Posted on July 10 2018
Nick and Ilka Kapica: A couple of globetrotting artists.
I actually met their amazing daughter, Emma, first, before arriving in Wellington. Emma was a hardcore, Kitesurfer from the get go. We met at a Kitesurfing Instructors course. Emma had mad respect for her parents and clearly carried their pioneering genes. Emma spoke so highly of them, my curiosity was already set in place. Meeting Nick and Ilka was not disappointing. Welcoming and encouraging, Nick and Ilka play a wonderful 'Mum and Dad' role in the Wellington Kitesurfing World but don't let that fool you. They charge just as hard as any rider out there!
From London, to an underground techno club in Berlin in '91, to Wellington wind chasing. Nick and Ilka literally shape Wellington now and have designed their lives around enjoying every moment of the climate that is Windy Wellington.
My mouth was agape from the moment I walked in through the door of their eclectic Khandallah home. (It's like a set straight out of a Star Wars movie, with the most spectacular harbour views)
Handle: NO! We've never had nicknames.
Nick: Well, I had a pseudonym when my mate and I built and ran an underground Techno Club in Berlin in the early nineties: Rudolf P. Turnbuckle was a millionaire with an English heritage. My mate 'Xavier' was a Russian 'Underlord'. No one wanted to mess with our alter-egos so it helped the club run smoothly.
For a crust, I:
Nick: I'm in 1 of 3 design teams for the Wellington City Regional Council. I'm a brand designer but also offer design consultation for other Council projects.
Ilka: I'm currently working for AtField Architect. Nick has to answer for me.
Nick: [Ilka is a] Designer/Administrator/Project management.
Note: Ilka has such a wide and diverse range of skills it's almost impossible to describe in summary!
Tours of duty around the Sun: Classified. Together just over 100 (they mention with cheeky, youthful smiles).
Years at the bar:
Nick: 9 years, Ilka bought me a course as a gift. Loisin, Greifswald (Boardway)
Ilka: 2008 (The whole family learned)
Favourite weapon and size:
Nick: Ozone 4m Enduro. 7m Enduro.
Ilka: Ozone 7m or 9m Enduro.
Trusty stead: We both have ASP (Carbon Fibre) 135's.
Had lessons: Ilka: Ruakaka, Bernie and Zoe, helped me to get riding upwind. It took me two years. I was Butch’s first customer! We were in Foxton at the 2009 Kite Gala. Butch handed me a kite and gave me some tips on how to fly it. I loved it!
Local spot: (Seatoun but don't want to admit it. Lol), Lyall Bay. Nick: Seatoun is my ‘go too’. I love the place. Our favourite place is Lyall Bay.
Ilka: I prefer Lyall Bay but Seatoun on a good day is amazing. I learnt my first jumps there!
Most exotic location: Nick: Other than New Zealand? Ninety Mile Beach or Rangiputa.
Ilka: I would agree. Anywhere in Northland.
Ilka: Samoa. Hang on, …..Lake Garda (Italy). My first time on a lake, between mountains. I felt very safe, because I could handle the kite.
Dream location: Nick: Capetown …I actually don't want for another place, because I like kiting here.
Ilka: Ninty Mile beach, ….Peru, there are so many places…..Kenya.
Secret spot up north that only Matt Taggart knows. It requires special access: Parengarenga
Kiting Style: Ilka: Dancing on the water (I did some gymnastics to help with acrobatics on the water)
Nick: Cruisy. Not into doing anything too big or too wild (Which is not entirely true because Nick charges!).
Ilka: You could say he is a pretty hard out free rider.
Favourite Kite Jam:
Ilka: Nick's is kiteloop to switch. Nick: No it isn't. Ilka: Well, you only have three.
Nick: A nice quick heel side to toe side transition.
Ilka stands up and demonstrates: Board to handlebar - Perfect 45 degrees
Nick: Her signature move is telling people off on the beach. (Where would we be without our Matriarchs?!)
Actually Ilka enjoys her airtime. Pop to switch and riding smoothly.
I ate sh#t when:
Ilka: I hit a wave [at Lyall Bay] with my inside knee and it felt like hitting concrete. Very painful.
Nick: I’ve come out of Lyall Bay with many kites…..'not working any more'.
Ripped the tip off a bar, torn kites. Eastbourne. Painful, I was trying to do backrolls. I've also been hit by a wave at Waikanae and broke a rib.
What about you Ilka?
Nick: Ilka doesn't crash. (Ilka looks lovingly across at the man that clearly always has her back.)
We've both been subject to the Lyall Bay washing machine.
Lika-Boss moment: (I explained it as that moment when you had such an epic time, that you come out of the water with the most euphoric feeling)
Nick: Almost everytime I ride :) Topside to heel side transitions at Seatoun. Following Justin Grobler and being able to copy his transitions.
Ilka: I wanna kite like Scotty. And Foxton, riding toeside.
Nick: Oh yeah, you could do it before me, and whenever I tried it, I just face planted!
Number one kite tip: Nick: Check the wind
Ilka: It’s about community. Kiting gets better when there’s community.
"I remember some friends went to Russia and bought a MiG. They parked it out the front of the place we were all squatting in." - Nick Kapica.
This is looking out of our bedroom window in Berlin. About forty of us were squatting here, living as 'artists'.