Fresh off the plane home from the King of the Air, Lewis Crathern spotted a storm and green light for the Emperor of the Air event in Rhyl, Wales, and missioned up immediately for the win!
Words: Lewis Crathern / Photos: Geoff Fousert
Whilst in transit back to the UK I noticed on the charts that storm Arwen was on its way to the UK. I also noticed that U.K big air event – ‘Emperor of the Air’ had the green light. I had little time to make a decision with the competition far away in Rhyl, North Wales – over 300 miles away. Whilst those around me advised that I had nothing to prove after my disappointing KOTA event I knew that this wasn’t true.
I felt that this event and its timing directly questioned my passion for extreme big air. It was to myself that I had something to prove. I packed my gear and set off overnight to meet the storm head on in North Wales with one goal : to win the event.
In the space of 24 hours I had driven 12 hours, slept 4 hours competed in the storm, returned home and achieved my goal. It was for me a great reminder to believe in yourself and to take on challenges.
When I arrived in the early hours of competition day I could not enter the town via the planned route. Trees were down everywhere and the odd trampoline blew down the street. I don’t think I can remember seeing so much wind before. Even the hotel was shaking.
As the comp started to unravel it became clear to me that I needed to call on every bit of experience I had. Staying warm in the 0 degree wind chill was important as was setting up in the right place, timing your entry to the water and constantly moving the kites around the beach to anticipate the moving tide. I loved every bit of it. I shared the final with upcoming junior star Max Tullet and one of my old rivals from the British Tour days Ned Taylor. It felt great to come out on top.
Emperor of the Air is hosted by PKS Watersports. They have a great set up at their spot, a kitesurfing school, cafe, changing rooms and a team of passionate people that love the sport. It was great to spend the day with a wonderful community of both local and national kitesurfers, some I have never met and some I have not seen for some time.
To run an event in such strong conditions really takes good planning and hard work so thanks guys for that. Even the juniors got out safely which is a testament to the level that they are riding at already. There is a bright future for the next generation over here.
See you next year!