Ali Barrett: always look at the photo lens

The BKSA came back to Barrow for the 4th year in the row. The week leading up to the event was pretty windy and the forecast was not fantastic – however Walney for some reason always delivers!

Friday dawned with a strong cross off South Easterly with a lovely drizzle. The pros got on the water at 12pm with 9 meter kites, there were small kickers and some big moves going down with some spectacular wipe-outs.

The rain slowly cleared however the wind then veered and dropped somewhat to a South Westerly direction – making the riding almost bang onshore. Riders were having to use larger kites most on 12 and 14 m – the most experienced riders showing there skills in the lighter winds.

It was a battle in the men’s with Ned Taylor crashing out to a more consistent North West local Luke Whiteside while Ali Barrett showed everyone the skill he has with an amazing execution of landed tricks to take a well deserved 1st place.

Friday night and Gary from North West Kitesurfing did a fantastic BBQ for 150 people.

Saturday and all other classes registered with most getting to compete by 11am for the racing 12pm for the freestyle and 12.30pm for the Landsports.

Saturday afternoon saw kites of every colour pop up against the Lake District background in the steady increasing winds of up to 25 knots – what a sight.

The racers on the water saw 21 riders compete head to head completing two laps over 8 races in one day – most riders could hardly walk at the end – it equates to almost 3 and half hours racing!! North Rep Callum Edge came out on top ahead of the Cornish duo of Denzil Williams and Lee Harvey.

The Land comp was a great site and drew a large crowd to watch at riders spun and looped there way over the hard pack sands of Earnse Bay.

The ladies showed great skills and bravery in the increasing winds – Karen Cartlidge took the win in the Buggy section while Pro Kitesurfer lady Sukie Robertson took the honours in the Landboarding.

The Men’s buggy saw some huge moves go down and it was an all Flexifoil sponsored riders in the final. Craig Sparkes took the win ahead of Dave Roberts and last years champ Will Mckean in 3rd.

The Men’s landboard saw some great kiteloops and board-offs. Ash Garwood was pulling all the stops out with some smooth stylish riding and so he look the win Steve Smith was going huge to take 2nd while Daniel Smith was managing to 1080 spins!

The Juniors saw three riders compete Greg Chilton competing in both water and land on the same kite taking the win ahead of Tom Ford and Robbie Shire Maidement.

The Freestyle comp kicked off in a strengthen wind – with Lewis in the commentary box with some banging tunes from the Red Bull wagon – and some cheeky comments.

There were some great riding in all fleets – however standouts had to be Marcus Hawkins who killed it in the Final of the amateur men – at 35 no mean feat – winning King of Watersports for biggest move of the weekend!

Sam Bull new to competition put on a consistent run of heats to win the Youths and Danielle Durrant with some gutsy riding winning the Amateur ladies.

Richard Jones showed great skill and won ahead of Dave Williams on a 13m and an unlucky Daniel Vaughn who lost his kite in the final of the seniors.

Last up were the juniors – some riders missing due to international competitions lead to a small fleet however Robbie and Callum fought it out – Callum taking 1st and Robbie 2nd.

Saturday night saw the Red bull bbq and a fairly late night!

Sunday dawned with light winds – lucky for some.

Owen Stringer race director was keen to run more races however there was insufficient winds to get going even on the race boards.

Prize giving was done at 1pm in front of a huge crowd.

Race results

1- Callum Edge
2- Denzil Williams
3- Lee Harvey

Land results

Men’s Buggy
1- Craig Sparkes
2- Dave Roberts
3- Will McKean

Men’s Landboard
1- Ash Garwood
2- Steve Smith
3- Daniel Smith

Junior Landboard
1- Greg Chilton
2- Tom Ford
3- Robbie Shire Maidement

Ladies Landboard
1- Sukie Robertson
2- Karen Cartlidge
3- Pippa Grundy

Ladies Buggy
1- Karen Cartlidge
2- Nicola Hammond

Freestyle Kitesurfing

Pro Men’s
1- Ali Barrett
2- Luke Whiteside
3- Ned Taylor

Pro Ladies
1- Hannah Whiteley
2- Nicky Rudd
3- Sukie Robertson

Am Men
1- Marcus Hawkins
2- Andrew James
3- Martin Thatchell

Am Ladies
1- Danielle Durrant
2- Poppy Hawkins
3- Chloe Durrant

Seniors
1- Richard Jones
2- David Williams
3- Daniel Vaughan

Youths
1- Sam Bull
2- Jack Daykin
3- Joe Matthews

Juniors
1- Callum Asquith
2- Robbie Shire Maidement

Kitesurfing: a tight battle with surfers in the Olympic race

Every sport dreams of securing an eternal place in the Olympic Games. The action sports never quite had the chance to stay for two consecutive events. There is only one exception. There are four mainstream ocean wave sports: surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and bodyboarding.

Windsurfing was the one and only to get there. In 1984, the individual sailing sport conquered the golden place in the Summer Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles, USA. The Neil Pryde RS:X is the current Olympic windsurfing class.

But, the question remains? Who's next? The race is quite tight, at the moment. Surfing has been lobbying for so long, but never finished the deal. The ISA's top executive works very hard to get it right, but fate is always changing the last minute hopes.

Rio de Janeiro 2016 is a great opportunity. Let's see if surfing finishes the wave properly. And, yes, kitesurfers have worked quickly and in an efficient way. IKA has Richard Branson back supporting the class and the power of ISAF to help kiteboarding reach its desire.

In the last place of the race, we have bodyboarding. The sport is very popular throughout the world, but never really "wanted" it. Why shouldn't IBA give it a try?

The Kite Family: they are channeling dreams

Ralph Crathorne (aged 51) and his two daughters Lucy (21) and Polly (16) think they have just broken three records in kitesurfing across the channel from Dungeness to Boulogne in 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Lucy and Polly are the first Women to kite surf the channel to France, Polly is the youngest person at 16 to have kite surfed across and Ralph is the oldest.

Despite less than perfect conditions the family dodged ships in the busiest shipping lane in the world - The Dover Straits. Having joked about going for a family crossing for some months - the dream became a reality when a friend offered to provide a support boat.

"It was all a bit last minute. Dad glued a compass onto his kiteboard and suddenly we were off - it wasn't until the half way point and I saw France in the distance that it really sank in that we were going to make it - I just looked at my sister and laughed it seemed so ridiculous," says Polly.

"We aimed to go from Dungeness to Wimereux but the currents and light winds forced us further south - we reckoned we had covered about 30 miles before we made it to the Boulogne Harbour walls where my wife hauled us on board under the noses of the French Police waiting menacingly on the beach", said Ralph Crathorne.

The family used Cabrinha Kites and Wizard kite boards to make their crossing - Polly Crathorne who finished second overall in the Ladies Amateurs’ freestyle section of the BKSA UK 2009 kite surf tour and is currently lying second in this year’s tour said "I am really excited to have just been invited to become a UK team rider for Cabrinha."

Note: the family notified the HM Coastguard and kept them informed throughout, however by order of the Maritime Prefect of the Channel and the North Sea (number 14/93) the French Maritime Authorities prohibit crossings of the Pas de Calais by unconventional means and/or in unorthodox craft

Source: BKSA