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Sunday, 23 December 2012

2012 .............What A Year!

Thought I'd do a review of the year as it's fast aproaching 2013

Where do I start, it's been such an amazing year packed with so many good times but I guess I'll just start at the begining.

We kicked off the year with a snowboard trip to Italy with a great group all keen snowboarders, we had a gerat few days and made the most of what off piste powder we could find (I wrote off my beloved LibTech Snowboard after hitting some rocks)
Even the snowboarding trips are Epic!
Just one of the many vids from one of our snowboarding trips.

We then had another snowboard Trip to vivit my eldest daughter in les Arcs as she was working the season there with Hucksters whom we have been running trips with for about 10years plus.

February saw the first of our link ups with the SKA (Student Kiting Association) for the annual Wave Jam in Porthcawl, unfortunately  there was very little wind but that never stops this lot from having an memorable weekend!

Pre-Season session with the RNLI
Pre-Kite season we ran a session with the RNLI who were all super enthusiastic to find out more about kitesurfing and in particular the equipment we use...this would prove important for the coming season when they had numerous kite related call outs.

RNLI Porthcawl Station
We ran our usual Frozen Jam event but this year because of so much other stuff it was held in late March but it was still pretty good to be doing it in the warm sunshine we had on Coney Beach for that weekend.

2012 was the year of the Video for us here at Blast...we did so many and by April I was begining to get the hang of it all a bit better. We have now done approx 70 Vids in the past year alone....I love it!

May saw our first Kite Trip...out to Hatteras USA on the Outer Banks and where Epic Kites are based...the conditions were as always EPIC
Hatteras Slicks...OBX
Just some of the kite loaned to us from Epic Kites!
A vid from the Hatteras Trip

Dimitri at Epic lent us a total of eleven kites plus many boards and harness's etc and showed us many of the best spots to kite in this amazing location, doing some amazing downwinders in both the slicks and on the ocean.
Once back home we were all in full "teaching" mode with a full diary of students booked in....this past year we have had so many amazing students who have gone on to become fully fledged totally addicted kitesurfers!

Portugal - Kite Looping
Portugal - Small perfect surf
Our next Blast Kiteboarding Trip was to our regular spot in Portugal...our 5th time there now and it never dissapoints (although the second week was a bit lacking in wind this time)

We did have plenty of  amazing sessions though...both flat water and waves. The accomodation was once again fanatstic and also as usual so were those that came on the trip.....

check the video here for more insight.

Portugal Trip 2012

Live on Breakfast TV
In August we had a call from the BBC wanting to do a feature on kitesurfing live on Breakfast TV, so a day or so later at 6.30am there were around 10 kiters already all set up and ready to rip down on Coney Beach, Porthcawl. The BBC interviewed both Sarah and myself and the programme went out live both nationally here in the UK but also world wide too.
Sarah's interview Live on BBC BREAKFAST

My Stag w/end in West Wales - I like diving!
September saw Sarah and my wedding, the day simply could not have been better, great freinds, family even the weather was great.
We had to wait only a day or two and then we set off for our honeymoon in Brazil.
Two weeks of solid 7m weather and just a pair of shorts and rash vests to keep the sun off!
Whilst in Brazil we met up with a few good freinds from home but also met loads of cool new friends along the way.
It was my third trip to Brazil and it NEVER dissapoints.
Brazil Video

Dark Slide
Sarah ripping in Brazil
In Brazil we mixed up our sessions with plenty of downwinders in the surf and flat water freestyle sessions also as we both love each. I managed to get my high kite loops down plus dark slides so was stoked and Sarah was ripping on her surfboard in the nice warm waves on some epic downwinders.

As soon as we arrived home we drove down to Devon for the British Wavemasters Championships in Westwood HO, it was very much a last minute descision but as it turned out it truly was the best choice.
Sarah hurt her knee on her first session which set her back but she kept on kiting righ through to the end coming 2nd in the Ladies Open.

The surf was called the biggest swell the UK had had for over two years, it was fantastic conditions with a cross off wind from the left..both of our least favoured. I managed to work my way all the way to the final meeting good mate and huge rival Trevor but this was to be my moment and after a few years trying I eventually came 1st and became Senior Bristish Champion.
Interview on the NBC Weather Channel

Dimitri and I enjoying Hurricane Sandy
The hurricane caused huge damege to the east coast of the USA.  the worst ever!
Unfortunately we coouldn't hang around for the prize giving as I was off again this time back to Hatteras USA for the Epic Dealers week. This turned into two weeks couteous of Hurricane Sandy!

However it was an amazing few weeks taking advantage of the huge swell and mental winds we had at times....I even got interviewd following a 17mile downwinder in huge surf...on the Weather Channel.
Photo : ExPix
The SKA Nationals in Westwood Ho
Because I was held up with Sandy in the USA Sarah took over running the SKA Beginners weekend at the begining of November.

Another top weekend with the SKA In November we headed back to Westwood Ho for yet another SKA event, this time the SKA National were they lucky.

Saturday arrived...120 students and zero wind however out of no where the wind picked up to around 20knots.

A brilliant day of kiting followed and an even better Saturday night.

Sadly since then things have gone a little off track, Sarah's little mishap at the British Wavemasters resulted in her requiring a new ACL so off to hospital she went a week later and is now on crutches.

I then had a few weeks in our "off" season in some sweet early winter conditions...and generally loving being able to kite all our local spots as and when they fired.

Unfortunately it was my turn for a mishap and crashed a high kiteloop landing and ruptured my ankle ligaments and snapped my fibula. I

t looked like I was going to need an operation also but hopefully now this is not now we are both on crutches hobbling around for Christmas BUT it is still the best year we have ever had here at Blast. I plan to be back on the water by late January with Sarah due back by April.

Since then we have been getting down the beach still as much as we can taking photo's of the regulars and offering tips.  We have also been working away on our website and all the plans to make 2013 as great a year as '12 was, a hard task hey!
See previous blog's below!

As well as all the great students and lessons we have had all year we have also grown the sales side of Blast with many of our products now selling across much of Europe not just nationally. Obviously we sell a lot of Epic and Blankforce but we have seen a huge increase in sales of Mystic wetsuits/harness's and accessories. Another hugely successfull product has been the Dynabar sliding spreader bar...anyone who rides waves while kiting should get one!
We have plenty more items in the pipeline for 2013 but we will continue to work closely with the brands we have already built a strong bond with so far.

So finally...thankyou all so much for helping make this one amazing year.

Cheers everyone!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Photo time...........

Red Screamer
Rest Bay, Porthcawl
Ads, a student we taught this year!
Sav, leaving a little smoke trail......
So I broke my leg a week ago so and am off the water for a little while, however in between the ususal sorting of orders etc here at Blast HQ in Porthcawl we have managed to get to the beach each time the wind has been up with my trusty camera.
Gareth another of this years students now ripping!

It's getting pretty cold here now and been very wet the past few weeks so I'm not missing it quite so bad.

I've always loved taking photo's and dare I say it I almost enjoy it as much as actually kiting/surfing/mtb'ing myself...but not quite!
Rest Bay, Porthcawl

Llangennith, Gower
Anyway, being forced off the water has allowed me to spend a little more time on the beach capturing the moment for the other uber keen guys here rather than the ususal POV style GoPro shots I've been quite obsessed with over the past 12 months since we bought one.

Lighting has been pretty poor with many dark grey days and very little sunshine but in some ways that's cool as it shows the kitesurfing for exactly what it is in the depths of winter...hardcore!
The crowds have long gone and only the few hardy souls are left with empty windy have to love it!

Camera is a Canon 560D with Canon EF 100-400

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

It's been long time coming!

Bad advert for Blast or Kitesurfing?

I really don't think so, we have been pushing ourselves kitesurfing for the past 12 years plus (almost 20 years between the two of us) This is the first time either of us have really hurt ourselves, and we'd both do the same again tomorrow. Both our injuries were from KITELOOPS.....they are punishing, and quite a few of the top pro's have injuries stemming from kiteloops, but they are very very addictive and the ultimate "high" that kitesurfing can provide!

Kitesurfing is still a pretty safe sport if basic guidelines are followed and indeed we have seen way more injuies over the years in sports like MTB, Skiing/Snowboarding/Wakeboarding etc etc Kitesurfing is safer now than it ever was, the kites have huge depower and a much bigger wind range, instruction is also very professional these days.

If you want adrenaline, you want excitement, you want to enjoy the total buzz of flying over the water then get in touch with us now! is very addictive!

As the titles says, it's been a long time coming!!

I like to think I have not held back from anything that I have done in life especially in the sports I love so much and anyone who loves their sport as much as we do knows the risks we also take every day.

Sports like kitesurfing are called "extreme" for a reason and we all put ourselves at risk every time we rig up our kites but this is part of the reason why we are addicted to them and the adrealine they provide us.

After a lifetime of enjoying the thrills of many adrenaline sports and also competing at a high level in many of them I have seen so many injuries over the years (some pretty serious) and you always day it may be you.

Kiteloop Brazil
Over these many years I have enjoyed throwing myself of mountains both on snowboards (qualified instructor) mountain bikes (everyone should ride downhill in Morzine at least once in their lives) surfing all over the world at many of the best spots known and ofcourse kitesurfing since the begining of the sport here in the UK.

To be honest I've had so many good sessions and good times over the past two months or so...after our amazing wedding we hit N.East Brazil for two weeks of solid 7m days, some on the lagoons and some on the surfboards doing down-winders. Then we arrived home just in time to compete in the BKSA British Wavemasters where I won the UK Seniors title and Sarah scored 2nd in the ladies, I then immediately jetted off to the Hatteras USA to visit Epic Kites for their dealer week...this turned into two amazing weeks courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. Since returning home Sarah had her knee checked out as she'd hurt it bad in the comp and unfortunately it turned out she needed surgery to replace her ACL...which a week later she had done and is now on crutches and off work for a few months at least.

Hurricane Sandy USA
Over the last week or two I've scored a few more awesome days including a fantastic day down West Wales with mates..Andy9lives, Stubsy and Ian. The surf that day was pretty all time, plus we had a fantastic day at llangennith last Friday with Gareth and Ads, I was totally lit on my all was good in the world!

Sunday was shaping up to be a particularly nice day, 20 knots plus and cross shore winds with sunshine too. We arrived at Aberavon beach and met up with all our usual regulars...all buzzing for a great session to come. W/ends have been pretty poor for the past few months and at last the w/end guys could fill their socks.

Fresh West WALES
BUT like I said in the begining, it's been a long time coming, I knew I'd gotten away with so much (other than the usual sprains etc) So on Sunday I rigged the 9m Screamer for a change and took my Blankforce Advisory in for a boosting session as there was no surf at all and all my recent sessions had been on a surfboard and I do like to mix it up a little.
Waiting for the ambulance

I normally do a few minutes kind of warming up and sussing out the wind/conditions but this time I did a high kiteloop on my first run, then another and then on my third one I landed really fast and super powered, as I was trying to run it out I caught an edge, the board flipped over and the force of this ruptured my ligamnets in the ankle and snapped my fibluar.
Oh sh*t!

I now know why this kite is called an EPIC "SCREAMER"

The guys on the beach were all fantastic, calling an ambulance immediately, keeping me warm, and keeping the banter flowing too ( and keeping my mind from drifting into negative thoughts)

I was taken too the hospital and after X-Rays I was plastered from my toes to thigh and kept in overnight and told I'd have an operation on Tuesday. However after some more X-Rays they replastered my leg just below the knee and was able to leave late last night.
When I have the plaster removed hopefully all will be good if not then I will have to have the operation, so fingers crossed!

Whatever the outcome, I have got off extremely lightly both now and over all the years I have pushed myself in these such addictive sports.

If kitesurfing ever became totally risk free I am pretty sure I'd find some other "fix" but for now I can't wait to get back out there with my life to the full!

So after a lifetime of reckless abuse, time has eventually caught up with me, I've never had stiches, never broken a bone (lots of cracked ribs and cracked pelvis though) never been in hospital etc etc I still consider myself extremely lucky and intend to carry on once ready and fit to do so.

The Physio was an old student of Blast Kiteboarding, cheers for all the help Lucas
I'm now back home with my beautifull new wife and we're both wobbling around on crutches, both unable to drive and both itching to get back on the water! We were meant to be flying off to Barcelona today to meet up with Blankforce Boards  and also enjoy a few relaxing days sitting in cafes watching the world wizz past, something we never get to do as we are usually way to busy to do "nothing".

In the mean time it's business as usual at the Blast HQ and we are still really busy with orders especially with Christmas fast approaching, we are also both busy on the website and everything else we don't usually have time to do in the busy teaching season. I will also be down the beach evey opportunity to take photo's of the guys and offer advice for tricks (maybe not kiteloops though)

Also we have a truck load of demo gear available to try, obviously kites from Epic/Mutiny/Genetrix but also boards from Blankforce/Epic/Juice/Litewave and also some Dynabar's etc

so...ride hard but ride safe!
Sarah took this shot of my first run