Firmly fixed on the kiters calendar, the M.E.A.K Charity Kitesurf Extreme Event 2009 came around again this February at Nyali Beach with spectacular winds and a turnout three times bigger than last year. The new website allowed kiters from all over the world to make their entry and secure a place into the event and attracted kiters from the UK, Ireland, Kenya, Italy, France and Holland.
Hosted by Prosurf Extreme, this year's event was even more important than ever to assure the world that Kenya is as ready as ever for kiters and travellers concerned by last year's politics, and for the first time ever, the Kenya Tourist Board officially recognised the event as an International Sports Event on the Kenya Calendar and website. The Hon. Minister of Tourism Mr. Najib Balala was invited to visit the event where he welcomed Prosurf's initiative promoting sports tourism and economy and informed waiting National TV and Press, that the Ministry would do its utmost to support the promotion of safe kiting and development of the sport within Kenya.
Competitors started flowing in a few days before the 3 day event kicked off, getting in training time on the water during the day, followed by restaurants and nightspots of Mombasa at night. The week's evening itinerary starting with a cocktail evening with the event's headline venue sponsor Nyali Beach Hotel, was followed by dinners, casinos and clubbing allowing all the riders to get to know each other quickly in time for the start of the competition on Friday - Race Day.
The first riders brief was at 10am where the competitors also received a goodie-bag including, MEAK Prosurf T shirts,
Kikoys, Kiteworld Mag 2009 Calendars, Body Shop samples, pens, stickers, discount vouchers and gifts from donating companies.
Race Day had several heats with a short 2.5km race all visible from the Kite Centre to keep spectators involved. Day 1 also had the Kicker event, anchored close into the beach, everyone at the centre could watch riders tear in flat out tear and fly off the back of the 7 foot floating kicker.
The next day saw the start of Big Air which was held over 2 days this year. It was fast and furious with kiters stacking up closely, one behind the other to get as much airtime by the beach as possible.
With a music back drop of the best itunes downloads, vintage commentary on the riders and their heats was heard across the beach PA system courtesy of Dave Ibby North - Kiteboarding Team Manager and Keenan Perrin, 4th time MEAK returnee.
Keenan, together with Irish no 1 Eamon Armstrong, in true charitable spirit shaved off sections of their hair for the Charity MEAK. Fellow competitors voted on half-head, Mohican or something that was reminiscent of one of the bad guys from Batman? Keenan ended up with something that was reminiscent of one of the bad guys from Batman.
Dusk saw the start of the 'Fire jumping' event ? at which was a performance of jumps and tricks over a burning, floating obstacle, drew in the biggest crowd yet. The day rolled easily into the evening with the BBQ on the beach tripling in numbers from last year with local families and hotel guests joining in. With a great combination of good food including menu of fillet steak kebabs, great music spilling out onto the wide, open beach, the ocean lit by a stunning full moon with the Kites Bar open till 4am meant a late start was on the cards for the next day.
On day 3 the wind took its time to arrive, as did some of the competitors but by midday everyone was ready to go attracting the biggest entry yet. Free Style this year was split into 3 groups, Amateurs and a girl's event and boys Pro event. Freestyle was arguably the most spectacular event to watch. The wind howled in and with only 7 min heats competitors raced into the beach loading up with huge power before pulling off trick after trick right in front of the judges and spectators lined up on the beach. The Amateurs event produced a great turnout and entry which is what makes this event work - up and coming Ams get to compete in a 'fun' event back to back with kiters on the Professional circuit.
The girl's freestyle entry had an entry of 6 competitors, and the link up of the Turbulence Angels running Pro Girls Camps in Kenya during 2009 is likely to mean even more women will join for 2010. Johara and Sheryl from the 'Angels' secured a first and third place and Lindsay Kennaway from Kenya fought for position performing a huge quantity of moves to up her scores to a very close second place.
The Pro heat was intense free-styling, old skool and new skool moves dominated by Former British Kitesurf Champion Dave Ibby and closely followed by last years MEAK Winner Luke Whiteside and Irish No 1 Eamon Armstrong.
At the end of yet another incredible MEAK Event week was the much anticipated Prize Giving Party on the Tamarind Mombasa's traditional Arab trading boat Dhow. This was generously donated for the evening by the Tamarind and converted into a bar and dance floor attracting over 120 people all dressed in traditional Kenyan Kikoys donated by the Kikoy Company. Dancing went well into those early hours fueled by 'Dawa' Power, a drink of Vodka and Lime aka 'Medicine' made famous by the Tamarind.
The beauty of the event and MEAK is that is attracts an event with a crew of riders made up with a mixture of locals, professional kiters, promising stars of the future, and a whole lot of goodwill. The sheer joy of being part of such an event brings normally sane folks to shave off heads of hair, buy endless raffle tickets and make generous donations to support an active charity, visibly making a difference to Kenya lives.
The event this year has raised so far a running total Kes 172,000, and has reaffirmed Kenya once again as a stunning home from home for many to return to next year, fixing Prosurf as worthy hosts and Nyali as one of the top international kiting destinations in the world.
CLICK HERE to see a gallery of action images from the event
CLICK HERE to see a gallery of party and lifestyle images from the event
CLICK HERE to choose from a range of galleries of kiting in Kenya
1st ? Luke Whiteside ? UK
2nd ? Riccardo Fortunato ? Italy
3rd ? Carl Coombes ? Watergate Bay, UK
1st ? Dave Ibbertson ? Former UK BKSA No1 North Kiteboarding
2nd ? Eamon Armstrong ? Irish No 1 2008 ? Flexifoil Ireland
3rd ? Luke Whiteside ? UK
1st ? Dave Ibbertson - Former UK BKSA No1 North Kiteboarding
2nd - Eamon Armstrong ? Irish No 1 2008 ? Flexifoil Ireland
3rd ? Lindsay Kennaway ? Kenya
1st ? Tim West ? UK
2nd ?Kevin Lochhead ? UK
3rd ? John Koyiet ? Kenya
1st ? Johara Sykes-Davies ? UK ? Flexifoil, Turbulence Angels
2nd ? Lindsay Kennaway ? Kenya
3rd ? Sheryl Confue ? UK ? Turbulence Angels
1st - Dave Ibbertson - Former UK BKSA No1 North Kiteboarding
2nd - Luke Whiteside ? UK
3rd - Eamon Armstrong ? Irish No 1 2008 ? Flexifoil Ireland
Nyali Beach Hotel Hotel Venue Prosurf Extreme http://www.nyalibeach.co.ke/
Tamarind Mombasa Best Dhow Restaurant in Kenya http://www.tamarind.co.ke/
Kiteworld Magazine (International) www.kiteworldmag.com
Jennifer Kinnear Jewellery www.jenniferkinnear.com
The Body Shop International (UK) www.thebodyshop.co.uk
The Kikoy Company www.kikoy.com
The Bubble Wrap Gift Company www.bubblewrapkenya.com
Go Places Magazine www.bubblewrapkenya.com
The Champagne Company (UK) www.thechampagnecompany.com
Southern Cross Safaris www.southerncrosssafaris.com
Mombasa Air Safari www.mombasaairsafari.com
Vipingo Ridge www.vipingoridge.com
Il Covo www.ilcovo.net
Prosurf Extreme has over 20 years experience in the water sports business in Kenya and we are the only centre in sub-saharan Africa that is certified as a British Kite Surf Association BKSA and International Kitesurfing Organisation IKO centre, teaching from beginner level up to advanced coaching camps.
Medical and Educational Aid to Kenya (MEAK)
M.E.A.K. was founded 14 years ago by a British couple, Mike and Dee Belliere, after they fell in love with Kenya and her people. They are registered in UK and Kenya and recently were commended by the House of Lords for their transparency. Their mission is to establish medical and educational based programs across Kenya. They bring renowned international medical teams from London to lend their time and expertise, without charge, providing life saving heart and eye operations and share knowledge and training with local staff.
MEAK also donates large quantities of medical equipment and consumables to clinics and hospitals in Kenya. We bring attention to the work they are doing each year by holding our Charity Kitesurf Event in MEAK's name. As kitesurfing is such a spectator sport we have a great turnout each year, attracting world class PKRA & BKSA kiteboarders to Nyali for a week of fun and fundraising in support of MEAK.
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