The British Kitesurfing Association (BKSA)'s national competition tour starts in April with a new event in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
The BKSA Dong Energy Clacton Easter Weekender will take place on 6 to 8 April, where the country's best kitesurfers will go head-to-head in freestyle and race divisions propelled by powerful kites.
Event organiser and BKSA Chairman Richard Gowers is looking forward to visiting a new location. He said: 'We're really looking forward to starting off the 2012 championship tour with a brand new event. Clacton-on-Sea is the perfect venue to get things started as the beach works well in a variety of wind and tide conditions.
'Kitesurfing is an exciting sport for both competitors and spectators, and has seen a great increase in popularity over the past few years. Clacton is known as the 'Sunshine Coast' so we're hoping for some good winds and sunshine for the Easter Weekender so our competitors can put on a good show.'
The region is well known in the kitesurf community for consistent and reliable wind conditions ? a fact borne out by the presence of the Gunfleet Sands wind farm 7 km offshore from Clacton.
Operated by event sponsors Dong Energy, the wind farm's 48 turbines generate enough electricity to power 125,000 homes.
Christian T. Skakkeb?k, senior vice president and head of DONG Energy's UK Wind Power said: 'We're very pleased to sponsor this event that harnesses the power of the wind for a fun sporting activity. DONG Energy's Gunfleet Sands wind farm, that harnesses the power of the wind to provide green electricity, will be the perfect backdrop for the event, demonstrating our commitment to offshore wind energy in the UK and bringing benefits such as a kitesurfing competition to local communities.'
David Ursell is the founder of the Push Kiting kite sports school in the town, and has been kiting there for over 17 years.
David said the venue of Martello Tower Bay on Hastings Avenue is a great beach for spectators. He said: 'It's one of the smaller bays so the competitors in the freestyle event will be right in front of the crowds.
'Conditions are affected by the wind direction; in a south-westerly, westerly or north-easterly we have ideal conditions as the water surface will be flat and calm; if it's easterly you'll need to be ready for some choppy waters. Let's hope we have some wind and sun for a great start to the season for kitesurfing and the British tour.'
Local competitor Jake Moore, from Clacton, came fourth overall in the amateur men's championships last year. Currently training in the Caribbean, Jake, 19, is likely to be one competitor to watch at the 'Easter Weekender', where he will be using knowledge of his home beach to his advantage.
Sponsored by Dong Energy, Push Kiting and Edgeriders, the 'Easter Weekender' starts on Friday 6 April with the pro men and pro ladies freestyle rounds, with Saturday 7 April seeing a full programme of competition including course racing, and freestyle heats for pro men, pro ladies, amateur men, amateur ladies, seniors, youths and juniors.
On both days rider briefings will be held at 9am and the first heats will take to the water at 10am, with the running order for Sunday 8 April decided on the previous day.
The event has also received support from Tendring District Council, Best, Mutiny, King of Watersports, Ion and Palmera Local.
Organisers have also announced the full 2012 tour line up with seven events taking place across the UK. The national champions will be crowned at the final event at Westward Ho! in October.
During the 2012 series the UK's top riders will compete in five different disciplines. Propelled by powerful kites, on the water kitesurfers will compete in freestyle, wave and course racing competitions; land-based disciplines include freestyle kite landboard and kite buggy.
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