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Meet our instructors

Savs

Savsthekitedon

I started off making kites with garden canes and newspaper in the summer holidays as a kid. Then I progressed onto Peter Powel Stunt Kites, a plastic diamond shaped kite with a long streamer tail, which was probably in the 70s! A little later on (early 90s) I got hold of a Flexifoil 8 foot Stacker, my first ‘power’ kite. I had the Stacker in Ascension with me and started experimenting with traction, scudding and getting pulled down a cricket wicket on a skateboard. I also played in the sea with it, body- dragging down wind.

Ten years later during my second tour in Cyprus my wife Sarah and I were spending a lot of time windsurfing and we started to notice people out on the water with kites. As keen windsurfers we had seen kitesurfing develop on the fringes, and thought it looked like a lot of fun. We decided that Cyprus was the ideal place to give it a go. There was a Club up and running at Lemmings Beach and we took some lessons and then took the plunge and spent quite a lot of money on a couple of kites. After about a month we sold all our windsurfing kit. This was quite a big step as I had always had some windsurfing kit for the last 20 years and all of a sudden I knew I would never use it again!

After our first year of kitesurfing, Sarah and I did an IKO instructor course and spent a good part of our last year in Cyprus teaching as well as riding for pleasure! A posting to RAF Leuchars in October saw us on the coast but facing the challenges of a UK winter, cold water and tides, all things we had not had to contend with in Cyprus. But we invested in lots of neoprene; a tide table and carried on.

Kitesurfing has continued to be a big part of my life, and I still spend most of my free time on the beach or in the water. Being out on the water, is total escapism. You can be battling the elements and mother nature in a winter storm, cruising around on a warm sunny day or boosting high above the water, going for spins and grabs, all of which are totally exhilarating and stacks of fun. Over the years I have found new challenges riding different types of boards like skim boards and surf boards, in different locations around the world and for the last few years I have been concentrating on strapless surf board freestyle. The latest challenge I have recently taken to is foil boarding, the latest craze, and I look forward to taking this new dimension further, maybe losing the straps on a foil too! I feel it is an indication of how fantastic this ever developing sport is, keeping me stoked, even after 11 years! It may sound corny, but out on the water you can ‘free your mind’, which can be just what you need in this day and age.

Will

WillInstructor

Although I try not to remind myself, my love of power kiting started on a windy day in Rhosneigr Bay when a kitesurfer jumped over me whilst windsurfing; from then on I was hooked. I bought my first power kite, a small Ozone Flow to learn on whilst I was going through training and then went to my first RPKA meet in 2009. Back in those days, the association was very much land orientated so I found myself being taught in a buggy and then progressed to land boarding once the association instructors had corrected all my bad habits I had developed from teaching myself; there is a lesson there for all new kiters!!!!!

Having landed on my head one too many times, I thought it was about time I made the leap from land to water. Having missed out on the inaugural RPKA Z2H course in Cyprus, I took a UK based lesson and never looked back. I will never forget that first ride – probably no more than 20m but it felt like miles. The freedom you have when kitesurfing is just crazy; it doesn’t matter whether you are into throwing powered unhooked tricks, showing your competitive side course racing or just cruising around enjoying the pure freedom that the water and the wind offers you. I have been incredibly lucky going to some amazing locations around the world in the search of the all elusive ‘prefect conditions’ – for me I would go back to Brazil over and over again, but the world is a pretty big place.

Having been kiting for almost 10 years, I am still loving freestyle riding and really enjoying combining both unhooked riding with old-school tricks. Once I’ve been battered, you will find me working on my strapless waveriding. I’m no Ian Savage, but carving around in the waves and generally cruising around strapless on a surf board reminds me of why I fell in love with kitesurfing. Becoming an instructor was one of my aims once I discovered the RPKA. It has given me some fantastic experiences and opportunities during my service career and I just wanted to give something back and help it grow. I have now progressed to a Senior Instructor but I still get such a buzz when students dive the kite for the first time and do their first board starts (or superman) as they start on their journey into the sport.

As the chairman, you will forgive me for this small plug. Kitesurfing is a sport that everyone can do – young or old, uber fit or slightly less so, all it takes is a little dedication and an adventurous mindset and you can be on the water getting amongst it. Whether it be the monthly association meets, the Benbecula training camp, the OSV or the inter-service competition it is all available to you so get involved and I look forward to meeting you down the beach soon.

Si

Si Trophy Si Raley

Despite being brought up in Cornwall, I didn’t start my love affair with the sea until my late 30s. It started with racing Zapcats in the National Championships and a couple of years later, during the powerboat off-season, I was missing being on the water and one of the guys on the Sqn said he’d teach me to kitesurf. This was appealing for a number of reasons, none the least because unlike a powerboat that needs a tow hitch, a slipway and another person, you have the freedom to put your kite gear on your back and walk to pretty much any beach in the country and get on the water.

I’ve tried many sports over the years with varying success but, unlike anything else, Kitesurfing gripped me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Not just a hobby or a pastime, it has become a way of life. Most weekends, holidays and AT involve Kitesurfing. I’ve bought a day-van and now own a house on a kite-beach in North Devon. The appeal is that the sport is extremely diverse and when you go out on the water you can either just cruise around in your comfort-zone enjoying the freedom of being able to go anywhere you like with the most basic kit, or you can push your boundaries by learning new tricks or new disciplines such as strapless wave-riding. No two Kitesurfing sessions are the same and therefore every time you go out it’s a new experience. The last great thing about Kitesurfing is the people. Although kitesurfers come in all shapes and sizes everyone looks out for each other and I’ve not found anything more rewarding than being a Kitesurfing Instructor and seeing the look on someone’s face when they get up and riding for the first time. Since becoming a Senior Instructor in 2016, I’ve now started to develop an Intermediates Coaching Programme for the association that’s already starting to show dividends. The RPKA offers a unique opportunity to learn this amazing sport and experience it in spectacular locations in the UK and around the world.


Cookie

Cookie jump

From an early age flying a K-Tel Stunt Kite in the farmer’s field I’ve been interested in kite flying. I remember building a box kite from instructions in a dusty book in the local library and was amazed at how much power it had when I finally got it flying. On discovering some 2m foil kites on a det in Italy I decided to try kiting with a skateboard, this did not go so well with me zooming down the aircraft pan at about 30mph, before being yanked off the board and being dumped somewhat painfully onto the concrete. Despite this I continued my quest to achieve kite traction and finally found the RPKA who taught me enough kite theory and top tips to enable me to ride a mountain board and a 4m foil with competence. It was Ian Savage who finally convinced me that kitesurfing in the water was better than land boarding and after completing a Zero 2 Hero course in Cyprus I was hooked. Kitesurfing is now a massive part of my life and I’m keen to share the fun I have, becoming an instructor has improved my skills and opened doors for future opportunities when I eventually leave the RAF.

Dave

Daveinstructor

I first found power kiting in 2006 when my brother offered me a try of his 5m Ozone Samurai Power kite and his Land board in Porthcawl, South Wales. I enjoyed it but pretty much wanted to find out what else I could do as the land boarding wasn’t for me…falling off hurts!!!

It was one of the other Cpl’s on my team at Lossie that introduced me to Kitebuggying and I was hooked. I went out bought myself a buggy, a bunch of kites and some protective gear and proceeded to spend most of my free time whizzing back and forth the east and west beaches of Lossiemouth. A few months later we spotted a weekend camping meet being held by a local shop in Fraserburgh. We got to the meet, introduced ourselves to the shop owners and hung out with a whole bunch of like-minded kiters including the Ozone Kites UK Team drinking, buggying and landboarding behind the Hotel on the clifftops around St Combs!!

I eventually became best friends with the owners of the shop and this led onto me helping them out on many an occasion and eventually through their assistance and leadership achieving my IKO Level 1 Powerkite Instructor qualification. I became unofficially sponsored by the shop and started buggy racing for the Scottish Power Kite Association which also led me to compete in the World Champs in 2012. Unfortunately, the standard of buggy racers at the World champs was impeccably high and I finished around midfield in the table.

It was way back in the day that I first caught wind of a meet at Valley where a few of the RAF were getting together to go kiting and a few of the Ozone UK guys were pitching up as well. This was my first chance to meet the founding members of the RPKA, travelling from Lossie to North Wales before the association became official and approved and we could claim it back!!! Unfortunately squadron working commitments meant that I was unable to attend any meets for the next few years.

When I finally caught up with the association again, lots of hard work had been put in by a select few individuals and the Association had now been approved by the Sports Board and was going from strength to strength. Quite a few of the guys had now moved away from the land kiting and onto the water and started Kitesurfing. I had been receiving a few lessons from the guys up in Scotland and eventually decided that the water was the way to go for me too!! I found that there was always something new to push me and progress. Sometimes, getting on the water just meant that I was able to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and cruise around letting the worries slip away.

Kitesurfing has now become a major part of my life!! I have gained my BKSA Instructor qualification helping out at RPKA events and I’m always looking out for the next forecast or the right tides at my local spots. The majority of my free time is either spent with family or at one of the local beaches of which I am fortunate enough to be at Lossie so I have a choice of about 20 beaches within about an hour and a half drive each way….and generally am pretty much the only kiter on the water!! I’ve also been fortunate enough to be one of the very few members who have snow kited the mountains of the UK!!!

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