Having an epic time in Dakhla so far! Hit the offshore spot the last couple of days and I started getting some big tricks back in front of the camera board slide toboggan racing over the sand to the spot & not quite making it back before dark thus needing a boat rescue made it interesting
As far as I am aware, the current drysuits on the market used for kitesurfing either leak or are super heavy and baggy. As you can see, what we have here is a neoprene dry suit rather than a ‘membrane’ diver style suit. Both types are available with other companies, the membrane type in some cases disguised to look like a snowboard jacket and trousers. Personally I prefer the look of a close fitting wetsuit rather than a conventional baggy, shiny and naff drysuit
There are advantages of each kind of suit depending on just how cold weather you want to go out in (how many layers you want to wear underneath) and how much flexibility you need.
I found the Patagonia suit to work well on pretty much all accounts, as it is light weight (1774g), closer fitting than other drysuits (but still allows the use of soft trousers/ thermals) and mainly because it is warm and dry. It didn’t get cold enough for me to try too many clothing options this winter but I’m sure that if I was cruising around or stood in the water teaching, then it would have been a really useful bit of kit! (teaching next winter will not be a problem- for me at least The suit was a bit overkill for freestyle in Spring/ Autumn and I did get a bit sweaty with just shorts underneath, but here there is no reason not to use a wetsuit really..?
Like any drysuit with rubber seals It is not super easy to get into, but for sure no worse than others I have tried and I found the latex rubber around the cuffs to be flexible and the right size not to let any water in during a crash/ bodydragging, which is the main thing!
I would say If you want extended session length and enjoyment in the depths of UK winter then a drysuit is worth considering. If you are happy to be weighed down with more neoprene or put up with lots of bunched up clothes, then there are warmer or cheaper options out there, but if you want the closer fitting nature of a wetsuit for tricks but want to be warmer and stay dry, then check this out!!
Back in the UK now after a sick month in WA over Christmas!
Definitely glad to get away as I have been spending most of my time in the UK recently. Keeping up with riders that are pushing it full-time kiting abroad can be tricky in the UK and so this was a good chance to catch up and improve my level!
Riding most days with the UK crew: (Ali Barrett, Morgan Tinsley, Will Mackinson and Rosanna Jury) was Ideal as we all had the same aims and would try each others tricks. The sessions I remember are Ali smashing mobe 5′s every time one sunset session, Morgan going huge on a kite he had never tried before, Will sitting around on the beach but then casually going out and trying blind judge 5′s on a borrowed kite… And Ros crashing powered blind judges but then being totally stoked landing them. Also totally awesome to ride with Molly, Nick, Fabs, Marin, Kyle, Gael, Loose Craig, German Alex, Jordan, Craig V, Johan & Louise.. anyone else????
These days flew by with some quality evening antics in Rockingham and our eclectic musical house of euro’s!
2014 began horribly (for obvious hungover reasons) but then I made it to Augusta with Rick and a jetlagged Karolina. Only a 3hr drive south but was a good change from the pond and I had a (wonderful) session with Ewan, Katy, Rowdy, Karolina, Alex, Will, Dion & Billy with Rick filming (Sorry about the namebombtastic update!). Big thanks to the Hamptons for putting us up (or putting up with us) and Rick for driving!
In my last week after seeing a few sights on the way back to safety bay, I had some quality sessions with the whole crew and collected a bit of footage for a video (On the way soon…) Remember watching a mega 4 insert board breaking crash from world champ Alex Pastor! high risk moves being thrown down! Best of luck to Ewan Jaspan who managed to damage his ankle on the second day in WA, as well as having a shoulder surgery lined up. Tough times for a professional sportsman! Speedy recovery dude!
In the end, although I only learnt a couple of new tricks, I was happy to feel speed and power of my tricks improve, especially towards the end. Maybe partly due to riding in boots as you tend to crash less than straps (such as when you land heavily on one foot- which would send the board off at an odd angle in straps). Since getting comfortable in boots two years ago (before a board breaking crash), I haven’t had the chance to ride boots much and so I’m glad I had time to get used to the new kites and board set-up:)
Competitions and the general direction of the sport is getting far more aesthetic rather than technical so I binned a few of my old switch tricks and hope to ride with more power in the UK from now on!
Perth remains one of my favourite all-round places to kite, live & party. Cheers to everyone who made it awesome! I will be back…
BKSA Troon freestyle comp 13-16 Sept:
A mere 5 or so hour drive thursday evening with a tea stop catch up with a mate on the way go me up to chattea James for a some beers with Craig, Morgan and Rory. Friday and saturday were set to be low wind days and there was a good forecest for sunday. So a fair bit of event/ festival stuff to do such as promoting supersaturated poncho’s, driving around on quad bikes, chatting, eating, drinking and then Saturday evening was pretty chilled since everyone knew they would have to be on it the next day! so outdoor cinema it was then. Sunday came around and the wind was around 25-30 knots all day, most people on 7m kites some on 5′s. The organisers ran the juniors and am men/ ladies first then the seniors and then the pro men/ women. I was first up against Morgan who was going big but looked pretty powered up, I went a bit more cautiously and stuck a few tricks in the strong 7m wind. In my heat against Kevin my kite flew away, not quite sure why that was
The final began and it was all to play for, I had a bit more kite trouble and missed the bar on a couple of tricks, George Dufty was riding really well and landed some of the best tricks that day so deserved the win, which gave him the win overall this year. Rich Flindal was riding really well the last event but was feeling ill on the Sunday so it didn’t go his way…
BKSA Barrow freestyle comp 19-21st july:
Just back from another wicked BKSA event. Not much wind but as usual the crew made the most of it and they managed to run two format’s of competition in the warm weather!
Arriving on the thursday evening as usual for a friday comp start I met up with the riders and organisers for a chilled out few beers and catch up before pitching my tent. Camping does not usually go well with windy kite events but in this case it was warm and light winds were predicted so that was fine.
Friday was …
Ali Barrett & James Boulding made the most of some local knowledge and scored a pretty sweet sunset session with Mark (Ding) Glendinning behind the lens getting James onto the contents page of kitesurf magazine.
The beach BBQ, live music from ….(who has also worked realy hard over the years to support the BKSA event at barrow and keep everyone happy) was followed with a fire and some chilled tunes into the night.
The slopestyle comp was run when the wind was cross-shore and so you could have a downwind run to the right, (do a trick to your right) and then one on the way back in. In 3 runs I was pretty happy to land a late back to wrapped, toeside back to blind pass (pete rose), a nice backmobe, blind judge & a Slimchance which earned me 2nd position after Robin Snuggs who pipped me with a double sbend to blind, powered slimchance and some others. Also riding well was Rich Flindall with some 1 handed handlepasses and a crowmobe.
This time in very similar wind to the …day, a best trick comp was run in which each rider gets a few runs (however many you can do before leaving the comp area/zone) to execute their best move. I believe I did something toeside plus a mobe and backblind pass which again got me 2nd place. George Dufty won this comp with a huge blind judge 3 during a gust and some other nice tricks.
Overall pretty chilled weekend with a few nice tricks landed when the wind came through
So Its the first BKSA event of the year coming up this weekend in Barrow, South lake district! The wind does not look promising at the minute due to all this damn nice weather… but lets see what happens, maybe a sea breeze!
Looking forward to catching up with people from last season as well as all the crew that I was with at Beach Break Live student festival & kite comp a couple of weeks ago. Pretty awesome long weekend all round, props to BBL Benoit, the ska crew for organising another good kite event and Mr Barrett on the win!
I hadn’t kited in a while so was great to session Watergate bay and Perranporth with mates from all around the country and have some huuwgge nights out.
It sounds like there should be a good assortment of riders this weekend (in the pro mens at least), with Juniors moving up (George Dufty & Jordan Hurst), old masters returning aka Robin Snuggs & Mark Connoly, fresh from a season Morgan Tinsley and the usual suspects Dan Sweeney, Richy Flindal, Sam Bull, maybe Jack Daykin & Olly Bridge and any other wildcards. Ali and James Boulding on the case with judging apparently. So I guess I should get some boots on and grab some downwind underpowered backrolls…
Hopefully Ive kept hold of my tricks after ‘experiencing’ my first full winter in the UK for a good few years… Had a few cable wakeboard sessions recently so that’s been good for board skills, have to transfer some more kite tricks soon!!
Still some more footage to sort through so expect a quick paced freestyle video out soon
I would like to thank a new sponsor, PATAGONIA outdoor clothing and technical apparel for helping me out and getting on board!!!
I have been wearing their technical clothing for years now while climbing and mountaineering and pretty stoked that they want to branch into kitesurfing and have me represent them for 2013!
The current line of wetsuits is pretty phenomenal; The full marino wool lining in a grid pattern traps a layer of warm air throughout and also means that after the session the suit dries super quick. Patagonia are also an environmentally conscious and ethical company in terms of having fair labor practices and using recycled and organic materials wherever possible.
Look out for demo wetsuits on the beaches at the upcoming events!
Not strictly kite related.. but here’s a video anyway of a sport I have been getting into recently: Speedflying! Had a pretty epic day speedriding (same but with skis instead of running off) on an awesome snowboarding trip to Tignes in Jan 2013 with a bunch of uni mates. Mixed in with a fun 7m jump and looping session at one of my favourite beaches; Pembrey the day I got back. boom!!
The best non- kite, kite trip? Its up there! Last minute planning as always, so straight on a train to the middle of the country to meet up with luke and Si, heading for Dover!
The plan was Brugge then holland; we had kite gear, tunes and some pasta. sorted
Brugge turned out to be a good first night, parked the van under a tree by the canal and that is where we crashed despite other offers Then on up the road, dissapointingly checking out a good looking kite spot with just not quite enough wind. Onto the KTE event in Brouwersdam (I can still hear Simon saying this over and over- some sort of retarded tune;)
An Amsterdam tour was called for after a day or two of sitting around. Tour guides Jessica (Who Si knew from Perth) and Siemme (Who I had met in Brasil) showed us the sights and Jessica’s parents kindly put us up for 2 nights (and were very funny and open). On walking through the door: So you know my daughter, I produce her in 2 minutes… what an intro!
Spent the other days chilling at the event site and went wakeboarding at a cable park run by one of the other Dutchies I met in Brasil.
On the way back we scored a kicker session at Christophe Tack and Ian Sleuter’s local (Stayed in Ians house that evening) and then back on the ferry the next day. Top class!
Nice one luko for the edit.