Our passion for kitesurfing and adventure is the driving force embodied in all our team, which is shared with you when you join us on our specially crafted experiences to world-class kitesurfing locations.

The Zephyr Team consists of mature, friendly, and qualified instructors, coaches, and guides; and with a high ratio of team to guests, we can always offer quality services with no fuss, so you get the best out of your Zephyr Kite Tour.

If you’re keen to be a part of this fun and crazy crew, why not join our team!

BEN STROWGER

OWNER / DIRECTOR

KA SENIOR INSTRUCTOR | STOKECOACH | DUOTONE TEAM RIDER

Ben has been passionate about board sports since he left England in 2003. As a natural motivator and frother of any action sport, he’s been leading people on adventures to snowboard, party, and kitesurf for years. Having worked for Zephyr since 2013, Ben became the proud owner of the business in 2020 and since then has been constantly searching for new and exciting destinations to bring a Zephyr Tour along to!

Ben’s friendly and positive outlook on life is contagious and his passion for kitesurfing and adventure will blow you out of the water – literally! His tagline of, “Keep it simple, make it stylish,” will have you kiting with more style and better technique in no time. While coaching, Ben likes to focus on progression, ensuring that all his clients finish each session with a smile and stoke!

He loves to fly high and boasts a WOO record of 24.4m (#4 all-time in Australia). Ben’s favourite time to kite is when a storm front is rolling through and the wind gusts above 30kts. However, when out of the water, Ben puts all his focus and energy into ensuring he delivers the highest level of customer service, providing you with the best customer experience.

When he’s not living the stoke kiting in remote destinations around the world, Ben works for our partner retail shop Ocean Addicts in Sunshine Coast, QLD.  Check out his Stoke Coach sessions for the ultimate inspiration and see why he gets people to follow him anywhere around the world for the stoke.

CAT JAY

CREATIVE DIRECTOR & ADMINISTRATION

KA LEVEL 1

Cat first set out to pursue adventure in sports tourism in the mid-2000s when she moved to Whistler, Canada to work as a snowboard instructor. After relocating to the Sunshine Coast, QLD in 2018, the warm waters and smaller swell of sunny QLD provided Cat with the perfect opportunity to take up surfing. With the windy, sunny days of summer, it only seemed natural to expand her board-sport repertoire to include kitesurfing.

Cat completed her Kiteboarding Australia Level 1 in 2021 and has been managing the Ocean Addicts Kite School over the 21/22 summer season. Cat enjoys connecting with her students by tailoring each kite lesson to their specific needs, recognising that each student has a different learning style.

As a kiter, Cat appreciates long, flat-water sessions in moderate winds (her favourite kite is her 9m Duotone Evo SLS), where she can consistently push her skill level and improve her technique. She is keen to progress her riding to learn some unhooked freestyle moves and execute her jumps and rotations with more style.

After working as a high school teacher for 10 years, Cat now works in marketing, graphic design, and website management. With the expansion of Zephyr Tours and the increasing range of activities offered on tour, Cat joins the Zephyr team in an administrative role while also lending a hand with the tour photography.

RAN ESHEL

GUIDE

COCOS ISLANDS: 2021, 2022

Ran first became part of the Zephyr Team in 2021, and re-joins the crew in the Cocos Islands this year for the 2022 season. Hailing from Israel, Ran moved to Australia 3 years ago to pursue kitesurfing and surfing waves. Ran’s love of ocean activities led him to work on a commercial fishing boat up in Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands for two seasons. Having spent two seasons in northern W.A., from Gnaraloo to Exmouth, Ran’s kite skills developed exponentially.

Ran first taught kitesurfing in Israel, however, he only developed a passion for freestyle kiting since moving to Australia and has now discovered how awesome wave kiting can be. He has a unique kitesurfing style, and loves to fly high, spending most of his time inverted, looking down on the world!

Basing himself in the Margaret River, Ran works as a carpenter and loves to express himself creatively by building things with his hands. He is a keen spearfisherman and plans to bring his mad fishing skills to Cocos, adding freshly caught fish to the menu! With his trademark “fro” and super chilled vibe, Ran is stoked to be coming back to the Cocos Islands this year!

IEKE VERKUIL

INSTRUCTOR / COACH

KA LEVEL 1

COCOS ISLANDS: 2021, 2022

Ieke joined the Zephyr Team for the 2021 Cocos Islands tours and quickly decided that this is what kitesurfers’ dreams are made of! On a trip to Bali in 2013, Ieke had her first kitesurfing lesson and never once hesitated to continue with this awesome sport! Originally from the Netherlands, Ieke moved to Perth in 2012 and settled in Safety Bay for easy access to Perth’s most famous and best popular flat-water location, The Pond, where her love affair with kitesurfing continued. Working as a Kitesurfing Australia instructor with WA Surf and coaching kiting with GoKiting, Ieke’s kite skills went from strength to strength, coming in a very reasonable 6th place in the Lighthouse to Leighton race in 2019 and 2nd in the WA State Freestyle Nationals in 2020.

Ieke’s equally as happy riding her twintip and practicing her tweaks as she is enjoying the silence and freedom of riding a foil. While not on the water, Ieke works in a hospital as an ICU Clinical Nurse, these skills being equally appreciated as part of the team!

What’s her ideal day in the office? Sunny, 22 knots, and motivated students who love to learn how to kite or improve their riding by pushing it to the next level! Ieke’s favourite thing to do is kitesurf until sunset, and she is looking forward to again being part of the Zephyr Cocos Islands Team in 2022.

MARNIX VAN WINKELHOFF

INSTRUCTOR / COACH

KA SENIOR INSTRUCTOR

COCOS ISLANDS: 2021, 2022
NORTH QLD: 2022

Marnix first flew a kite about 7 years ago, and never looked back! Moving around Perth, testing out the different kitesurfing spots, Marnix was drawn to the summer sea-breeze and flat water on offer at The Pond in Safety Bay. Having an appreciation for the diversity of kitesurfing, Marnix never gets bored of laying down a long darkslide or practicing an old-school board off and is always motivated to improve his riding or try something new.

With a degree in Sports Psychology, Marnix is a natural motivator. Working as a coach for GoKiting in Perth, Marnix enjoys running kite clinics, focusing on progression, and supporting other kiters to continue improving and learning new tricks. Off the water, Marnix owns his own business, Marnix Photography, capturing candid moments and happy memories working as a wedding photographer. His kitesurfing motto? “The best kitesurfer is the one with the biggest smile! Especially in front of the camera!”

Happiest when it’s blowing 22 knots and riding his twintip, it’s no wonder Marnix was drawn to the Cocos Islands, first joining the Zephyr Team in 2021. Returning in 2022, Marnix can’t wait to get back and be on the water every day, sharing his passion for kitesurfing!

LUIZ MATTOS

INSTRUCTOR

KA LEVEL 1

COCOS ISLANDS: 2022

Luiz has embraced kitesurfing and the unique lifestyle it offers since taking up the sport in 2017. Having a passion for travel, Luiz saw kitesurfing as an opportunity to feed his desire for adventure, having explored Sri Lanka, India, Croatia, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, and France.

Settling in WA in 2020, Luiz’s life revolves around kitesurfing – following the winds, focusing on progression, and enjoying everything that comes with it. He sees kitesurfing as a multifaceted activity, experiencing feelings of joy with each new accomplishment, learning new things, and reaching new highs, while also interacting with nature and the unique environment around him.

Outside of kitesurfing, Luiz’s hobbies include snowboarding, skiing, and scuba diving. This will be Luiz’s first season in Cocos with the Zephyr Team, and we’re stoked to have him on board!

MAX MEERTENS

CHEF

COCOS ISLANDS: 2022

Max joins the Zephyr Team this year for the 2022 Cocos Islands Tours. Originally from the Netherlands, Max first travelled to Australia to feed his desire for cookery, and passion to explore Farm to Fork culinary style. After travelling around Australia in a campervan, Max settled in Perth in 2021, and naturally, he picked up a kite and has never put it down! Max considers his obsession with kiteboarding as an ‘addiction’ and loves the thrill and adrenaline of kiting in a storm.

Max enjoys seeking out the freshest ingredients to create healthy inspiring meals, from freshly caught seafood on a BBQ to a slow-cooked smoky brisket complimented with an ice-cold beer. With over 10 years of experience in professional kitchens, Max will be sure to tantalise your tastebuds with his unique creations.

Max’s dream conditions for kiting are 25 knots and flat water on a 9m Duotone Dice. His dream condition for cooking, however, is everything in the sunshine!

MARTIN

INSTRUCTOR / GUIDE

IKO LEVEL 2

COCOS ISLANDS: 2021, 2022

Martin returns to the Cocos Islands this year after working with the Zephyr Team in 2021. Growing up in Germany, Martin has travelled the globe seeking adventure and experiences in anything from dancing to martial arts, to windsurfing and wave surfing. He has extensive experience working in wind and water sports, having first tried kitesurfing on the Sunshine Coast, QLD in 2016. Martin fell in love with the sport and immediately felt compelled to pass on his passion by becoming a kitesurfing instructor and has worked as a freelance full-time instructor since 2017.

Always happy and smiling, Martin’s strengths as an instructor are his calm manner and persistent patience, ensuring his clients feel safe and supported. Martin loves old school tricks, strapless freestyle, and wave riding.

Martin is into yoga, diving, and fitness, and currently works as a chef in Perth.

IAN YOUNG

INSTRUCTOR / GUIDE

IKO LEVEL 2

COCOS ISLANDS: 2022

Ian joins the Zephyr Team for the first time this year. As a pioneer of kitesurfing in Australia (since 1997), Ian has dedicated the best part of two decades to the development and competition of the sport and is still stoked. As an IKO Level 2 Instructor since 2002, he has safely introduced more than 2000 people to the addiction of kiteboarding.

Ian was a Contest Director of the Kiteboarding Professional World tour from 2003 to 2007 and has travelled to many epic kitesurfing destinations around the world. In 2014, Ian embarked on a solo kitesurfing mission for charity, kiting more than 1300kms from Scarborough to Exmouth, and raising more than $22,000 for SoldierOn.org.au in the process.

Now residing in Lancelin, Ian enjoys the epic kitesurfing conditions on offer, with consistent wind all year round, and the choice between legendary waves or butter flat water as his playground. In addition to kitesurfing, Ian’s passions include adventure, travel, photography, SUP, and cycling.

Ian is really looking forward to his next adventure in Cocos 2022 and brings with him a wealth of kitesurfing knowledge, experience, and I’m sure a story to tell, or three!

JAMES NICHOLSON

INSTRUCTOR / GUIDE

KA LEVEL 1

COCOS ISLANDS: 2021, 2022

James first discovered kitesurfing in 2016 after studying Architecture and moving to Melbourne. He was immediately hooked! Being drawn to the ocean and the outdoor lifestyle, James saw kitesurfing as an opportunity to travel and meet like-minded people.

In 2020, James completed his KA Level 1 and followed this up by being a part of the Zephyr Team in Cocos in September of the same year.

Since getting hooked on kitesurfing, James has not spent much time behind a desk, rather, he has pursued a variety of opportunities such as working in skydiving, tourism, and carpentry.

James is excited to be heading back to Cocos this year to help support the crew and ensure our clients not only learn new skills and develop their riding but also have a safe and fun experience! Welcome back!

TOM HEBERT

New Caledonia Local & Duotone Team Rider

Behind his cool, crazy, pin-up boy image is a professional and patient guy who is dedicated to inspiring everyone who kites to have fun – and to make it stylish #newcalstyle!

We have been working with Tom since 2010 when he joined us on tour to the Cocos Islands. Tom runs his local Zephyr Tour off of his Yacht in New Caledonia from November to January each year.

JENNIE MILTON

K7 Adventures Guide & AdrenaJen Founder

Jen is a ski instructor, kite instructor (on snow and water), backcountry guide, extreme heli-skier, avalanche expert, ski retailer and representative, ski photographer and licensed drone pilot – just to name a few!

Jen has a background in sailing and has competed and won both snowkite and kitesurfing events. She was invited on the North American snowkite tour and travelled with the top snowkiters in the world winning the women’s title, going on to beat all the men at the finals in Alaska too!

Her understanding of mountains and wind is built on over 30 years of experience, so joining her on our Thredbo and Alaska tour is your chance to pick up some incredible tips from one of the world’s best in the field.

Working with K7 Adventures, she is stoked to be offering the only back-country snow kite school in Australia.