Reconnect. The Documentary.
🙏 Thank you, Jalou 🙏
When Jalou Langeree stepped away from professional kiteboarding and her North team rider contract last year to make Reconnect, we promised to keep it under wraps. Now, we're honoured to share her story with the world.
Reconnect is Jalou's documentary of strength and vulnerability, brought to you by North Kiteboarding and Mystic.
Tune in to watch at northkb.com/reconnect this weekend, where it will be streaming free for 48 hours from 11 Dec (9am CET) to 13 Dec (9am CET).
"As athletes, we are driven to perform, chase goals or be tough out there in wild conditions. There's not a lot of space to see the person without the kite. To really get to know somebody," says Jalou.
"Sharing my story was scary and stressful, but now the big word is out. It felt really good to open up about my inner world.”
Jalou believes we must share these stories because it allows others to speak more openly about mental health issues.
"Many people feel it, but they don't talk about it. The most important part is that people can resonate in their own way with my story. I am trying to break down the taboo on mental health issues. Especially in being an athlete, we are so driven to perform that we don't look at the other side."
The North team is grateful for the considerable part Jalou has played since the 2020 Season Launch and would like to take this moment to say thank you.
Thank you, Jalou, for sharing your spirit and love of the ocean with us. Thank you for opening the door to deeper conversations and being an inspiration and role model to many. At North, we're honoured to be part of your journey.
Jalou ended her team rider contract with North last year but will remain an Ambassador for the brand.
"It's good not feeling pressured to go on the water but going to enjoy it. It doesn't have to be in the most perfect conditions, but if the feeling is right, then I'm going back freely."
"I'm going back to freeriding, and my love for the ocean will always remain.
"You won't see me on any more photoshoots, but there's a lot of young talent who can carry on the role now for me. I'm looking forward to seeing the new generation step it up."
"It's hard when you're young, and you get your first sponsors, you want to become world champion and be on those covers. You step on that quick-moving train, and nobody asks you hey, how are you feeling? Kiteboarding is an independent sport – we don't have a team travelling with us like a physio or personal coach.
"I would have loved to have somebody I could openly talk to, but I was just too scared. I felt like being a woman in a male-dominated sport, I must be happy with everything that comes my way. That's where I just pushed all the emotions that I had far away."
Jalou believes young athletes must keep checking in on a deeper level.
"I've even noticed some guys from my generation are struggling, but they're not speaking up about it yet. They're also holding on to something they know. It's scary to let go. You live a rock and roll lifestyle for so many years – being an athlete, being paid to travel around the world. Without all of that, where would I start? That's scary."
So, what's next for the ex-pro kiter?
"For now, with the documentary, seeing what kind of feedback I'm getting from it, I feel like I need to keep spreading the word. This story can be told everywhere – you see it in the corporate world. Everywhere people are experiencing burnout. It's a male-dominated world at the top of the industry, so women don't always check in where they are standing at that point because they feel like they have to "man up" and try to be like a man to reach the top.
"Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in the day-to-day, working and living up to expectations.... wanting to drive a good car and make good money. We don't check in with ourselves or ask if this is the world we want to live in. Or ask if I wish to do it differently.
"It's vital to keep developing yourself and diving deeper. I will always keep doing self-work by doing breathing sessions, meditation, and being mindful. And spending enough time on my own to really check in and feel where I am standing. I've reached rock bottom, and it's weird to say, but I'm thankful I've been so deep because I have learned a lot. Now, if I feel I'm slipping away towards that darker side of myself, I can recognize it much earlier than I used to. I'm more connected in how I feel these days, which helps me stay in control of what I think is important and best for myself.
"I think you're never done learning or reconnecting with yourself. So, I want to spread the word more."
Jalou will hold a few more screenings this coming year in the Netherlands. She would like to put her energy towards helping youth with Mental Health and do more public speaking.
"I think many things will come eventually if you start slowly. So many little opportunities are coming in now, making my fire burn within. I have the energy to do these things. I'm in a good flow and state of mind. I've missed this feeling, and I'm happy to have it back.
"I'll be a busy woman over the next year! I'm excited to return to the Netherlands to work on these projects, see people, chat and see how I can create something to help others.
Tune in for Jalou's documentary here.
Available for 48 hours from 11 Dec (9am CET) to 13 Dec (9am CET)