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Picture over kite area at Benbecula

Events

2018 RPKA Fixtures

February - Location TBC

March - RAF St Mawgan (Zero to Hero training camp and general meet)

April - Pembrey

May - Hunstanton

Apr/May - RAF 100 event (Location TBC)

June - Sri Lanka (Overseas visit)

July - Pembrey (RAF Champs)

August - Benbecula (Zero to Hero training camp and Intermediate Development)

October - Hayling Island (Inter-Services competition)

November - RAF St Mawgan (Zero to Hero training camp and general meet)

Watch the forum for dates and registration details.

Having trouble landing that new trick? Or don't know what to try next? Request Coaching at an RPKA meet.

CR:X Racing 2018

This year the RPKA will enter a team of upto four riders into this new and exciting one class racing series. This will eventually culminate in a tri-services racing event at this year inter services compeition. There are 5 race events throughout the year, which will include training on the equipment and hydrofoil instruction.

This is a great opportunity for any individual looking to improve their kite surfing, and with a specific interest in twin tip and hydrofoil racing.

For more info check out the CR:X website and the CR:X thread on our forum.

Next Meet:

February - Location TBC

The next meet will be our first meet of 2018. Time to brush off those cobwebs and start off another awesome year of kiting with a bang. This meet will also feature the traditional RPKA chrismtas party, with the dress code being shirt, tie, board shorts and flip flops.

Keep an eye on the forum for the upcoming accouncement of the location of this meet.

Last Meet:

November - RAF St Mawgan Zero to Hero

This meet saw four new kite surfers welcomed to our sport with a week of kite surfing tuition in the beautiful county of Cornwall. This was the second time the RPKA had run this training camp at RAF St Mawgan and it was a great success. The students were very lucky with the conditions and only had one day out of the week where the conditions were unsuitable for tuition - the wind was blowing somewhere around 40kts, much more than the safe upper limit of 25kts needed for teaching students. On this day the instructors and intermediate riders of the RPKA braved the extreme conditions and put on a show of how awesome this sport is for the new comers. We hope the recently converted heros continue with the sport and we look forward to seeing them during the upcoming season at some of our meets.

Army and Navy Fixtures:

Don't forget Power kiting is an inter-service sport, our fellow services also offer a full calendar of events we are welcome to attend.

For details check here:

Army Kitesurfing

Royal Navy and Royal Marines Kitesurfing

Fixture Reports

October - Hayling Island (Inter Services).

The last week in October saw kitesurfers from all three services gather at Hayling Island, near Portsmouth in Hampshire, on the south coast of England, for the UK Armed Forces Festival of Kitesurfing. This event is one of the highlights of the year for serving kitesurfers. As current RAF Champion, No 4 School of Technical Training’s Chf Tech Ian Savage had travelled to the event as part of the RAF Team. The Festival is open to all levels of kitesurfers, to actively promote all types of kitesurfing to soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. The planned events usually include a freestyle competition with different categories for varying skill and experience levels, and also kite racing, a competitive kitesurfing event not dissimilar to yacht racing along a course, involving both speed and tactics.

The RAF were well represented with a mixture of newcomers, some of whom had only learnt to kitesurf this year, and also old hands, some of who were involved with gaining recognised status for the sport and founding the RAF Power Kiting Association, which is about to celebrate it’s tenth anniversary this November. The team had elected to stay in a caravan park in close proximity to the beach, as the nearest military accommodation, at HMS Temeraire, was a 40 minute drive away.

The original plan was for everyone to arrive and get some practice in the early part of the week and run the competitive elements at the end of the week. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas. The lack of wind on Monday prevented anyone getting on the water. The only wind for the whole of the week's forecast was predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday, but even this was too light to allow a competition to take place. So at a briefing on Tuesday morning the chairmen of the three associations made the call to cancel the competition, due to insufficient wind.

However the slight breeze that was forecast did turn up and provided just enough wind for around 20 or so kiters to get out on the water, in some glorious sunshine, on very large, lightwind specific kites.

On Wednesday afternoon a handful of the remaining kiters were treated to a demonstration and a chance to try out CR:X One Design, a new development in the sport. This system, CR:X, has been built for an extraordinary wide wind range, from 8-30 knots, maximizing rideable conditions and days on the water. This is facilitated by a lightweight three-strut kite that comes in three sizes and a convertible kite board, allowing for riding either as a TwinTip or fitted with a hydrofoil. The multiple modes mean that the same set of equipment can be used for beginners or more advanced foil races and in changing weather conditions.

The designers hope to create a community of kite racing enthusiasts within the British military of all levels and abilities and enable them to race on a level playing field, in a wide range of conditions.

Chf Tech Savage is one of very few military kitesurfers who can pilot a foil board, which enables great speed even in very light winds, and he was first out on the new equipment showing what will no doubt be the way forward for competitive kitesurfing, not only in the military, but also as a potential Olympic event.

Members of all three Services left the demonstration buzzing on the excitement of this new development, keen to get practicing for next year’s season!

September 2017 - Pembrey

Pembrey was a brilliant meet. Great to see some of the last Z2H students getting on it! And the return of the Chairman to UK events!!
Weather was a mixed bag. Kite surfers used 8, 10 and 12m kites on various days. The tides worked for two sessions a day, an early morning sesh, then chilled afternoon, then back out for an evening sundown session.

The thursday session was almost tropical, Sav's and Chris sat soaking up the sun having a pic-nic waiting for the water to come back, then a really cool sunset session. The Friday session was totally different, small kites and rain!! So windy in fact that some kite surfers were using a 5m kite on 15m lines!! The wind backed off a bit for the Sat morning session which saw the 17m kites getting some use.

Benbecula Zero to Hero 2017.

The RPKA welcomed in 8 new kite surfers during what might go down in history as our most successful zero to hero course we have ever had.

Full write up coming soon....

RAF Kitesurfing Championships 2017

Most competitors had arrived at Pembrey Country Park Campsite by Thu morning and circled the tents to create a RPKA ‘home from home’ for eating, sleeping and evening socials. Taking it in turns to cook and brew-up, the team was already starting to bond and build on the spirit that had first been reinvigorated a month earlier on the Sicily OSV.

The wind came late on Thu but fortunately coincided with an evening high-tide. Keen as ever to get on the water, everyone took advantage and enjoyed a free-ride session with the backdrop of a stunning sunset. As the entire sky turned a deep red over the far reaching dunes and western horizon, the reflection on the choppy water looked like flames bubbling around the skimming kiteboards. Yet another totally unique Kitesurfing experience had everyone grinning as they finally left the water just before darkness fell.

With a promise of some wind on Fri, the alarms went off early and, fuelled by Drakey’s bacon sandwiches, everyone got to the beach raring to go. Unfortunately, the wind was light and was only just enough for big kites, surfboards and Ian Savage breaking new ground for the association with foilboard freestyle. After a 2 hour session, improving the strapless freestyle repertoires, the wind continued to drop as the tide ebbed and everyone headed for lunch on Bury Port harbour. Having resigned to there being no more kiting that day the group split to restock on provisions and sort kit. However, contrary to the forecast, the wind kicked in strongly by mid-afternoon. A quick rallying call went out and everyone assembled at the beach for the Intermediates Competition. It was a low tide at this time which, at Pembrey, means a 15 minute walk down the beach to the water’s edge. The sense of anticipation prior to the competition is countered by a kitesurfer’s natural excitement of getting an unexpected session. Energy levels were high and, during the warm up, the intermediate competitors dusted off the freestyle tricks ready for the heats. Following the briefings the kiters took to the water and, with an atmosphere of excitement, the green flag went up and the competition started… and was abruptly suspended when Jim Field broke his leg in Heat 1! The RPKA emergency plan was successfully employed for the first time in anger and the casualty was attended to by an overwhelming response from the local emergency services. 2 inshore lifeboats, 2 Coastguard 4x4s, an ambulance, a helicopter and a total of 20 personnel saw Jim safely from the beach to the local hospital in very quick time. After a delay of about 1 hour the competition was resumed and Heat 2 was completed without any dramas. Unfortunately, the wind dropped mid-way through the final and the competition was again suspended, this time for the day. Such are Kitesurfing competitions in the UK, it had been a rollercoaster afternoon. When it was pointed out that Jim had ultimately been responsible for the delay that prevented the competition being completed, it was inevitable and unequivocal that he should receive the ‘Cockblock’ award. Competing for the first time in his short Kitesurfing career, Si Bellamy did extremely well to stay up wind for an entire session in the challenging Pembrey surf. This achievement rewarded his dogged determination to master the sport and earned him the award for the ‘Most Improved Kiter’. Following the ups and downs of the day the team, including Jim with plastered leg, re-mustered at the campsite for evening meal and well-earned refreshments.

Saturday morning, 2 hours before high-tide, everyone left standing assembled once more at the beach with a good wind and raring to go. The Intermediates’ final and the RAF Champs Competitions were run concurrently to save time. Tom Boyce was first on the water but crumbled under the pressure of competition. Crashing and ditching his kite as he attempted his first trick, left him under even more pressure in the remaining time. Dropping his kite a further 2 times, we only saw a glimpse of what Tom is capable of. It’s very early days for Tom and more exposure to competitions will undoubtedly ease the nerves and see him rise up the standings. The competition was now left wide open for the old campaigner Dave Thorne and new kid on the block Luke Adshead to fight it out for the Intermediates’ title. Dave has been developing in the relative isolation of Scotland compared to Luke who was fresh off the OSV coaching. They both threw down some great routines with similar levels of difficulty, performing top-end hooked-in tricks and saving the riskier unhooked attempts for the last minute. As well as many rotations and transitions they were topping the Intermediate expectations with tricks such as darkslide, double-backroll, tweaked front roll with grab and a raley. The judges thought long and hard as there was very little to choose between them. Eventually the verdict was made and Luke had edged it with a slightly slicker overall performance. This also left Luke in a strong place for the overall Champs title with his run in the bag, Ian Savage and Si Taylor had it all to do. Ian went first and produced a flawless routine of rotations and grabs, darksliding on both tacks and packing in lots of eye-catching tricks. Si went for the higher energy routine which included aerial kiteloop transition, tabletop grab, raley and unhooked backroll. As the top 2 seeded riders they had taken the competition to the next level. Again the judges were hard pushed to decide between these differing routines but the finesse of Ian’s tricks got him the nod just ahead of Si.

Following the freestyle competition the wind held for another couple of hours and enabled a King of the Air competition to be run. Taking it in turns to fit a WOO┬« measuring device, each competitor threw themselves at the waves hoping for that little extra height on their biggest boosts. First to go, Si hit the sweet spot once in his session and that was enough to record an impressive 8.1m that couldn’t be topped by the other competitors.

Overall, this was a successful Championship that saw a range of abilities compete for 4 trophies over 3 days, as well as plenty of opportunity to free-ride and hone individual skills. The standard was very high and the spirit of competition was excellent. With sights now set on the Aug Intermediate Development Camp, in the beautiful Outer Hebrides, the RAF appears to be in a good position ahead of the Inter-Services Competition. The venue works well and the campsite domestics were great for a summer event, adding to the traditionally strong RPKA team spirit. Although Jim’s incident was unfortunate, it demonstrates how good the RPKA’s safety management system is to ensure everyone’s enjoyment of this extreme sport. Thanks goes from all the competitors to the organisers who make an event such as this possible.

All the final competition standings are:

RPKA Kitesurfing Championship

1st Ian Savage

2nd Si Taylor

3rd Luke Adshead

4th Dave Thorne

5th Tom Boyce

Intermediates’ Kitesurfing Competition

1st Luke Adshead

2nd Dave Thorne

3rd Tom Boyce

4th Jim Field

5th Steve Drake

6th Si Bellamy

King of the Air Competition

1st Si Taylor 8.1m

2nd Ian Savage 6.9m

3rd Dave Thorne 5.6m

4th Luke Adshead 5.5m

5th Tom Boyce 4.5m

Most improved Kiter

Si Bellamy

May 2017 - ProKite Alby Rondina (Stagnone, Sicily)

As the advanced party of 4 kiters gathered at the airport, with a main party of 4 coming a week later, in terms of attendees this was going to be a smaller OSV than on previous years. If we were in any doubt as to where we’d arrived, this was quickly addressed by the references to the defeated Sicilian Mafia in the airport and the endless expanse of vineyards and olive groves on the transfer to The Spot at Stagnone.

The Spot was a natural lagoon in the west of Sicily. The shape of the lagoon has been changed dramatically over the years due to the now redundant salt industry. However, the derelict windmills and salt-bed walls remain and provide an interesting backdrop. It also produces unique conditions such as mirror-flat water and obstacles for the adventurous kiter. To the north of the lagoon is a narrow entrance to the open Mediterranean, where waves were available in a prevailing wind. No more than 1m deep at any point, the lagoon is immense and despite hundreds of kiters on the water each day there was plenty of space to throw big tricks or explore the islands inside the lagoon. Sunny every day but not stupidly hot, the water was warm and a hardy Brit could probably do without a wetsuit. So, with bags unpacked and boards re-built we walked the 100m from villa to beach. As impatient as usual, we started at the first hint of a breeze on a Zephyr and surfboard but quickly changed down to 12m and twin tip. Eventually well powered on a 9m by mid-afternoon. This was the pattern for the following 2 weeks however, the wind often built later and rarely exceeded 20kts. The good news was that it blew on all but 3 days which is an extremely good ratio for a European spot. So, with big stable kites and flat shallow water, the perfect formula for progression was there. And we took advantage!

RPKA in-house coaching, by Si Taylor and Ian Savage, paid dividends for everyone. Tom Boyce quickly surpassed his pre-trip goals. Through 100% commitment and 120% effort, he had Raleys in the bag and more complex unhooked tricks attempted, and nearly landed. A more measured approach by Luke Adshead achieved a similar level of progression. He also bagged Raleys, floaty rotations with grabs and strapless flick-tacks, all on camera of course! Unfortunately Tris Simkins took a big hit on day one due to kit failure mid trick. Despite suffering a rib injury, he made some low-stress strapless surfboard progress, confidently carrying out carved jibes and foot-swaps. Si Taylor took advantage of the conditions to dust off the un-hooked cobwebs with S-bends and F16s and landed a few new tricks including ‘unhooked backroll to toeside’. Unable to claim the elusive air-pass it was non-the-less a brilliant introduction to the season and laid the foundation to progress over the summer. Next to arrive was Steve Drake who had an immediate influence by causing the first no-wind day! However, the big-air master regularly figured highly on the Stagnone Big Air Leaderboard and tweaked-out his tricks with inimitable style. Si Bellamy was aiming to consolidate after completing the ‘Zero to Hero’ course just last year. He was riding up wind and making transitions, which was a great achievement in a short period of time. Gareth Thomas threw himself into the opportunity for some freestyle progression with toe-side riding, carved turns and floaty jumps. With the lagoon being ideal for all forms of freestyle, Ian Savage produced some stunning strapless surfboard wizardry.

Stagnone lagoon is unique and provides everything needed for all levels of freestyle kiting in a European location. With a short flight, short transfer, good accommodation and good local food and wine, the domestics couldn’t be much better either. To enable consolidation and further progression throughout the year, everyone agreed that this is the perfect time of year for the OSV.

Check out the Sicily OSV 2017 gallery

 
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