Published in May 2021, the Kiteworld Summer print issue is a perfect upgrade to your reading library. Explore more and order your copy here.
KITEBOARDING – OUR REPETITIVE SHOT IN THE ARM!
On the morning that the first level of lockdown restrictions were eased this spring, a man interviewed on the English national news, talked with enormous enthusiasm about how he’d set his alarm for 5.30am, desperate to ensure he’d be first in the queue at 6.30am, where the reporter had found him. When his favourite retail shop opened its doors for the first time since Christmas, two hours later, he wanted a clear run at the merch…
A new pair of trainers were his main focus. Perhaps they were impossible to find online, or maybe it was the idea of freely perusing a shop floor and getting to try a whole range of different shoes on, one after the other, without a care for re-packing any unwanted items, that had kept his flame burning since January. Interviewed again soon after the shops had opened, he seemed pretty stoked with how his morning was panning out. I wondered, come the end of the day, had the after-glow of the experience been a little hollow compared to the total joy he’d been imagining of when toes finally touched trainer?
I was reminded of a sky dive (yes I’m comparing buying trainers with jumping out of a plane!) The free fall itself is over relatively quickly compared to the time spent anticipating it.
It’s the experiences on the water that prolong the sensation of ‘moment’ in a manoeuvre that I really enjoy. They don’t have to be particularly risky, but long enough to absorb everything that’s going on around me. Whether it’s the start-to-finish total experience of tacking a foil, carving a surfboard around a drawn out bottom turn and then trying to transfer my speed into the lip, or simply exploring new spots, kitesurfing is actually full of mind-enriching moments and, unlike skydiving, there’s never long to wait for the next one come along.
Consider a kiteloop. We may think about trying one for a whole year before we’ll even get close to finally yanking the bar with our back hand while we’re airborne, braving to send the kite DOWN in the direction of the water.
We’ll spend months visualising boosting up and then cranking the kite back like Len10. Just the thought might have been enough to see you shivering with excitement through winter. When the actual moment comes that you pull the bar and the kite loops, it may all pass in a flash, but the imprint in your memory will last forever, easily recalled in great detail. Then the build up begins for the next one.
Head to page 116 for this issue’s major technique feature by Lewis Crathern, focused on how to learn kiteloops.
While that may be a piece aimed hard at budding local heroes, another way to ensure you maintain credibility is to brush up on your self-rescue techniques. Find an assortment of tips for how to handle the situation when it all goes wrong from the BKSA’s head of training, Andy Gratwick, on page 112.
The lesson I’ve taken on board through lockdowns is to appreciate my anticipation in order to be more mindful of moments on the water. I’ve learnt to slow moves down in my mind, breaking them apart to work out where improvement will come. I’m carrying that forward into the season and I hope I’ll become a better rider for it.
For most people, the coming months will involve more kiting at home than perhaps ever before, as foreign travel is complicated at present, to say the least. Here in the print issue we present more of an ante-travel vibe, concerned only with the genuine thrill of riding, wherever that may be. We also hear from a stack of riders who made their bed at home throughout last year and very much enjoyed it. The perfect tonic to get you in the mood for this most relished of seasons ahead.
Find the issue’s tests and contents run down here.
See you on the water,
Jim Gaunt, Kiteworld magazine editor