The glitziest night in kiteboarding… honest!
PHOTOS / Dave White
The UK Kitesurfing Industry Awards took place at the BKSA end of year party at The Grand Hotel in Brighton on Saturday 22nd October.
A concerted effort across the industry saw the crème of the UK’s riding crop turn out alongside international stars like Sam Light and Tom Court, brands such as North, Ozone, RRD, Flysurfer, Axis and more, plus kitesurfers from across the UK, lured by the promise of a glitzy do, entertainment, three course dinner, music and dancing!
Driven by the BKSA to further unite and inspire kitesurfers across the UK after an excellent few years that have once again seen the UK domestic competition circuit become one of the most competitive in the world. Oli Lawrence from the BKSA welcomed everyone to dinner before Kiteworld editor Jim Gaunt and his collaborator in the British Kitesurfing Championships Rou Chater from IKSURF once again hosted the UK Kitesurfing Industry Awards.
Once the starter course had been devoured, Jim and Rou took to the stage first up to salute the efforts of the riders on this year’s BKC (British Kitesurfing Championships) tour, in which competitions were run over three stops at Clacton, Lancing and Hunstanton in Pro Men, Pro Women, Masters Men, Amateur Men, Amateur Women and Junior classes.
Riders who finished the overall championship on the podium were invited to come up to collect their awards. In attendance were: Sukie Roberton, Matt Bunn, Ollie Zabell, Nathan Cullingford, Rosanna Jury, Kevin Matthey, Sarah Barkway and Sarah Lawrence.
BKC Hunstanton Video highlights
The overall standings in the BKC for 2016 are:
1st George Dufty
2nd Shaun Murphy
3rd Ollie Zabell
1st Rosanna Jury
2nd Sukie Robertson
3rd Holly Kennedy
1st Matt Bunn
2nd Kevin Matthey
3rd Pete Jones
1st Nathan Cullingford
2nd Sam Conroy
3rd Andrew MacMillan
1st Cameron Auld
2nd Harry Way
3rd Tom Seager
Then diners were back to their food for the main course, and once that was done it was time to hear from three groups who have put the UK on the map in terms of international competition. First up we heard from Dan Charlish, the man behind the ever more popular Virgin Kitesurfing Armada. Lance Olner won the amateur division of the Edge Race Cup, a long standing race event run in Exmouth, Devon by Steph Bridge and her family that annually attracts performances by the likes of Florian Gruber and other elite level racers alongside Steph and her talented family of course. Finally we spoke to Ben Todd, the man who for several seasons ran the Rhosneigr Park Jam, the UK’s only hardcore rail and wakestyle feature event for kiteboarders and cable riders. After a few seasons off, this year he brought it back, bigger and better than ever, securing an agreement that the event would host the final round of the new Kite Park League world tour. Sam Light from Hayling Island won the event, as he has all the other tour events in the Philippines, at the Triple-S, at the Hood River Park Jam and the final round in Rhosneigr. We heard from him too. Legendary domination.
Then we were into the serious business of handing out the awards that were voted for by specialist members of the industry as well as the public.
First up it was the Best Club award, which was won for the second year on the trot by CBK Hayling Island.
The Best Event award is a highly regarded prize given the dramatic upgrade in events across the UK in the last two years. The team behind the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada walked away with the prize for the second year again.
The Best Shop award was won by King of Watersports.
Emma Beckinsale of North was highly deserving of the Best Rep award for her unwavering support of competitions and riders across the UK for at least the last few years.
Outstanding Contribution to UK Kitesurfing was sadly not won again by Jim and Rou, but instead went to Dan Charlish… okay, okay, he massively deserves it, we’ll admit! A fine chap.
A new award this year, Best Video by a UK Rider was a tightly drawn out contest between the likes of Tom Court for the Freeride Project 3, Sam Light, James Boulding and Aaron Hadlow, but in the end it was Mr Hadlow and director Laci Kobulsky for their efforts on Reflection that eventually earned the top prize. Aaron was unable to make it, but sent a video message thanking everyone.
And the final award of Overseas Ambassador for UK Kitesurfing went once again to Lewis Crathern. The UK legend was also away competing in Sardinia but he too sent a very stoked message back to the crowds.
From there it was all about giving away prizes donated by North, PIQ, RRD, Ozone and King of Watersports and a special ‘Raley or Handlepass’ game hosted by the Virgin Armada to win a special ‘Armada Edition’ Vanhunks Bucca twin-tip, some Snuggs headphones and Woo devices.
Phew! What a night. The band came on followed by Audiohoarder (AKA: our mate Ben the DJ) and the party went off into the night.
Great work everyone. There will be video footage coming soon!
Thanks to the BKSA for believing in the importance of continuing to unite kitesurfers across the UK. Long may it continue. People were already asking about booking tickets for next year! Plans are afoot!