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Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:26

From the beginning days of Kiteboarding when the kites had two lines and the only way to slow down was edge really hard, hold on till it was at the edge of the wind window and that failing LET GO!. Don Montague the godfather of kiting had been chatting with Bruno Legaignoux and Cory Rosselier had taken the skis to Hawaai from The Gorge in Oregon and within a very brief space in time the world wanted to kitesurf.

From riding these kites that would kill you to the introduction of the “chicken loop ” with a depower system and the 5th line, kites have evolved dramatically with almost 100% depower and super easy re launch. Now we have a possible glimps into the future and though not entirely elemental sure looks like fun.

 

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The beginning after the story has started.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 17:20

The coolest thing about kitesurfing with all the variables you have is choice!

Choosing to ride directional boards or twintips. Strapped twintips or bindings, Strapped directional or strapless, waist harness or seat harness, Wetsuit or boardies, C kite or bow kite. The list is endless. Windsurfers kitesurfers surfers and stand up paddleboarders alike have equipment that they use according to the discipline they follow.The thing they all have in common is the Ocean.

There is something about watching a film though that epitomizes the thing you love and leaves you walking away proud to be a part of the tribe.

This is one of those movies.

Since the the beginning this has been an awesome sport and after the launch of the Film “Upwind” many years ago there has been too many changes and additions to the game of kitesurfing for it to be ignored.

After watching the trailer alone its put it there that the next windy day I need to go and use the skill I spent so many years honing.

Enjoy the trailer and look forward to the full release soon.

 

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Mission: Pagudpud, The Philippines

Friday, 23 March 2012 17:25

Before we get down and dirty with our latest adventure tale, I would like to apologise for the mammoth delay since our last update. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say that Facebook has been keeping us busy as our main marketing tool, but our latest trip to the undiscovered territory of Pagudpud, The Philippines was so good that we felt it deserved its own blog re-entry! Kiteworld Magazine/Oceansource team rider Brad Symington tells us why…

“When the go ahead came that I was getting on a bird to The Philippines I must say it filled me with excitement of adventure as well as a little niggle of concern as this was my first trip to Asia. Being a rookie at seeing the far side of the planet it was with an open mind that I boarded the flight and got ready to relax for quite a few hours. The time zone I was landing in has 22.5% of the world’s population making it the most populous time zone on the planet. Getting out of the airport into the shuttle for the short trip to terminal 3 you would think that they are all based in Manila.  ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ is the most densely populated city in the world as the almost 2 million inhabitants do so in an area less than 40 sq km.

The most amazing driving I have ever seen, but noticeably on my entire stay in The Philippines I saw very few cars with signs of bumper bashing. Arriving in the most Northern province of Ilocos Norte takes you far away from all this and also away from the usual beaten track down south. This is evident right from leaving the terminal and getting the shuttle, tuk-tuk or taxi from Laoag to Pagudpud. The place is clean and the jungle surrounds start  taking over when coming into Pagadpud itself. The rice paddys that have been seen on the way now really become prominent but the mountains with ever present clouds now add even more texture to the landscape.

When disembarking from the plane the air was noticeably humid but moving, with palm trees continuously bending backwards all the way to the resort to welcome you. A super warm place with super good wind is something I live for and as Mon the resort owner assured me with a confident smile the wind is good and strong. The last section is a dirt road that is continuously wet but in good condition giving me a feeling that this was not going to be a place where McDonalds would be freely available, and thank god I was right. The buildings of traditional style huts as accommodation look welcoming and even two larger units with ensuits for this remote area are very impressive.

Right through the middle of the bungalows you walk out onto the coral sand beach where the lagoon stretches out 100m and is met by a beautiful curling wave that broke from 1.5 – 6m during the majority of my stay – I had ARRIVED! The wind was blowing North East which meant side on from the right at 18-25 knots. Guests were sitting on the verandas of their bungalows very mellowly chatting and looking out over the water.

To my surprise there was hardly anyone one out! The boys were having a break and waiting for the tide to come in a bit. This was a good chance to catch up with them and find out what they thought of their stay as they were leaving the next day. Coming from Thailand, New Zealand, Russia, Germany and Poland they all had come for the same reason – the wave, wind, warm water and remoteness of the place.

The place had delivered for them so far and they were very impressed. Twenty minutes later had us all out on the water and still it did not get crowded. With the entire resort riding there were only 7 of us out and still plenty room to ride. Fabrice Beaux, the centre manager and pro rider for Neil Pryde and RRD, has actually been coming here 5 years earlier and returning every year since and has decided that this place is so good that he has now based himself here for the season which runs mainly from November to April. He has a wealth of knowledge and is exceptionally good at the inevitable rescue that happens periodically with the various levels of rider that Kingfisher can accommodate.

After two days of riding Kingfisher an excursion was on the cards and this was done by Fabrice himself who has discovered and ridden all these spots. With the resort shuttle packed with gear we headed west along the coast and once over the mountains the main agricultural back bone became evident with the expansive rice fields being tended by the locals. 5 Bags of rice gives them one of their own and the Filipino worker is a proud and hard working one.

Along the route Fabrice and our driver Tin Tin became a wealth of knowledge about the area and culture unique to the province. Part of the reason that the roads are in good order and the place is litter free with good amenities such as the Hospital and clinic is that the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos was from the area.

Today however we were reaping the rewards that came and the first step was Bangui above the windfarm. The spot could easily be driven past without a second glance and even if you did get out and try there would be nothing special about it. Fabrice showed me upwind how the wave runs at a gentle slope and breaks into the sandy bottom. Because of this the water is a light brown along the shore but nevertheless the wave is good quality and easy to connect three or four together for a ride of over 1 km long. The background has the other side of the large bay with palm-lined beaches and to the left there is the 20 strong windfarm making it great for photos.

 

Session two was at the lighthouse following a brief lunch stop at the local bakery in Bangui village and the sight that greated me was one that is simply riders heaven. I say rider as kiter, windsurfer and surfer alike would be loving the fact that they had rocked up to the beach with all the toys in the back. This is a right-hand point break that peels in sections and then reforms continuously in the little bay.

The water is crystal clear and royal blue against the white of the slowly turning wave. It looked like volcanic rock that had formed this little inlet and rust had set in with pitted rock headland jutting out to allow the wave to wrap around it. A deep channel on the left and cleaner wind made the launch relatively ok or the tiger line straight of the beach between the ‘Banka’ outrigger fishing boats with the gusty winds another option. Fabrice joined me on this session and kiter and windsurfer had some fun tearing it up in the waves.

It must be said that the wind was strong as I was on my 7 and well gusty would be an understatement. Definitly a spot for very experienced rider this one and an eye opener after the easy beach break that we had just come from. Stop three for the day was by far the most surreal location I have ever kited in. This was back up to the wind farm but this time right underneath the turbines.

 

These graceful giants have a base wider than the mini bus that we were traveling in and the blades travel at 60 kph making a tangle with them while kiting something to avoid. But fortunately the fresh water riding lagoon situated right next to the sea put ou safely away from that. The huge sand dune in front keeping you safe and allowing for an easy walk back if the wind did decide to slow down, which my entire stay it only got marginally less than 20knots. Shooting here is a dream as the sun sets in front of you as you ride and the little dune makes the perfect spot for lining up the camera.

A late drive back to Kingfisher with some cold Red Horses (local lager) along the way as the sun dipped and the greens became darker and the day was quite simply exhausted. I say the day, as everything that could be done from beach break to flat freshwater freestyle and even reef break, had been done and this all within two hours from the awesome right hander of Kingfisher. Evening dinner of grilled pork, Papaya and vinegar with Filipino spices and local rice during a de-brief of the day and a few more Red Horses  and sleep has never come so easily!

 

  

The last day produced some classic conditions that have made this a place that Fabrice and Mon had kept secret for over 5 years. One to two metre waves with a perfectly steady side shore 20knots and a good 0.7m tide. All of 7 kites out again and totally chilled in the line up. Switchblade 8m kindly pumped (as every session was my whole trip) by Emmanual, one of the beach guides, and I was on it for flatwater freestyling  mixed in with some classic wave riding for almost 4 hours. The seaweed bottom and odd bit is dead coral reef posing no issues with anyone while I was there and the friendliness of the people coupled with the beauty of the surroundings, making me reluctant to come in and put the kite down for the last time.”

 

Special thanks to Mon, Fabrice, Pepe, Nenette, Cabrinha Kites and everyone at Kingfisher Resort for looking after us – we WILL be back!!

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Palekastro, Crete

Friday, 12 August 2011 18:44

Palekastro, Crete

Believe me when I say that I didn’t think places like this still existed. Landscape shaped over thousands of years rich with history dating back to Minoan times and local hospitality that seems undeterred by what’s going on elsewhere in the world.

A 3-hour drive will take you through some of Iraklion’s outskirts before sending you into arguably one of the most spectacular journeys I’ve ever experienced. As the road winds up into the mountains you notice the landscape turning greener and more rugged. Towns become villages some perched precariously on hill tops offering sublime photo opportunities and worthy places for a quick pit-stop. As the road snakes through the vast mountain range you begin to wonder what lays at the end that makes this drive so worthy to windsurfers, ramblers and eco-tourists year-in-year-out.

As you drop out of the mountains you are once again greeted by the infamous Azure colours of the Mediterranean and it is here that you literally start smelling your holiday. A short drive further and countryside suddenly becomes vastly populated with olive trees, as far as the eye can see. This is the Itanos region covering 197 square kilometres with 2,500 inhabitants and diverse selection of endemic plants, wild gorges biodiverse in nature, archeological treasures and vast sandy beaches among the loveliest in Greece.

 

BUT, what we’re really looking for is the wind and that it has in abundance. The Meltemi winds blow through this region during the summer months with impressive reliability. Palekastro village and its local beach Koeremenos boasts some of the most reliable winds in the Mediterranean with winds blowing daily between F5-7.

 

At the heart of this operation lies Freak Windsurf Station run by Austrian windsurf fanatic Hannes Unterweger. Now in its 8th year of operation and firmly on the EFPT tour, the centre houses approximately 80 boards and 150 sails from JP and NP. The equipment is replenished each year ensuring you’re on the latest kit. This is the only centre in the area so even during peak summer months, it rarely feels crowded on the water. With winds blowing cross-shore from left to right its straight out to see into bump and jump conditions with flatter water on the inside ideal for freestyle and perfecting carve gybes. But what’s particularly attractive about this setup is the lack of development. Most of the land is occupied by olive groves and indigenous trees ensuring adequate provision of shade for non-partaking partners and children alike. There is a local taverna within 5 minutes walk that serves up the usual Greek delights including catch of the day. For regular web users, this taverna also offers complimentary WIFI.

 

And as you head back to your villa or apartment at the end of another relaxing day you may opt to pop into Palekastro village for a cold drink and early dinner. This delightful village has a large church as its centre piece and a square surrounded by quaint tavernas. Here you dine not with thousands of tourists but a blend of intrepid travellers and locals, some of the nicest you will ever meet.

 

But your holiday shouldn’t stop here.  A short drive north and you will encounter a rare palm forest somewhat freakish in nature. This forest meanders down a small valley onto a beach very much giving it a tropical feel and the chosen location for a recent Bounty advert. Nearby you will find the imposing Toplou Monastery, one of the largest and most important monasteries in Crete dating back to the 15th century.

Head south of Palekastro towards Zakros and you once again find yourself driving through the foothills of another spectacular mountain range with more quaint villages such as Lagada, Chochlakies and Azokeramos gracing its path. At the end of this lovely route you are awarded with Kato Zakros, one of the most enchanting spots in Crete. The peaceful landscape, the vast blue sea, the “Gorge of the Dead” running down to the seaside palace of King Minos, flood the mind and senses, taking you back to a past where everything is beautiful, untouched, unique. This is Palekastro, Crete.

 

 

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