An Interview with Tom Court

An Interview with Tom Court

Tom Court Profile ShotHey Tom, are you back in the UK now?
Hey, yes i have just got back to the UK after doing some great trips to start off the year!

Who are your sponsors right now?
I am currently sponsored by, North Kites, Animal Clothing, ION, TryMax, GYBE and Wightlink

How did you get into kitesurfing?
I first started in about 2000 when I was about 11 or 12, so i have been doing it for a while. I guess it was probably by dad that got me into it as I windsurfed a little bit before i turned to kiting. I first saw the sport when I was in Maui, seeing Robby Naish and Lou Waiman throwing down at kite beach in the early days was enough to make anyone want to learn!

North are your main sponsor – what is your role within the North team? Do you get involved with R&D much?
Yea North are my main sponsor and I am on their Global team. I guess my role on the team is to push the more ‘core’ side of the sport, I only ride in boots now and do alot of events that involve wake style riding and hitting rails etc. Like the Triple-S or the WONW jam in the Philippines.

I have been involved with a bit of R&D in the past and I help to test the Vegas kites and also any equipment that that are targeting towards the more core market. However my real passion lies with making videos and filming wherever i go.

What kit are you riding at the moment?
I am currently riding the 2011 Vegas (7,10,12) and the 135 Team Series finless with Ronix One’s. Loving the setup.

Besides your kiting equipment, what other gadgets and cameras do you travel with?
Normally on most trips I travel with a Canon 7D, MacBook Pro, Tripod, Dolly, 5 lenses and a few other little bits and pieces. However it depends on the trip alot of the time. If i am going to a competition, i tent not to take too much otherwise i cant concentrate on the event :)

How do you feel about the KPWT and PKRA world tours? Are you still interested in competing?
I will be doing a few PKRA’s this year for sure, I like competing alot but I find other events alot more rewarding most of the time. The world tour is fun when you can just do a few of the stops. Competing in all eleven events is a big commitment.

Tom Court in AustraliaLike a few of the other UK riders such as Sam Light and James Boulding you have been riding in boots a lot and pushing that side of riding. Do you feel this is the way kiteboarding should move?
I dont think it is for everyone, but there is definitely a great aspect of kiteboarding that lies in boots and the more wakestyle side of riding. In every sport there is a place for people to be ‘core’ and progressive and I think that boots changes the way you think about throwing tricks on a kite. I dont ride anything else at the moment and im pretty sure that Sam and James are the same after just spending two months with them out in Oz this winter.

What is your opinion on other disciplines such as wave riding, course racing, speed racing and even old school?
I am a pretty old-school kiter myself, i have been doing it since the beginning and I have learned all sides of the sport. That is what I like so much about kiting is there is almost endless freedom to do what you feel like wether that is riding waves, jumping high or going fast, it is down to the riders enjoyment. I just get most of my enjoyment out of pushing myself to progress the tricks that I am doing at the time.

Which events do you look forward to every year?
It changes most years as some events dont happen and new ones start. However the last few years it has been events like the Triple-S, Core Jam (no longer happening), the BVI jam and some of the cooler PKRA stops like the DR and Fuerte.

Like many riders you have taken up the media side of things and started your own media company Ripslix. This kicked off with the very funny mockumentary “The Kite Launcher” for which you have recently released a sequel “The Kite Launcher 2: Relaunch”. Tell us more about that.
haha yes, I started a production//media and management company at the start of this year. The Kitelauncher was the first video idea I had really with one of my friends and Susi out in the DR, I wanted to make something funny out of a kiting video as most videos now are a bit serious. It was received pretty well by the kiting comunity and the second video was a big hit too, now I intend to take the ‘Kitelauncher’ idea further and progress it into something more in the future. Wait and see for the release of the Kitelauncher 3 in the summer, big things are coming!

You have spent the winter in Western Australia sharing a house with fellow UK kiters Sam Light and James Boulding. On top of riding loads and having lots of fun you also teamed up with James’ Steez Productions to create an action movie about the three of you. How was it filming and then editing with someone else?
Yea it was a great summer in Perth. Working and riding with those boys was definitely the highlight of my year so far. We are all pretty like minded guys, so sharing ideas and making things happen wasn’t a problem when it came to filming or something for our video or article.

It is the first video project that I have done with a collaboration with Steez Productions and cutting with James, but it definitely wont be the last either. It was a great way to learn for me, although i edited most of the video, james polished it off and fine tuned it. It helps alot to have a second opinion when doing a project like this! Check the video out!

Tom Court Professional KitesurferDo you see yourself moving more and more into the media production side of things?
I think that alot of riders underestimate that the ‘media side of things’ is actually and intrinsic part of being a ‘pro’ rider in amost any sport nowadays. Making these videos and producing media is all part and parcel of that, however i do feel like i want to edit more videos in the future and take that side of kiteboarding to the next level!

How many countries did you visit last year? Have you any plans for 2011?
I think i must have visited about twelve different countries last year and I have a full schedule again this year. After Oz i came back and went to Norway for the RedBull Ragnarok and then I hit Tarifa in Spain to test the 2012 Vegas. Later in May I will be going to france for a rail jam and then it is a big US tour that includes the Triple-S and the Rosham Trowdown in Hood River.

Thanks for your time Tom!

5 Top Tips to stay a motivated kitesurfer!

5 Top Tips to stay a motivated kitesurfer!

Keeping Kitesurfers MotivatedWhen I first learnt to kitesurf I had no problems in drumming up enthusiasm to get on the water. Always the first on the water, the fastest pumping up and the one taking the most poundings as I pushed myself to progress as fast as I could in this awesome new sport I had found. Four years on and I feel those excuses creeping in – its too cold, I’m too tired, I have too much work to do, my ankle hurts, blah blah blah. The truth of it is that I am having a lull in motivation and I just gotta kick it. So I thought I would share with you some of the tips I have learnt myself and from other kiters over the last few years about staying motivated in this sport. I am sure you love to kite as much as I do so don’t let poor motivation get the better of you. Read on, take heed and never avoid an awesome session again!

1. Set yourself goals
When you first learn a new sport you always have goals – to learn the basics – but as soon as you are comfortable in your little repertoire of tricks you risk getting stuck in a rut. Maybe add in a grab to an existing trick, try learning that trick switch (both ways), try making that trick more stylish (inverted, powered or sent), or discover new tricks right for your level to try. Don’t spend your sessions ‘mowing the lawn’, set yourself some goals however small and it will make your session much more satisfying.

2. Ride with other people
In a recent survey we ran, the most common reason for people getting into kiting is that a mate does it. Kiting is a social sport! But being social is not the only reason to ride with other people. Riding with people at a similar level can keep you motivated as it means you can share tips, give each other goals and watch (and celebrate) each others progression. I also find riding with people who are more advanced than you can help. They inspire me and make me feel like I am part of something great. Don’t be intimidated by pro riders – use them to help you progress!

Progression Beginner DVD cover3. Do your homework
In the same survey mentioned above we also asked people how they get inspired to learn new things and watching online videos & dvds came out top. There is so much lifestyle and action content online now you could watch a new video every single day of the year. But its not just about getting inspired. Watching instructional video can help psyche you up by giving you the knowledge, understanding and confidence to go out and try something new.

4. Mix it up a bit
One of the best things about Kitesurfing is that it’s a versatile sport and is becoming increasingly so as it matures. If you have been trying freestyle tricks for a while without any progression, grab a wave board and have a different kind of session. Also try to learn more than one thing. There is nothing worse than going out session after session and focusing on just one trick. Frustration will lead to apathy and those excuses will be rolling before you know it. Finally, try a new spot. We all get comfortable in our local spot but not only can it get boring, it also doesn’t give us the range of experience we need to become better kitesurfers. Even if its up the road – try mixing it up to find different conditions and different people! Mixing stuff up will naturally give you a break and some distance from any problems you may be having. Also, the different board/kite handling inherent in different styles or spots will help on technique across the board.

5. See yourself on camera
As Davey Blair says in his Progression interview, there is nothing more humbling than watching yourself on video! If you are struggling on a trick this will help you see where you’re going wrong, but also it will show you how stylish you are actually riding. Think you have that trick nailed? Watch yourself on video and you may decide you need more time to perfect your style!

We have some great interviews with other pros such as Tom Court, Sam Light and James Boulding, who impart their advice about staying motivated and learning new tricks. Motivation is something we stand for at Progression so keep watching to discover more interviews, top tips, instruction and inspiration guaranteed to keep you motivated throughout your kiting career!

Porgression logo textThis is a guest post from Fiona Claisse of Progression. Progression Progression produce a range of instructional kiteboarding DVDs and online video content. We will be reviewing these DVDs over the next weeks and giving them away to lucky subscribers!

An Interview with James Boulding

An Interview with James Boulding

James Boulding - professional kitesurferHey James – Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure, my names James Boulding and i’m a professional kitesurfer as well as running my own little video production company Steez Productions

How long have you been kiting and how did you get into it?
I’ve been riding for 8 years now and got into it after receiving a little land powerkite for my birthday off my parents. As soon as I started I wanted more and more power and wanted to jump bigger and bigger. As soon as I saw the guys on the water riding I was completely hooked and knew it was the sport I wanted to learn so got stuck into it.

You are in Western Australia right now – it seems more and more UK kiteboarders are going down under for winter as opposed to spending it in Cape Town, any idea why?
It’s all swings and roundabouts, 2 years ago I spent the winter in CT with what seemed like the whole UK kiting population, now all the same people are out here. It’s nice to vary things up and see different places, not get too hung up on the same. I loved CT and will probably head back next year as this is my 2nd winter down under. On another level I think Oz offers conditions that are a bit easier and better for honing new tricks. CT gets pretty wild and most days you’ll be holding onto a 7m, whereas out here it’s more like 10m weather most days and there’s 2 insane flat water locations that are close and easy to get too. I think it’s advantageous to do both, CT taught me a lot about dong tricks in hard conditions, I almost had to re-learn a lot of things so that I had them down on small kites in testing water conditions but when you have done that, come to a place like here and it’s a doddle. Take Aaron for instance, it’s where he learnt it all over the years, do it out there and the rest of the world is kids play.

James Boulding - Liquid Force Internation Team RiderWhat are your favourite spots in WA?
I live in Freemantle so I tend to ride Woodies most days as it’s easy to get to and you know what you’re going to get there. Safety Bay is a good spot and way better for shooting at but since a few years ago it’s got packed with riders so I tend to stay away now, I like my space! My favourite spot unquestionably is Augusta about 4 hours south of Perth. I’ve just arrived back from a trip there this weekend and when the conditions are right there’s no place more picturesque to kite.

When will you be heading back to Europe?
Still not sure of my plans, they’re a bit up in the air, but I should be back in March sometime, hopefully spring will be gripping the nation and the water warming a little!

Will you be focusing on competing or the media side of the business?
I’m hoping to do a few of the invitational events like I did last year, such as the Triple S and Wind or No Wind Jam with a few new ones thrown in but no PKRA/freestyle type events, I’m not really into that side of things, seems a bit pointless getting only 8 minutes to show a bunch of judges a handful of freestyle tricks knowing it could be your only riding of the competition. I’d rather put my energies into the media side of things and work hard on publishing content via videos and magazines etc…

James Boulding in AustraliaYou rose to fame very quickly over the last couple of years both as a talented kitesurfer – earning yourself a place on the Liquid Force International Team, but also as a film maker. Have you been editing much recently?
Yes, it seems at the moment i’m doing more and more editing. I’m pretty stoked people seem to like my videos and style of editing. It’s amazing get paid to shoot and is something I don’t take for granted so i’ve been working hard on that part of my game lately to keep ahead in my little niche.

What would you say has been your best video production so far?
It’s a tricky one, some vids I like the shots and others more the edits. Last year my Australia video Directions cruised past 20,000 hits so I was really happy with that, people always bring that one up when they talk stock with me. I’ve just shot some pretty cool stuff out here with the Naish International team which is going to be dropping this spring on Naish TV which for sure is my favourite so far. I shot it in 4 days at a variety of spots and used some pretty cool film techniques so I think it’s definately going to be one that stands out for people as a benchmark for videos to come. No crazy effects but just a crisp and clean edit using cranes, dollies, heli etc to film. I think that will be my strongest piece of filming and editing to date

Do you think being a great rider is enough nowadays or do the riders need to offer more – for example photo/video skills?
They definately need to offer something not just solely as a good rider, unless you’re going up against the top boys and beating them consistently. Producing decent content like videos and magazine articles makes you easier to sponsor and takes more pressure off the sponsor.

What is your favourite photo or photos you have taken?
Tricky one, I don’t really have a favourite photo, I tend to appreciate photos that tell more of a story than just what’s in front of the lens. For me top shots are a joint venture between rider and photographer. For example, surf photography. Some of the craziest barrel shots are produced whilst the photographer is putting his life at risk getting it, often going over the falls with a high probability of being cut to shreds on reef and drowning. Swimming out with camera setup and getting in tight to get a shot that’s both high risk for rider and photographer is something I admire greatly. Photos need to tell stories like videos do for me so anything with a bit more to it than the obvious ticks a few boxes for me.

Who are the people you look up to and admire?
Few guys I used to look up to in the sport when I began are now good mates so I don’t like blowing their trumpets, but they probably know who they are! Production wise I have many, and admire lots of professional videographers out there. I try and bring the things I like out there into shooting kitesurfing if at all possible. The guys at Poorboyz productions in the ski filming world are the guys I look up to in the sports filming world and I love it each November when their yearly DVD drops.

James Boulding riding a boxThere has been a massive move from top UK riders towards riding in boots and hitting features. Loads of slider based informal comps have started up too – how do you feel about this?
I’m 100% behind it. For me boots is just what i’m comfortable in, I love how you can ride juiced up and edge and land harder with less kite positioning. I’d be so paranoid of falling out of 1 of my straps and doing an ankle if I went back now. I also think everything looks way more stylish if done right in boots compared to straps. Plus I love not ever losing my board and having to bodydrag to it, looking back now I can’t believe I didn’t convert sooner! I’m riding lots of cable nowadays and hitting rails there, so it goes hand in hand and helps whilst hitting them on a kite. I love the challenge and often risk factor involved in hitting obstacles and the time it takes to be able to hit them well and with some style.

Are the British competitions still important to you?
I see them as a great social event and if i’m around in the UK I definately try and get to the events to judge and catch up with mates and other kitesurfers but riding wise I’m not that bothered. I don’t see the reward in it and it’s a huge undertaking to do the whole tour, missing one event puts you in a position that you can’t really win overall and now I’m travelling a lot more in the summer it doesn’t really work to do it. It definately helped me in joining LF’s international team when I placed 2nd overall in the Pro section 2 years ago so I’m very grateful of the opportunity and see it as a good way for new young riders to get their name out.

James Boulding riding in bootsWhat are your plans for 2011?
I’m looking forward to heading back home for some time back in the UK amidst some trips abroad for a few of the slider events. The schedule is already filling up with trips to Morocco, Fuerteventura, USA, Philippines so should be a busy year.

Thanks for your time – is there any shout outs or advice you would like to give to our readers?
My sponsors: Liquid Force, Sutsu, Silte, Bawbags for their help and support. Keep an eye out on for some forthcoming videos from my time in Oz, we’ve been filming pretty intensively and collecting some pretty amazing footage so when the vids drop they’re going to be pretty special.
Also keep an eye out on for news, videos and photos documenting what I’m up to at the moment.

2011 Triple S Invitational riders announced

2011 Triple S Invitational riders announced

The Triple S is the biggest and most prestigious event on the kiteboarding calendar. It is one of the few invitation only events and always has some of the world’s top riders. The main highlight for most of the riders is the Slider jam. The open jam format and rider judging is a welcome change to many riders who are forced to compete in heat based knockouts.

2011 Triple S invitational

Official press release:
Mark your calendars now with excellent spectating, event parties and award ceremonies open to the public, you cannot miss any of the Surf, Slicks and Sliders action. The 2011 Triple-S will be held in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on June 4th – 10th, 2011.

This years break down is as follows: 26 athletes have been invited to participate in the 2011 Triple-S. This year 3 spots will be allotted to wild card invitations, these will be given to the best 3 rider videos received by May 1st.



Athletes receiving invitations to compete in the Triple-S Invitational are chosen by an event management committee. RSVP is expected by May 1, 2011.


Triple-S Wildcard Video Deadline May 1st. Post your 3 minute video to YOUTUBE or VIMEO then email link to No late entries will be accepted.

The Triple-S management committee will make their selections taking into consideration submitted videos. Videos will be judged solely on the quality of riding. Editing and effects will not be taken into consideration.

Athlete lists are subject to change at any time. The final list of athletes will be announced May 2011.