and I want to keep on dreaming and kiting”.

His favourite move is the ‘triple front rodeo’ which sees him soar meters into the air: “I want to fly!” he explains with a laugh.

Keanu (5)
Keanu Merten – Eric Merten

His friend Rafa, who has been competing for just two years, was equally successful in his own field, achieving the title of Junior Under 16’s World Champion and Junior Under 16’s Freestyle World Champion. 

But Rafa admitted that despite being “a little bit nervous” before competitions, it’s still “the best feeling ever”.

The 14-year-old specialises in Freestyle mode, where riders often perform difficult tricks and high powered jumps, and Rafa is a master at a stunt dangerously named the ‘Double Heart Attack’.

Rafael Montero – Eric Merten

“I love the tricks and the power as it’s so much fun,” he said.

“I want to kitesurf every day, every hour as it’s my favourite thing to do,” although when not kitesurfing he enjoys BMXing, surfing and snowboarding.

But for the foreseeable future his focus will be on kitesurfing,

“Now and for the next ten years this will be my job,” he admits but in the future “it will be a hobby”.

To follow the adventures of Keanu Merten follow his website HERE while Rafael Montero Contreras can be found  on Instagram HERE


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