The 2nd round of the British championships took place on the 18th-19th of June on the huge beach of Pembrey country park in South Wales. On the Friday morning the alarm woke us at 3:00am, so we jumped out of bed to start the drive down to Pembrey in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. On route, I was surprised to be driving through the down pour of rain…. as having checked the forecast, I knew that the friday had the best wind forecast and the plan was to shoot some photos on my new Escape V5s before the event starts on Saturday.
On arrival the rain had stopped and the weather was a mix of clouds and sunshine, phew! With me being so excited to blast the big beach, we quickly checked the beach to see what the wind was doing….. cross on 15mph, awesome! We then ran back to the van and I got my 17m Fury and 13m Escape kites. My partner Cristina grabbed the camera and spare lens, preparing to shoot something a little different, so we headed down the beach to see if anything stood out. At which point the tide had just got low enough to expose an old shipwreck. We set up and I headed out on the 13m for a free ride, the beach was in perfect condition. The wind was nice and steady and the next two hours were spent blasting and throwing tricks around and over the shipwreck with a massive grin on my face, as it got towards mid day a few of the other riders turned up to join in and enjoy the free ride.
On the Saturday, riders briefing was at 9:00am at the Pembrey Country Park. We turned up at the camp site, where I noticed the turn out of riders unfortunately was not good. When I say this, I mean there was only Will Rose and myself in the Land Board Pro’s, but it was not just the Pro land Boarders that suffered, as the Amateur Land Boarders had just 2 competitors as well (Umar Al-Rawi and Steve Parkes). It was not just here the numbers where low, Buggy Pros and Amateur numbers where not good either. Now at no point was I expecting to write about an event with such a low turn out. Anyway, Will Rose and myself rode 2 heats out of the suggested 3 as the tide was against us. The 1st heat was low wind, making it great to get the new school tricks flowing. In the second heat, the wind picked up, giving us the chance to do some big air, and for me this is what Kite Land boarding is all about. The enjoyment of riding against a good friend and that test of the mixed conditions, really pushed us as riders. I landed all my tricks I expected to apart from one, which got me 1st place. I am super stoked with the win!
At the first event of the year there was a vast amount of people who turned up. You do have to ask yourself why? Was it the wrong weekend? Is there a loss of interest in UK land riders competing, is it as simple as other commitments? (As it was Fathers day on the Sunday). Or could it be the big worry that actually, there is no young blood in the sport? The fact is, that on the same weekend the PKA held a event at the same beach with 30 competitors, now thats more like it! But what can we do to encourage riders to get more involved with competing? Something to think about. If I am honest, I am worried about the future of this sport that I am so passionate about. Are we really going to turn in to riders that just promote only via social media such as videos on youtube and never socialise and interact with each other? I'd really hate to see it go that way.
I would like to encourage kiters out there reading this, to come to events, compete and enjoy kite land boarding, to progress, no matter your level. Competing is a great thing, its fun and a new way to make friends and enjoy the sport together. Nothing beats a big group of the kiting community showing what the sport is all about, and lets not forget the BBQ and a beer of course. These are exactly the reasons Will and I decided to compete, alongside the other groups of riders. It keeps the sport we love alive, and you never know who you can inspire.
On that note, get yourself down to the next event at Westward Ho! North Devon, create new memories, make new friends and enjoy the event with us all. The event is on September 15th-18th at Westward Ho beach and keep up to date at http://www.rawkite.com
Hope to see you all at the last round of the year
Picture credits Cristina Murphy
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