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kiteboarding

  • Hydro Foil Kiteboarding

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    First off...I'm deff no expert but thought it may be worth sharing some of my experiences with starting out on a hydro foil board for a complete beginners perspective and honestly it's not as easy as it looks.

    We've all seen the video's of the pro's effortlessly gliding a metre above the water making it look oh so easy, well believe me it ain't....not in the beginning at least!

    Obviously it helps if you are a competent kitesurfer but to be honest it really is like starting kitesurfing all over again but that's part of the big attraction. Something new and exciting, a totally new challenge.

    I bought a used Sroka foil off a friend who was looking to upgrade to a new race wing, the Sroka is a pretty good setup to start with...so I'm told.

    My first session was a total disaster, I had my first go back in February on a freezing winters day, I even had gloves on that day (I rearely use gloves but it was extremely cold easterlies) which did not help. Just getting your feet in the front straps at the beginning is hard enough..it's hard to get the board up on an edge so you can get your feet in. Then there is the whole balance thing, the board just wants to shoot up into the sky..it's alive!

    12742745_10153789925126294_1662643119226238121_n Sharp enough to chop your digits off!

    It's advisable to wear all the protective gear you have at the start i.e. Impact Vest/Helmet/Boots/Gum Shield...everything :-) (both the wing and mast are razor sharp) as this thing will try it's best to kill you. I'll tell you what, go stand on your kitchen table and then imagine traveling at speed only to be thrown with force into the water several feet below and you will get some idea of what it is like!

    After each session it really felt like I'd been in a car crash, aching from head to toe from the multiple wipeouts but smiling like a fat kid in a sweet shop.

    I found that 30mins was all I was interested in doing at the start (poss as it was a lot colder then) and many times I just did a quick 15mins and stopped as soon as I felt the progression was slowing. But then I had a few awesome moments up and flying and each session it has generally got better....not always but generally.

    So far I have chosen mostly lighter wind days, using my 11m Renegade which has a huge wind range and plenty of de-power.

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    But lately I have been out in much lighter winds (as I'm starting to improve) and the sheer amount of apparent wind it can generate is quite phenomenal. Today there was barely enough to keep the kite in the sky when I launched the kite, however once up on a plane your off and away upwind. Then the next problem is how to go back down wind as it really is "too easy" to go upwind.

    When way out the back today I fluffed a turn and whilst trying to restart I suddenly became aware again how little wind there actually was...the kite just slowly fell into the water...there was no way I was ever going to relaunch it so I started a long swim back for the shore, but I was stoked anyway..just to be out in so little wind.

    3

    I checked later and the wind was dropping rapidly as soon as I had gone in, it was probably about 6-7mp when I was out...on an 11m LEI kite!

    Next I'm really looking forward to getting the new Shinn/Zeeko Hydro Foil set up asap and mastering the downwind tacks and gybes etc

    I'm absolutely hooked, OK I can't wait till the next big storm with loads of swell to use my trusty surfboard but I'm loving this so much now I'm happy with 12mph for now!

    So to summarise, it really really is amazing, it's extremely hard to put into words what the feeling is like, silky smooth, knife through butter etc etc .....but you will have to try it for yourself and see if you can describe it any better.

     

  • 2015 British Wavemasters Championships

    Some of you may well remember that Iksurfmag stepped forward at the last minute to save last years "Wavemasters" in Cornwall......and what an awesome event they ran too.

    Since it was such a last minute event last year we have all been looking forward to see what they could do with this years event with a little more time to plan things.

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    Both the teams at IKSURFmag and Kiteworld Mag have been more hectic than ever, what with running their hugely successful magazines and with all the new 2016 kit coming out and needing reviews etc but also this year they took over the British Freestyle Champs but then this will also helped to hone their organising skills even more.

    Unfortunately there is one element they cannot control - the Weather, and she really didn't want to play ball this year!

    Marc@Blast collecting the goodies Marc@Blast collecting the goodies

    2014 IKSURFMAG WAVE CLASSIC....

    https://vimeo.com/110427541

    The past two months the wind on the west coast has been fickle to say the least. We had a great summer of teaching here at the Blast school but once September arrived so did the lack of good winds, especially on the weekends which is when we needed them the most.

    It became that bad Sarah and I decided to do a last minute trip to Morocco (there was no wind here to run lessons so why not) to get some much needed wind/surf, 6 out of 8 days it cranked!

    Sarah & Marc in Morocco

    https://vimeo.com/139802027

    Since returning we have only one weekend we could run lessons and these were in Easterly winds on the Gower, not our usual westerlies at either Porthcawl or Aberavon.

    So, as the week of the Wavemasters approached everyone was getting excited, surely October in Cornwall would produce the goods?

    Two weeks prior to the comp I saw the long term farming forecast and...it didn't look good! A huge high pressure was due to take over much of the Atlantic and in so doing so would pretty much rule out any deep lows swinging our way.

    Sure enough this is exactly what happened.

    The decision was made by Rou and Jim that the comp was not going to run...a tough call to make but the correct decision for sure. The winds were due to be very light mostly ENE with a very slight chance of wind for the Wednesday and small swell also.

    It's such a long way for many people to travel with some coming from the far reaches of the UK such as George Noble up in North Scotland.

    Sometimes this sport sucks balls!

    But then again this is also the very reason that makes those special days just that...special!

    A special day in Tiree for the 2014 Wavemasters A special day in Tiree for the 2014 Wavemasters

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    I'm not sure if there will be a new date added once a good forecast is seen however I really hope it's not any time at the beginning of November as I'll be away in Brazil with Dimitri from Epic Kites doing a photo/video shoot and opening a new dealer/school.

    Whatever the outcome, it is the hands of mother nature to have the last word on whether it goes ahead or not.

  • The power of video analysis!

    Recently I have had to do quite a few 1-2-1 lessons with people who are generally at a stumbling block in there progression, it may be getting up on the board for the first time, doing sustained runs or maybe more advanced things such as jumps/rotations or riding strapless etc

    Check out the video here: https://vimeo.com/137763067

    Whilst doing these more advanced lessons and indeed whilst running our normal every day lessons I generally always have a GoPro on me and try to capture that magic moment every newbie lives for - the moment you get up on the board.

    However recently whilst checking the video later in the evening I noticed a number of very small things a particular student was doing wrong - repeatedly!

    This was even though I was forever giving advice to the guy on what exactly to do. So...the next lesson we met up before hand to go over the previous lessons video footage.

    The student examined all the short clips in great detail and really slowed down the action so we could examine everything in great detail (the beauty of 60fps).

    "Anyway we headed back into the water and bang, the student was up...every time and doing longer and longer runs back and forth along the beach - as you'd expect he was pretty ecstatic!

    [embed]https://vimeo.com/137763067[/embed]
  • Why choose your Kitesurfing Lessons in Porthcawl, S.Wales

    So why choose Porthcawl / Aberavon for your kitesurfing lessons?

    Huge empty sandy beaches Huge empty sandy beaches

    After many years kitesurfing and at most of the popular kitesurf beaches around the UK I will always return home thankful that we live and kite in the area that we do.

    The local beaches at both Porthcawl and Aberavon are only 15mins apart but between them they offer so much choice. One of the biggest pluses is the huge sandy beaches (SAFE) they both offer...miles of open sandy beach and normally pretty quiet as well (other than a few high days during the summer like B/H etc)

    Safe in our hands Safe in our hands

    Porthcawl and Aberavon are also extremely easy to get to...each literally only a few minutes off the M4

    There is a core group of kitesurfers in the area and then also a regular crew from "over the bridge" from places like Bristol and the Midlands etc
    The local guys and girls are very well known for being extremely friendly and always keen to offer help to both newbies and kitesurfers visiting the area.

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    The predominant wind direction is SW and cross onshore, there are usually waves..not always big but can make life harder for those not used to them. BUT once you are capable in the surf it will mean no two days are the same and it will turn the beach into one big open playground with the waves as ramps to boost off or rip to shreds!

    Click here:
    Summer with Blast Kiteboarding in S.Wales Video

    We are extremely fortunate to actually live in the heart of Porthcawl, a small seaside town and offering a few beaches working on different wind directions and small enough to be able to walk to all amenities such as the shops/bars/cafes/restaurants etc and you know what? We wouldn't live anywhere else.
    We offer kitesurf lessons 7 days a week from March-November here in Porthcawl and Aberavon and only use current up-to date equipment from many of the best brands on the market. All our instructors are fully qualified to the highest standards and possibly equally important...are extremely passionate and motivated about this incredible sport....and this passion is infectious! There are not many instructors with more enthusiasm then our head instructor Richie!

    Click here:

    Kitesurf Lessons in Porthcawl S.Wales with Blast Kiteboarding Video

    Porthcawl has many excellent B&B's and all close to the beach (watch this space for more exciting news regards Kitesurf Accommodation for 2016 season).

    We can offer a full range of lessons tailored to suit your needs whether you choose the most popular two day course or 1-2-1 lessons specialising in wave riding (Marc is current 3 x British Wavemasters Senior Champion)

     

  • Introducing the 5th Generation Kites from EPIC

    So by now most people will have at least heard of the Epic Kiteboarding brand, or at the very least the legend that is Dimitri. The company is quite unique in that it's a small rider driven company headed by big boosting/hard charging Dimitri Maramenides and his wife Helen who are based in Hatteras USA.

    Dimitri
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    After a long career as a pro-rider for several other brands inc. Airush they decided to start their own company with the goal of producing the best kites but also being able to offer the very best customer service available.

    The aim is not to be the biggest kite brand in the world and dominate the market, the aim is simple...Make kites with the very best performance that are also extremely easy to use..no gimmicks, simply kites that excel whether you want to boost to the moon or rip in the surf...or just help you to progress quickly when you are just starting out in kitesurfing.

    Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of spending a fair bit of time with this "crazy man" whilst on our annual group trips to Hatteras but also on a few trips to work on proto type kites and promo trips to Greece & France. This guy works harder than anyone I have ever known...long long days of emails/video/photo editing/generally everything that goes with running a successful business and then he is always motivated to kite mostly testing the latest proto kites to further improve the already hard to beat range of kites on offer.

    Back in May I had the chance to try the new Screamer & Renegade 5G kites firstly in France with Dimitri and Jeroen (graphic designer) and then in Hatteras ..all sizes of both. I was worried beforehand how these new 5G kites would turn out as we loved the 4G kites so much.

    Fortunately we did not need to worry, Epic have taken an already amazing kite range and injected even more performance..especially notable in the new Renegades, they now have a bit of the DNA from the Screamers. Just enough extra zest to make it truly awesome for both bigger boosting/better looping but still great in the waves. It still retains their ease of use though for beginner/intermediates...super important to us as we use them in our busy school but we also sell a lot to people just starting out in this amazing sport we all love so much.

    The new 5G kites have been given a fresh new "family" look by the extremely talented Jeroen. The Epic kites are now all easier to identify with the new "E" proudly emblazoned on each model.

    The new 5G Screamer in Poison design
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    The new 5G Renegade
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    As I'm writing this we are waiting on the first drop of kites to arrive, hopefully in time for our annual Portugal trip in a weeks time. It's amazing how a new kite makes you super keen again to get in for a session.

    Here's a video we did whilst in Hatteras of the 5G Renegade

    Epic Renegade 5G - Tested from Blast Kiteboarding on Vimeo.

    and the 5G Screamer

    Epic Screamer 5G - Intro from Blast Kiteboarding on Vimeo.

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