The excitement of winter storm chasing

The excitement of winter storm chasing

The mainstream media has been banging on about storms for what seems like forever. We have been hit by storm after storm and it has been reshaping our coast lines causing all kinds of damage. For us windsports enthusiasts there has been plenty to get excited about. In the old days it was all about storm kites in winter and the harsh conditions and going big – however it hasnt materialised for most of us until this winter.

The kite media has been all over it too – the Red Bull King of the Air in South Africa got plenty of people excited seeing all the big names going huge. The UK was well represented in that event with Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light and Lewis Crathern all competing – Sam even got a podium spot last year. This year however it was an all dutch podium. Check out the highlights:

The latest episode of the Kite Show has shown the storm chaser himself Ruben Lenten going crazy in the Netherlands – they have been getting the same storms we have. So much for chasing when they just come to your door step. Irish Ozone wave rider Ryan Coote has released a few videos of himself riding enormous waves in Ireland and Portugal.

Earlier this month the Red Bull Storm Chasers series came to Cornwall. This is windsurfing which is not really our thing, but seeing anyone go out in seas so wild they look like they are boiling is awe inspiring.

It has got me all excited too! I have been out every weekend rarely riding anything bigger than a 6m (a short session on a 9m before being blown out of the water) and a surfboard. The excitement of riding in a storm takes the edge of the rest of the week, when the weather is nothing but a hindrance.

An interview with Ryan Coote

An interview with Ryan Coote

KSP MAUI WATERHey Ryan – would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
I live in Kerry on the west coast of ireland. My interests are in Surfing diving and of course kitesurfing.

You have been a part of the Ozone international team for some time – tell us how that came about.
Not that exciting really. They were looking for people pushing it in the waves and pop an email arrived into my mail boxes. I start talking to Iain and really connected and decided I wanted to be part of the team. I am super stoked how the development has gone with their Reo wave kite. I was mainly wave riding with C kites but we were not really getting it but the new wave kites have changed everything.

You recently took a trip to Portugal with some Spanish Ozone team riders and put out a great video. Tell us about that trip and the new REO.
Portugal was just peachy. I really didn’t know what to expect when i arrived. Not having meet a lot of guys before it was a unknown. I love surfing in Portugal so i was excited to get a chance to kite it.

Waveriding is your thing and in most of your videos you seem to go out in really big waves. Do you love massive waves or do they just make the best videos?
Well its seems that a lot of people like seeing the big stuff alright. I ride in a lot of different conditions here in Brandon Bay where I live my bread and butter conditions are more like head high to just over head. Anything bigger it will max out and just closes out. I do travel up and down the west coast to other spots where the reefs can handle the bigger swell. We are so spoilt with the amount of locations here to ride in no matter what the size of the swell is and the wind direction.

What are your ideal conditions?
16 to 20 knots on my 9m Reo and 25 / 30 degrees off shore winds. As big as the location can handle.

Do you have any tips for riders looking to get out in bigger waves and take their waveriding to the next level?
You really need to be comfortable with your gear and know it inside out. It is down to the conditions that you get to ride in regularly. I try and surf waves before I kitesurf them as well, because its all about dealing with the wipe out. Some big wave spots need a lot of preparation. You need to be in the right head space and have the right gear. But it also takes a lot of luck to get everything to come together on the day.

I do a lot of mental preparation for riding big waves. I also train hard with kettle bells, yoga etc. I tend to just take any situation just step by step and when everything comes together and i find myself in the right head space on the right wave building underneath me then i just let go and flow and deal with what ever comes my way.

Ireland has a reputation as a big wave spot, with surfers from around the world traveling to ride there. How do you get received by these surfers and what is their reaction to you being a kitesurfer?
Most really really well. Its all about respecting one another. I am also a surfer and will surf when the conditions suit surfing so i am out in the line up with most of the big wave heads any way. If i am kitesurfing around surfers I will stop and sit on my board with them in the line up and chat and joke with them. Mostly i think that a lot of surfers would love to try kitesurfing but they are put off by the gear and starting for the beginning again.

Who inspires you and your riding and keeps you motivated?
Its really hard because I only have a few guys here in Ireland that are interested in hunting down heavier bigger waves. Manly its surfers who inspire me. Fergal Smith and Tom Doidge-Harrison are really good guys and so positive to be around they know heavy waves very well and I always enjoy being around them when its heavy. Between both of them they the best knowledge about waves in ireland.

As far as kitesurfing i really enjoy watching Keahi de aboitiz he is so relaxed in heavy waves and his barrel riding skills are insane. But there are not that many people pushing Kitesurfing into the unknown areas where I am going so its kind of trial and error for me. A lot of places I kitesurf here in Ireland are firsts.

What do you do when you are not riding?
I have a 2 year old kid Enough said.!!! But i surf a lot and free dive and do a lot of gardening. I run a kitesurfing school in Ireland during the summer and do kitesurfing tours.

You competed on the KSP tour – tell us about the experience of competing with the world’s best wave-riders and your feelings on the tour?
I was very excited about doing the KSP but when it actually happened it was really a bit of a let down. Its so hard to run a comp and keep everyone happy. The first event was here in ireland in Oct and we had a 10 day holding period and we only managed to get two OK days of riding which is really harsh because in Ireland in Oct its normally pumping.

The Maui Event was just as hard the conditions just didn’t play ball.The guys on tour are mostly nice guys, some are a bit too full of themselves and their attitude stunk. Kitesurfing is such a young sport still and we are still trying to work out what works. I dont think the heat format doesn’t work for wave riding.

Do you enjoy competition?
No not really. I much prefer competing with myself.

Do you have any big plans for 2014?
Yeah more big waves. Also i really want to try to kitesurf around coast Ireland.

Who are your sponsors?
Ozone Kites, Oneill, Aor Surfbaords, Jay Harness, Surf plugs, Manna Organic Store.