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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!

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