Reclaiming the British Record

Reclaiming the British Record

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Last year in the UK I managed 19.8 meters but Patrick Thornycroft pushed me off the top with a 20 meter jump. With the good wind we just had I was able to smash my own personal record (21.4 in Cape Town) and take the British Record with a 21.7 meter jump in Worthing my home town. It didn't last long as a few days later I headed to Kent and recorded a 22.3 meter jump. I love strong 40mph+ conditions and really feel I can go higher if we receive the 50/60mph that dreams are made of!

Worthing High School Leavers Assembly

Worthing High School Leavers Assembly

In early November Worthing High School invited me to be Guest Speaker at their High School Leavers Presentation. It was a great occasion to celebrate the successes of the students as well as wish them well on their journeys. I tailored a talk touching on my movements since High School and the importance of staying passionate about something amongst other messages. For a change I started this talk with a slightly different approach - A question, "Why should you listen to me?" which got an interesting reaction. I followed up with, "Of course you don’t have to! Part of life's journey is about deciding the credibility of advice, but please bare in mind I also sat where you are now”.

Fontwell Business Networking Speaker

Fontwell Business Networking Speaker

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'Kitesurfing - It's the Business!' became the running title for my keynote speech at Fontwell Business Club's Network Meeting. I love these sorts of events and especially relished the oppertunity to explain how so many aspects of Kiteboarding relate to everyday business. Using the sport in general and my own career I talked about the importance of taking risks, challenging yourself, proper planning, staying focused and so on. I closed up with my biggest belief that 'Face to Face is still number 1'. In my opinion this is often overlooked in the world we live in with so many digital forms of communication available.

Whitstable Clinic

Whitstable Clinic

Coaching again! This time with the London Kitesurfers Group. In nearly sub zero temperatures we made it happen and had a great day of Kitesurfing in Whitstable/Kent. I find Coaching Clinics extremely enjoyable and love to challenge my participants to push themselves further. We must of spent well over 5 hours on the water in total and I'm glad everyone had a great time. Thanks also to Board-Worx for having us over, see you all again soon.

2016 IKA Big Air Vice World Champion

2016 IKA Big Air Vice World Champion

Sometimes you don't get get the things you want in life. I was leading overall going into the IKA World Tour final stop in Italy and a good result would of helped me gain the title. I wanted it so bad but it wasn't meant to be. I had a great year on tour winning every heat possible but came short in the last one....the Final in Italy. You get a feeling as an athlete, of how it's gone, and I left the water confident it was 1st or worst case 2nd. Being awarded 3rd was not what I expected and I think my face says it all at the final overall prize giving. Devastated! With Posito Martínez winning the event it meant there was a tie between us in points.

Being a sportsman all my life I know how it feels to lose by 1 point. Nothing however, can prepare you for losing on the same points. The last rule in a tie breaker states if nothing else can split it, the rider that performed best at that last event takes the title. Therefor Posito won the title and I congratulate him. It could not of gone to a nicer guy.

And that was that! As I'm told its a good achievement after what happened at the start of the year but from my perspective was a hard pill to swallow (I am digesting it now). I'll soon have another chance to go for it again and next time will feel so much better!

2016 IKA Kiteboarding World Championships Final Results:

Big Air Men:

1st Posito Martinez (DOM / Da Silva) - 1855 pts

2nd Lewis Crathern (GBR / North) - 1855 pts

3rd Marius Hoppe (GER) - 1830 pts

GoPro 5 - 10 Reasons To Upgrade...

GoPro 5 - 10 Reasons To Upgrade...

I have no affiliation with GoPro, so with that out the way I can start with this small review of the GoPro 5 which is aimed at Extreme Sports users, most typically Kiteboarders. As you might guess from the title, I think it's an essential upgrade. I've owned pretty much all the GoPro's so feel qualified to explain to you why I think this one is really worth it, especially if you have the GoPro4 and wondering "should i upgrade?".

If you're looking for a proper tech review I recommend visiting another site which will have all the examples of resolutions, fields of view, video quality etc etc!! I'm doing this In order of what I think is the most important changes that have been implemented.

 

1) PROTECTIVE LENS REPLACEMENT £19.99

What a relief. £19.99 and your GoPro is brand new again. Now that there is no 'waterproof case' for your GoPro (the device itself is now watertight) you can't expose the fragile lens. Before it was so easy to scratch and bugger the camera for life. You might ask 'why was it out the case anyway' of which I reply - Audio was better (obviously not on the water) and was easier to balance on things taking photos. FutureProof at last!

 

2) No FOGGING

Remember these things? The annoying fog things that go in your housing, never do anything and end up being lost all the time. Now that the GoPro 5 is fully waterproof itself, it seems to be fog resistant. All that air inside the old case is a thing of the past. I left the GoPro 5 in the sun for 20 minutes yesterday then took it in the sea (cold water). No sign of fog. A real joy! This could easily of been up there as number 1 in this review, however fog has always been temporary hence it's position here in 2nd place.

 

3) TOUCH SCREEN ON THE BACK

Yes I know that there was a screen on the GoPro4 Silver but if you care about top quality like myself then most likely you had the 4Black that had no screen. The addition of a screen on this top of the range model is just great. The Touch Screen works really well and is a welcome change from the tiny display you are used to from before. Finally I can compose my shots without going through the GoPro app on ipad etc. Very useful for Time Lapse and also checking your angle on the Kite Mount.

 

4) IMPROVED BATTERY LIFE

It goes without Saying the battery life has never been great but GoPro reckon it's better now. I reckon its better too, I had it going for over 2 hours yesterday, ok it was only on TimeLapse but this was never possible in the past. At 1080p / 30fps GoPro state it will do 2 hours. An extra battery is £20 (genuine) so 2 batteries should cover the day out easy.

 

5) VOICE RECOGNITION

I don't get much of a reaction from my old Nokia phone when I talk to it so I've really been enjoying this new feature with GoPro5. It's very accurate and quite useful as well. Don't expect to tell your GoPro 5 to wake you up in the morning as the commands are pretty basic but they are simple enough to remember. I enjoyed walking past my lines/kite when I finished my session and just saying "GoPro Stop Recording" or "GoPro Off". Even in a windy environment (remember to speak upwind) it will read your voice well. I'm a real fan of anything that reduces physical time with a device once you are in your element. Nice video explaining Voice Rec feature more here.

 

6) OLD MOUNTS WORK FINE

I suppose you could argue this isn't a reason to 'upgrade', but it is handy to know that all your existing mounts will still work. This is due to the 'GoPro Frame' that the camera slots into. Just as you can see on the front, the back looks the same so you can still access the touch screen. The clever amongst you will ask "Where does my floaty go now?". Great question and GoPro solve this by offering the floaty which comes with a solid back door for GoPro 5. Slightly annoying here is that your old GoPro4/3 backdoors that have a floaty already stuck to it will not fit this Frame. Also the solid back door is not shipped with the GoPro so you can't just stick a floaty on it. For reference I am using the Camrig Kite & Strut Mounts.

 

7) IMAGE STABLISATION

A Pneumatic drill is something that causes a lot of vibration. Could the new Image stabilisation make a smooth clip if it was filming next to it on the ground? I'm not sure but all the video I have seen so far suggests this new feature improves video tenfold. Take a look at this clip here where GoPro talk about this and show you an example themselves. I can see this really helping in Kiting with things like the shaking of a kite line or if your brand of Kite tends to flutter a lot in all/gusty conditions.

 

8) REMOTE CONTROL OPTIONS

First off the Smart Remote that you may already have IS compatible with the GoPro5. Great news if you dislike going through hours of footage or 1000's of photos. If like me you have had any issues with it (Battery always fails I'm on my 3rd one) you might be tempted to try out the new 'REMO Voice Activated Remote'. Unfortunately you will not be able to control the GoPro5 from the Kite as it has a 10meter range, however this could be a very appealing option to those that use the Line Mount. How effective it will be in windy conditions I'm not sure but GoPro states - 'Remo enhances the voice control of your HERO5 camera in windy and noisy environments' so I'm going to give it a go for sure.

 

9) LINEAR VIEW

Linear view offers a nice new angle rather then the typical 'classic' fish eye view. This classic view could become somewhat boring especially watching a whole 5 minute video shot on GoPro. It's available in both Photo and Video mode. Most likely it was added to give the Drone a clean wide angle but it produces some great results in a lot of situations. Take a look at the picture of a room to the right. In Linear mode (top image) you can see the straight lines where the ceilings and walls connect, whilst the typical curves are visible in 'wide' mode (at the bottom). Linear mode will slightly crop your image but it still provides a really decent flat wide shot of your surroundings. I'm looking forwards to using this new angle, especially with the kite & line mount. It could be a great way to 'zoom' in slightly if your using a bar (like the trust bar) where the center line split is quite far up.

 

10) Option of the drone

Even though I have not tested this out with my GoPro5, I feel it would be wrong of me not to mention the drone at all. I should add that the drone is compatible with the GoPro4 and session cameras but for best results it should be used in conjunction with the GoPro5. I have never owned a drone. I'm one of those that likes the idea of getting a mate that has one to get the shot I need and therefor risk his own gear but now that The Karma is out and and knowing my GoPro 5 is the right camera for it, I'm at least thinking about it. That's a good effort on their part.

New Sponsor - Bb Talkin

I have teamed up with Bb Talkin in an official partnership. The action sports intercom device allows me to 'get into your head' and coach you an incredible way. I was amazed when I saw it back in 2014 and since then I have used it frequently during my coaching sessions. I can provide a really personal and interactive experience whilst adding an invaluable level of safety. Just imagine being able to communicate clearly to each other whilst you’re up in the air for the first time! The Bb Talkin device works from up to a mile away and for those that need to, you can even hook it up to your phone for calls and music. One of the most exciting things to me is the potential the device has of evolving kiteboarding event commentary - Watch this space!!"

1st China Big Air World Tour

1st Place at the IKA World Tour in China! Pingtan is well known for it's strong wind but this time it was merely 20knots in most heats. In the past lighter wind has always been my weakness but I've found a new strategy with my equipment and it seems to be really working. I like the format which focuses on Risk & Height and also gives us a platform to potentially think about new moves that we can bring into the events. It's always great to be on the podium but being in 1st is what it's about and it really felt good to get back to winning ways.

The last event takes place in October and hopefuly I can carry on riding well and finish the year on a 'high'. I will head out to Porto Pollo / Italy in good time to get a feel for the place and see how the conditions are working. See below, the high handlepass which really helped me through my heats. Also a nice shot at the opening registration. I was really looking forwards to this event and it shows in the picture where we all have a profile shot taken before the event.

Kite Clash Canadian Champions 2016

Kite Clash Canadian Champions 2016

I love this place! Just north of Vancouver lies Squamish. A really nice little town where everyone seems active. After I visited last year I was ready to come straight back for the 2016 Kite Clash Canadian Championships. I spent the week prior to the event getting used to the conditions again and figuring out my best set up. The wind ended up absolutely perfect and at some points was hitting 30 knots. I took the 11m North Rebel on the water and was boosting huge! 

In the end I had to settle for 3rd place but I was told it was close. I'm always happy to be on the podium and when I think about all thats happened in the space of a year it's a good result. The team behind the event promoted the event really well and I picked up some great coverage. Radio interviews with Mountain FM, interviews with CBC Vancouver and a front cover and article in the Squamish Chief

King Of Kite - Cyprus

King Of Kite - Cyprus

The Cyprian Championships known as 'The King of Kite' took place just up the road from Larnaca. Kahuna SurfHouse had been in touch with me about commentating and judging the event and as I had never visited Cyprus I jumped at the chance to get involved. I was so impressed by the set up at the spot which completely welcomed all levels of kiteboarders and the general public. This balance is so important to bring new people into the sport as well as create a platform for the top guys as well. Thanks for having me! (Elias, Angie and Liam who are behind Kahuna SurfHouse pictured with me below)

If your thinking of heading somewhere warm, friendly, consistently windy and extremely quick to get to from Europe. I couldn't recommend this place more.

Check out the video here