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.
Like 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 â€œThe Kite Launcherâ€ for which you have recently released a sequel â€œThe Kite Launcher 2: Relaunchâ€. 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!
Do 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!