"We are Sarah Sylvester and Richard Boughton, the UK importers for Jochum and Nesler, JN Kites. We sell and repair kitesurfing equipment in the UK, take part in competitions and travel the globe kitesurfing. Read all about our adventures here!"

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

South Devon Kite Club 2011 Christmas Video

We made a very last minute video for the local kitesurf club (www.sdkc.co.uk) Christmas dinner a few weeks ago. As usual this was shot and edited in a hasty fashion, but I did actually manage to bang a tripod out for the evening and we got some nice light, even if the waves were really small, it was bolt onshore, and Sarah wasn't riding at her best! She was stacked on a 9m and strapless. I may reuse some of the footage for the English Riveira Part II, the yet to be planned or even thought about sequel. The evidence stacks up below:

Friday, 16 December 2011

2011 Advent Storms

It's been a big old week down here in the South Hamsters. For once, Windguru didn't under cook the forecast and we got dealt a serious week of big wave, and big wind hi jinx. It's been the longest storm we have seen down here in the last four years of Devon. The week previous we were fairly sure most of it would be to windy to kite, but it actually turned out alright.

Slapping the close out with a salty Go Pro on Tuesday 13th
 Monday was one of the best days for progression before the storm really hit. Powered 9m and the swell had arrived before the storm kicked in. There were nice rides to be had, but if we are honest, it was a little too onshore, made up for by how clean it was. We got a couple of good hours in the morning, and packed up just before the wind went crazy.

Extreme 6m weather
 Tuesday was the strongest forecast, with 35-55 knots predicted on the Guru. We went down set up, only for a mega squall to arrive which left us sheltering under the 6m in a hail storm. Quote of the week from our recently retired friend Bert was "I feel like one of those f@*king penguins off frozen planet"

Thurlestone working with no wind
 Sarah and I both got an hour or so on Tuesday on the 6m Da Vinci, in humongous swell. When it gets hairy, this is still the kite we turn to. We literally pull it off the dusty shelf in case of emergency. In the end I actually got a few decent rides, which I wasn't really expecting. The swell period was so large that there was a lot of space between waves at high tide, meaning you had plenty of time to jibe and prepare to haul your arse over the white water going out. It was actually far safer than some days we have with smaller swell, less wind and shorter period. A windsurfer managed to lose his rig and was swimming in about 300m out and half way across the bay from where his rig was. I hovered around him and watched him in which he was very grateful for indeed. The current was ridiculous with the river flowing out full of Dartmoor's brown sheep shit and tannin rainwater. I obviously earned my karma points here as straight after that I got the best five waves of the day. It was very eerie out there with the low sunlight and mist. Another squall was building behind me, so I called it quits and came out of the water extremely euphoric, and for once the Go Pro worked and I forgive it for getting salty.

Burgh Island Bigggies
Wednesday came and went with very unstable weather. We rode for 20 mins or so, but it was literally 10 to 40 knots as the squalls came and went. Not exactly conducive to fun and we got quite cold. Thursday and Friday were spent doing work and repairs, and in the morning in between the storms I went out and took some photos of a few reef / point spots that have potential to work on big swells in WNW. They were firing, but the wind wasn't quite right. 20 dgrees further north and I would have been all over it. With the onset of Manflu hanging over us like a bogey encrusted overlord, we stayed out of the water and in front of the wood burner. But we know where to head, and when, next time and the exit strategies are in place.

In fact next week looks like it's on. The winter of love continues.

There are more pictures from the weeks antics and scoping here:

December Scoping Album

Friday, 2 December 2011

BKSA Wavemasters 2011

After a fair amount ‘umming and ‘arrring and due to yours truly smashing up my gammy ankle the previous week, Sarah and I postponed our loose idea of an autumnal trip to warmer climes, and with Jet ski in tow, headed across the bridge to the BKSA Wavemasters in Cornwall. Dicky Gowers had called us a few weeks previous and asked to borrow it for safety cover. I said fine, as long as I didn't have to sit on it all week.

Jetski Phil
We arrived at our luxury static accommodation at the St Ives Bay Caravan park. It turned out to be a very topical place to be with the Dale Farm eviction going on. Still, after a little modification it was very comfortable, and after burning most of the North Sea gas reserves, it was also fairly warm. Sound proof it wasn’t. We were sharing with friends Neil and Lisa for the week, who became even more familiar by the end of the stay.

Biggies at Godrevy
Day one greeted us with bright sunshine and humungous surf . The view from the floral cushioned Horizon Contessa was pretty spectacular down towards Godrevy. Mr Vento hadn’t arrived yet, but he was scheduled to turn up before lunchtime. After the rider meeting at the CafĂ©, unsurprisingly the Girlies were on first as the wind filled in. It filled in faster than expected, and as Pro Kiteb*tch for the better half I pumped up 6, 7 and 9m PD4 kites whilst her ladyship literally crapped her way through the pre match nerves. Unfortunately disaster struck, and the council had decided not to unlock the gates to the track to Godrevy meaning the man left in charge (BKSA Vice Chairman, and all round nice guy, Pete Shaw) had to make some frantic phone calls to get the key. The competition couldn’t start until the Ski was on the beach. After an hour the gate then got opened, only for Jetski man Phil to find the access road to the beach had a chuffing great big sand dune across it.

Grinning like a winner
After all this unfortunate messing around the 11am start had turned into more of a 1.30pm start. Good conditions were being missed and it was quite frustrating. Anyway, the ladies eventually got off to a good start, with head high plus conditions with about 25-30 knots slightly side off.  Sarah’s first heat was against good friend of ours and local pocket rocket wave slayer Debbie Kennedy. Sarah didn’t ride that well, and came in a bit peeved, but made it into the next round where she was against another friend of ours, Welsh lovely Sarah Eager of Blast Kiteboarding and a plucky young Scottish lady called Sammy Wiseman. Suddenly Sarah seemed to click with the conditions, and in the relatively short 7 minute heats she scored three nice long waves with some powerful turns. This got her into the next round against Steph Bridge. For those of you not in the know, Steph is 3 x World course racing champion, and just got a 3rd place at the KSP tour (the international wave event). A formidable opponent to say the least. Sarah thought she was done for , but was pleased with her performance in her last heat and went into it quite relaxed, changing down to a 6m. She got three good waves with some nice slashy turns in the pocket, and cruised in not expecting to win. She was oblivious to the fact that Steph hadn’t had a great heat.

Cheeky session at Marazion on the way home
So much to her surprise, she had progressed to the final against Debbie. At this point she said to me she didn’t really mind who won, and again went in extremely relaxed. She worked her way out back, and took two or three quite large waves with her usual smooth style, made one very committed top turn and took a big one right on the head! She cruised in casual as a cucumber.

So after a rocky start, she won it. British Champion 2011! The key point being is that she relaxed, didn’t think about the other competitors and results and just rode.
The rest of the week was spent getting through the men’s heats which in the end ran in very small conditions. Light 1-2ft and almost bolt onshore.  It was still a good display of riding, specially the strapless guys with the top five all at a ridiculous level. The great conditions from the first day didn’t really reappear.  A jam session was held later in the week in some light but nice clean side off conditions (Sarah came second in this). This was a good laugh, and much less serious with twenty minute heats and three or four riders out at a time in quite technical conditions.
There has been a lot of feedback from various sides on how this event should be run in the future. I think this is a very positive thing, as the people involved are a really good group, and we have some very high level riders in the UK. It should be a showcase of talent, and definitely deserves more media coverage, sponsorship and more hands on deck to help coordinate. There has also been talk of making it a series, or running more of a jam format which takes the pressure off, and maximises time on the water. It will be interesting to see what happens. A huge thanks to Pete, Phil, Josh, Tessy and flag girl Lisa for soldiering away all week in chilly conditions.

Le Champ
Lastly the British Wavemasters was won by two South Africans, with both Sarah and Richie Sills hailing from the land of Springbok. Trevor Hale won the seniors though, and I think he’s from Devizes (Wiltshire’s hidden gem) so well done Trevor for keeping the British end up.

The top three women were also all on 5 line kites. Funny old world isn't it?