So here it is, the charity fundraiser weekend people and kitesurfers alike where waiting for to take the record back form the South Africans who managed 415 kitesurfers to complete the one mile run in January 2016.
The anticipation and build up for this years festival after last year was huge and nothing could excite us more than a challenge to take back what we created. Everywhere you looked; on the web or your email inbox for that matter the VKSA was there pushing its presence and calling to every kitesurfer that could make the event.
It had seemed the weather and wind left the odds stacked against us with what was showing to be a weekend of foil boarding.
Making our way down to the gate we was welcomed by what can only be described as a wall of branded flags, quality food vans and smiling faces dispersed outside the front of a huge marque. Inside the masses congregate amongst brands whom had set up shop for the weekend displaying all the latest in high quality equipment from the biggest brands in the industry showing off the true diversity of the sport. Anything from paddleboards to twin tips, surf boards and all the revolutionary new tech hitting the market in foil boarding with workshops to accompany it. For anyone who loves new tech, the Armada is the place to be!
We saw the presence of Liquid Force holding “brand of the year 2015” with their “rider of the year 2015” Brandon Scheid giving a talk on “How to be a one man media machine”. Slingshot where also amongst the bunch with 2 x British champion and the first rider to win four back-to-back overall titles at the Triple S Invitational; Sam Light making an appearance. Other kite brands that made it down for the weekend include: Cabrinha, CrazyFly, Airush, RRD, Epic, Ozone and Flysurfer.
To start the Saturday off we had a welcome introduction from Lewis Crathern and a brief story of his crash and recovery during Red Bull King of the Air. This was followed by a series of talks to influence and inspire those in attendance and push their progression. We then had history of kitesurfing and equipment by Chris Bull from CBK. Next up a talk on “WOOsting your WOO stats by Leo Koenig.
Following this was Brandons Scheid’s “How to be a one man media machine”. Next up and one for the family by team Volvo athlete and World Kite Racing Champion Steph Bridge on “Getting your kids into kiting”. Next “The early and scary years (1999 to 2003) by Paul Jobin- Co Founder of the BKSA and for those who aim to progress their riding as much as possible we had the founder/ CEO of Progression Rob Claisse and marketing manager Caroline Morris on “7 ways to make yourself a better kiter”. Last but not least we had Mark Shinn from Shinn Boarding alongside Kiteworld editor Jim Gaunt on “Ask not what you can do on a foil, but what a foil can do for you?!”
With both familiar faces and new it really gave the realisation that the kiting community can feel so small and yet when together be so very big. And it’s this thought that continued as the masses flowed in in such a surprising rate. By night the car park was full, the beer was flowing and people where settling in for the night life.
After the talks had stopped and every one was now newly equipped with the knowledge and inspiration to push their riding ability to the next level, the bands took the stage, the crowds gathered and the partying began. Word gradually started to get around that the wind was starting to turn in our favour for the Sunday afternoon.
And it was just like that everyone was doing the wind dance…
The next morning the people awoke to a hazey minded sense of excitement and it wasn’t long until the first kite was in the air, marking the morning where the record was to be taken back from the South Africans.
It was later that day when 423 kitesurfers including local riders Rich Bruce (ATBShop team rider), Jay McDonald and Marcus Murthy took to the water by storm making onlookers and those who participated; proud to be apart of such an event!
Having raised a whopping £160,000+ for charities such as the RNLI and Snow Camp- a charity specialising in taking deprived youths snowboarding, it’s safe to say the event was a complete success! We snatched the record back to it’s rightful place and raised a load of money while doing it… Good going kitesurfing community!
Written and photographed by: Harry Calvert
Addition photography: Dave White K63