Born to perform

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19
Hayden Jonas

Good, better, best has been the mantra of this super athlete born and bred in Bloubergstrand.

Hayden Jonas is all too familiar with the big dreams and high demands of being a professional athlete. He admitted that it took its toll on family life and friendships, but ‘that said, I greatly value the years I spent as a pro’.

As a four-year-old nipper, he had his first bite at riding a PW50 motorbike. Two years later he started racing mini bikes and then 50cc Motocross bikes till age 8. Thereafter, the bikes got decidedly bigger and meaner. After turning 15, he was racing 600cc SuperSport and from age 20 he tackled 1000cc superbikes. Seven Western Province Championship titles later, Hayden hung up his race suit the day he turned 21. ‘I didn’t have the financial means to race in the US and simply didn’t want to burden my parents with the considerable capital outlay of professional motorbike racing.’

Growing up in the watersport mecca of Bloubergstrand and with a family heritage of excelling in various watersport disciplines, Hayden started kiteboarding in 2015 as an escape. Three years later he turned pro. In 2019 he leapt at the opportunity to caddy for the legendary Jesse Richman in Red Bull King of the Air (KOTA) when he podiumed, as well as the following year when Jesse was crowned king.

But then two months after signing with Airush Kiteboarding in 2020 and still floating on cloud nine, horror of horrors: Hayden tried to clear a sand bank, landed short and snapped his right tibia and fibula. Major downtime followed. However, he’s quite philosophical about the accident. ‘I was getting ahead of myself. So, breaking my leg gave me a fresh perspective on life.’

In the 2021 King of the Air, Hayden was caddy to Kiwi powerhouse Marc Jacobs who went on to win the title. But his time as caddy to Marc was cut short the following year when the latter was knocked out. Nevertheless, having contributed to two top kiteboarders’ KOTA titles, Hayden became known throughout the kiteboarding community as the ‘Golden Caddy’.

‘Knowing I played a pivotal role in helping two amazing athletes become legends in our sport feels like a win and I’m proud of that.’ He explained, ‘Caddying involves setting up gear and making sure we’re ready to change kites mid-heat. Essentially, being a support to the rider reduces his stress so that he can focus fully on the competition.

‘That job meant the world to me because it was the closest I ever got to the competition without actually competing in it. Coming from a racing bike career, I understand the value of having a well-structured team around you. It’s half the battle won. Not only does the job require hard work and coordination, but importantly, the rider has to trust you.’

Since October 2023 Hayden has been pursuing a career as watersport instructor/deck hand for Superyachts, hoping to realise his dream of becoming a chief officer or captain. Judging by his relentless resolve and dedication during a successful sport career in two disciplines, there’s little doubt that he’s bound to trounce it.

FAST FACTS
To relax I light a fire and pour a glass of wine
My sport is kiteboarding (of course) and golf
For armchair sport I watch MotoGP and Formula 1
Favourite West Coast place is Bloubergstrand – all the way!
Best restaurant is Doodles in Bloubergstrand
I love eating burgers
My signature drink is Black Label