Montenegro with Flysurfer Kiteboarding

Montenegro with Flysurfer Kiteboarding

We recently headed out to sunny Montenegro to meet up with the team from Flysurfer to check out some new, and some existing gear they have on offer. It is always great to hook up with such a passionate group of individuals who all want to actively push and innovate within the kite boarding scene. Sharing a beer, or two and our kite boarding tales with around 40 schools, shops and importers from across the globe made for a great few days.

We flew into Podgorica airport from Stansted with Ryanair and the flight took around 2 and a half hours. On arrival we loaded up a Ford Focus (including strapping some board bags to the roof) and headed south towards the town of Ulcinj. It took around 1 and a half hours to get from the Airport to the to Hotel Laguna which is where we were staying. On the drive down we passed some great photo opportunities which gave us a welcome rest from ‘interesting’ driving style on the roads.

Driving through Montenegro there seemed to be quite a contrast in the wealth of people living, and holidaying there. Some areas were obviously very poor with the average salary being as low as 479 Euros per month. It felt like every 50m there was a small market or fruit stand on the side of the road including some creative water fountains keeping the melons from drying out. There was also a lot of half finished/half started construction between the towns and villages.

Whilst staying we visited a handful of local kitespots, 1 land based spot and a couple for kitesurfing. Our main beach (Safari beach) was based a few minutes from the hotel and consisted of a long sandy stretch and warm waters. The second spot (and more favorable) was around 20 minutes drive east at Ada Bojana. This second spot had a mix of open sea, a river mouth and a small lagoon which was great for capturing some photos and video. The local guys from Dragon Project kite school were very accommodating and even took us out on the boat for a session. Aside from the excellent kiting opportunities the sunsets each night were quite spectacular and not to be missed.

Most of our mornings were relatively lazy whilst we waited for the mistral winds to build. Normally we could get out on the water from 1pm on the larger Flysurfer Speed and Sonic kites and stepped down in size as the day went on. The earlier light winds and calm waters made the Safari beach location very popular with foil boarding and swimming whilst waiting for the rescue boat. With the 2 windless days (out of 7) we spent time exploring the local area. On one day myself and Tom grabbed a couple of SUP boards and paddled up river starting from Bojana Island. The second day we were driven to Stari Bar (Old Bar) by a local and taken up into the mountains. We navigated a maze of rocks and streams to find some really scenic spots and natural pools for cooling off in.

After some mixed first impressions I would happily spend some more time in Montenegro. The mix locations available for hiking, kiting, biking and other water based activities should mean your not sitting around twiddling your thumbs in any weather. If it is raining you can always hit up one of the amazing pizzerias serving traditional stone baked recipes for only 5 euros. For the mornings and low wind days I would love to have my wakeboard on hand for some sessions on the glassy flat rivers.

Photos: Marcus Woodbridge, Lewis Wilby and LoLo BSD

5 Ways to spice up your kite life!

5 Ways to spice up your kite life!

After a while anything will lose its novelty value and our enthusiasm will start to wane. After kitesurfing for ten years though I am more in love with it than ever! Sure there have been periods in the last ten years where I have been more or less into it, and my sessions have dropped a bit more than I like, but all in all I have been pretty consistent. I sat down for a while thinking about this and trying to put my finger on the key factors which keep things interesting for me.

1 – Time off is not a bad thing

Over winter it gets pretty cold in the UK and a little time off never hurt anyone – kiteboarding should not be a chore. The key here is to make sure the gap doesn’t get too long. A month max! I personally like to dedicate as much time in winter to snowboarding as possible, so I am still active and riding. I also go snowkiting which gives me my kiting fix.

2 – Consistency is key

The longer you go between sessions, the more out of practice you will become and the less you will progress when you do get back to riding. Whilst it can be fun to relearn some tricks you used to be able to do, if you never make progress it is frustrating. Your kite fitness will go down too – meaning you get tired quickly and do not have the energy to make the most of your sessions.

3 – Swap board

Try riding strapless
Going back and forth on a twintip failing to learn any new tricks can certainly make morale drop. After a while the thrill of riding back and forth across the ocean can feel a bit like mowing the lawn. Switch your board though – try an inexpensive skimboard, a surfboard, a race board or even a foilboard. Riding a directional board is a totally new challenge. New challenges mean the rate at which you progress skyrockets! Nothing is going to make you feel the sheer joy you used to feel when you started kitesurfing like the rapid progression of learning to ride a new board like that. Foilboards require very little wind making those light days really fun! Surfboards are best when it is windy and you can use small kites.

4 – Go somewhere different

Ride somewhere different
It is so easy to get into a routine of always kiting at the same spot. This can limit your progression though and make every session feel the same. Going to a flat water spot one week then a wave spot the next keeps things fresh. Travel is one of the most fun elements of kitesurfing – so load up the car/van and hit the road. A change of scenery will do wonders and there are a lot of great beaches all around the UK and France is not hard to get to either!

5 – Find some new riding mates

Riding with friends
If you are stuck in a rut find some other local kitesurfers to ride with. You will feed off their enthusiasm and encourage each other to ride more. Head to a new beach and meet the locals, or offer to lift share to save money and get to spend time talking kites with someone like minded. Most spots have a strong core group of keen kiters who are always up for a session!

Another look at Kiteboards vs Wakeboards

Another look at Kiteboards vs Wakeboards

Wakeboarding keeps getting more and more popular in Europe – especially cable parks. The lack of suitable places to own a boat and high cost of ownership and the lack of an all round season make that less popular. Cable parks have the advantage of having permanent park set ups however and can invest in great features.

Jake Kelsick riding bootsIn kiteboarding the wakestyle movement has continued to gain momentum with riding in boots now at an all time high. People are riding larger boards too which is directly linked to this trend. The pro rider videos regularly show them riding kickers and rails. In the UK in particular – we are lucky to have some of the biggest names globally pushing this style of riding hard. Think Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light, Tom Court and James Boulding.

So where does this leave the quest for a board which does both well? A few years ago now we looked at kiteboards vs wakeboards – things have gotten a lot better. More and more brands have jumped on the bang wagon and have kiteboards in larger sizes, with more rocker and durable slide bases using the same materials as wakeboards. The compromise is a lot better than it used to be.

The truth is that these things are still a compromise – and not one we personally are willing to make. The boards are great for hitting features whilst using the power of the kite. They are better than ever at this element. The increased rocker however makes them a little sluggish for day to day riding. The slide base also makes them a little heavy.

At the cable park – they still lack the level of rocker seen on a wakeboard, so feel skatey and fast. The bases dont take the same level of abuse as wakeboards. They are often more expensive than wakeboards too. All in all – we will continue to buy dedicated boards. That said – if you are into this style of riding and traveling – carrying extra boards is a hassle so it could work.

If you are looking for one of these hybrid boards – check out the AXIS Bootleg, Billy and Tranq. If you are looking for a kite too we suggest the Ozone C4.

AXIS Billy 2015

BKSA Round 1 Essex 2013

BKSA Round 1 Essex 2013

Another year has past and a new BKSA event season has started. We travelled down to Essex for the BKSA round 1 land event. The event went down really well with wind on both days. All of the competition riding was held on the Saturday and Sunday was for relaxing and freeriding. We also managed to get a couple of kitesurfing sessions in at Southend on Sea with the new 2013 Ozone C4, Catalyst and Zephyr.

KLB Freestyle Pro Essex Round 1 results:

1st Emmanuel (Flysurfer)
2nd Ash (Ozone)
3rd lolo BSD (Flysurfer)

Congratulations goes out to all of the riders who travelled from across Europe to compete at this event. See you at Round 2.

Check out the event page on Facebook for more images!

Another one bites the dust – PowerKite Mag

Another one bites the dust – PowerKite Mag

PowerKite MagazineIt saddens me to say that after 49 issues PowerKite Mag is no more. It was for many years a successful magazine, bringing together interesting content and plenty of advertisers. Sadly as the industry has consolidated itself, the global economic slowdown has lingered and the web has boomed, the magazine has not managed to keep up with the times. It is a shame – I remember when I first got into the sport years ago and used to regularly buy the mag or at least read most of it in Smiths in my lunch break. It was full of exciting names and stories. Riders, events, gear, spots. I wanted to know more about all of it.

As time progressed and I got more into the sport I then started contributing to the magazine. It was fun to do – the first time you see your work in print it feels amazing. It was a great way to get involved in the industry, make connections with brands and it lead to some great opportunities.

I always felt PowerKite Mag failed to move with the times. It neglected the online World with only a terrible basic website and only relatively recently a facebook page. It didnt really stand a chance without leveraging the web. It is not worth dwelling on though.

I would like to extend the opportunity to anyone who wishes to write kitelandboarding based articles to get in contact – I feel like we should do what we can for a sport we love and give that content a new home here on Board Mag. We have covered some landboard action in the past – but more would be great!

HQ Matrixx Kite Landboarding Photos

HQ Matrixx Kite Landboarding Photos

We took the chance to grab a go on the latest closed cell offering from HQ Powerkites, The Matrixx at Wallop Reloaded power kite festival. We hope to join the group behind the brand in Fanoe, Denmark in the next few weeks to give the entire range a run for its money and report back with some real week long test reports and reviews!

Post your questions below!

Photos: Tom Routh

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!

The Ultimate Summer Alternative to Snowboarding

The Ultimate Summer Alternative to Snowboarding

As the winter season draws to a close many snowboarders are wondering what they can do to keep the stoke alive. Nowadays you can really keep snowboarding year round – though it will take some financing. The glacier resorts are open for a summer season which can be odd as it is normally very sunny and warm, yet still cold enough for the snow base to remain. Unless your into park riding however – this is limited. There are minimal amounts of piste open and powder just isnt going to happen. The best option would obviously be a southern hemisphere season but again – most of us have jobs which do not allow for this.

Closer to home we have the indoor fridges and dare I say it – dry slopes. Personally I am not into the dry slopes at all. The fridges are good in small doses, and for rail monkeys. The freeriders and cruisers will not get much out of the experience. Rail monkeys will have a wild time – the UK has a vibrant park scene lead by the domes and guys like Mikee from For Boarders by Boarders ( Unfortunately due to some level of incompetence at some point in the design process, only the Hemel Snow Centre is allowed to have kickers.

Due to the cost and the likely amount of travel involved – it is safe to say you wont be getting too much of a kick out of just snowboarding. It is worth checking out some alternatives.

Surfing is popular, but unless you are near good conditions – it is tough.

Kite surfing is a great sport to get into but there are barriers to entry. Learning takes time and gear is expensive.

For the more adventurous we recommend mountainboarding. There are centres all over the UK which have beginner slopes, boardercross tracks and freestyle set ups including kickers, rails and even big table tops. There is a popular misconception that it hurts when you fall off however that is not true as you tend to wear pads.

Mountainboarding - a great alternative to snowboarding

Skating is a great option. Trick skateboarding is very hard and takes a lot of energy and enthusiasm – it is not for everyone. Longboarding is something everyone should do. You are never too old to cruise around on a longboard. I cant understand why any board sport enthusiast would not have a longboard in the car at all times. It is fun even on flat land. A mellow slope makes for an amazing time. Within a few sessions you will pick up huge amounts of confidence and begin to enjoy it more and more. There is pretty much no other board sport that is so accessible and that you can practice every single day.

On that note – I suggest you dig out your old longboard from the garage, or start looking online for one because it is a must have!

10 reasons why 2011 will be a good year for board sports

10 reasons why 2011 will be a good year for board sports

triple cork guy10 – Triple corks/flips on snowboards
Does anyone remember when a backside 180 would win youan international snowboard comp? I do, but it seems like you have to do a few more spins to walk away with the trillion dollar prize cheque. That is if this years X Games Big Air is anything to go by.

Walking away with gold, Torstein Horgmo’s trip flip surely signals a new era of progression. Riders are once again going to be upping the ante and progression is clearly on the cards. Perhaps we’re going to see quads by the end of the year? Lets just hope that all this focus on technicality doesn’t bring about the untimely death of style…

9 – Kitesurfers get mainstream media coverage
As if jumping other some ‘little’ pier in some little seaside resort wasn’t cool enough, Lewis Crathern only went and jumped over Brighton pier and ended up all over the telly, internet and newspapers. Ok, ok, it happened in 2010 but with this much coverage, kitesurfing finds itself better known, respected and appreciated by the wider public in 2011.

Hopefully as the season starts this summer there’ll be more groms picking up boards and flying kites. Oh, and hopefully there’ll be more babes in bikinis getting involved and digging the kitesurf vibe.

8 – Mountainboarders get rad
2010 saw Tom Kirkman get a well overdue pro model on MBS mountainboards. As the lightest, bestest, sexiest, funnest mounatinboard ever, riders have been finding it easier to push the limits. My guess is that 2011 will see 900’s becoming a relatively common occurrence and I’d guess the elusive double backie will get stomped. Whatever happens, its pretty clear that the standard of riding is on the up and 2011 is going to be a good year for mountainboarding.

7 – Lots of sweeeet, sweeet technology
Once upon a time snowboards were simple planks of wood with a bit of rope at the front. Fast forward a few decades and now not only can you get a board with triple-rocker-cucumber-invert-space-gnar-camber but you can also rock out with some triple-camber -cucumber-invert-space-gnar-rocker! The hardest part is picking which one!

Despite lots of marketing jargon, new technologies are making gear even better and giving us lovely consumers loads of choice, which is surely a good thing. Companies are also getting greener and trying to look after the environment, again a good thing. Don’t fret though, cos even when the snow does all melt, all this snowboard technology progress will culminate in the invention of the triple-rocker-cucumber-invert-space-gnar-camber hoverboard.

6 – Full length videos for free
Brilliant! No longer do you have to pay an arm and a leg for some boring, standard format shred flick. The internet, coupled with relatively cheap pro filming gear (ala gopro and canon cameras) have ensured that original, free films rule the shredflick roost!

Not only does it mean you can watch loads of skate and snow porn but it also makes it easier to check out what’s going down in some newer board sports such as mountainboarding, without ever having to leave your front room.

5 – Kickflips get easier
Only joking, kickflips are still the hardest thing EVER. Or maybe I just suck at skateboarding? Who knows, but with summer on its way and with plans in the UK to cut public transport, it looks like I’ll be skateboarding loads more. It’ll be cheaper and quicker than the bus anyway.

4 – No one cares what you wear when you go snowboarding
After years and years of having to keep up with the fickle trends of snowboarding, Shaun White’s recent performance at the X-Games signals a new era where you can literally where whatever the hell you want!

In 2011 no one will have to fork out £500 for a super tall, mega tech tall jacket, all you have to do is pop down to Ann Summers, buy the tightest pair of PVC pants you can find, grab a leather jacket from the local charity shop and hey presto, you’re ready to hit the hill.

3 – Surfing beaches get cleaner
The awesome people at Surfers Against Sewerage are on a mission to tidy up the UK’s beaches and the best part is you can get involved and help out! No one likes surfing in polluted water, and hopefully 2011 will see more beaches becoming pollution free.

Cleaner beaches = better surfing. Simples!

2 – Skateboarding saves the world
With a long history of conflict and violence, Afghanistan is hardly the kind of place you’d expect to find a thriving skateboard community. Turns out that a small NGO set up by three friends to teach the kids of Kabul how to skate has been going from strength to strength and now the Kabul skate scene is rad!

Started in 2003, skateistan now consists of an indoor skatepark, climbing wall and education centre, an outdoor, concrete skatepark is set for completion in 2011. All of this in one of the most fragile, war-torn places on earth. The work of skateistan is amazing and shows just how board sports can bring people together. Fingers crossed 2011 will see the rest of the world will put down their guns, pick up a skateboard and go for a shred.

Really inspiring stuff – Bilal’s Message for Other Disabled Youth

1 – Board sports are as fun as ever
From the streets of Kabul to the suburbs of London via the beaches, mountains and streets of the world, board sports are still the funnest things to do ever. They provide some well needed escapism, bring you some awesome friends and provide you with a lot of good memories. No matter what happens in 2011, me, myself and I are going to be having way too much fun riding boards. I suggest you do the same.

Now, who fancies coming for a breakboard?… Anyone?

Content by Rhys Crilley