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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Brazil - One Big Brazilian Adventure

The Blast Crew - Downwinder to Taiba
We have been home almost a fortnight now from what is arguably our best trip so far!
Brazil is probably the ultimate kitesurf destination because of it's consistant warm need for wetsuits here!
This year we took a group of twelve like minded souls on a journey from the capital of Brazilian Kitesurfing....Cumbucu up the coast to Jericocoara via a stop off at Paracaru.
This enabled all to get their fix, be it waves, flat water or downwinders (often also with both)

The kiting at Cumbucu is a great first into to the kiting in general on offer in Brazil. There are two main lagoons offering flater water for the freestyle guys, they are also an awesome place to watch the pro's practicing the latest tricks.

The quieter of the two is Tabooba, a short bus trip can still get busy so it's best to hit it early. You can downwind from here back to Cumbucu along the coast, be warned though it can get heavy pounding surf in front of the lagoon when the surf is up. It's then approx 7km back downwind in usually very little swell, or carry on for another 7-8km to Cauipi Lagoon. This downwinder can get much heavier swell....never that big - but it can be extremely heavy for it's size.

Twelve kiters produce a lot of kit......
After a few days getting into the Brazilian vibe we headed up the coast with just a one day stop at of my favourite spots. Here you have a lagoon at low tide with waves on the reef out the back.
 Twelve kitesurfers brings a hell of a lot of gear.....37 Kites/18Boards to be precise!
Next stop was Jeri another few hours drive up the coast, the further north you travel the windier it generally gets, so we were all getting excited to use our smallest kites.
Jeri also has no roads, just sand, a lot of sand..which tested the hire cars to the maximum!
Off road-ing Jeri stylee
 We hired a local driver for each of the cars we had, this was an experience in itself!
Pete, with the hire cars waiting on the waters edge....they also followed us on downwinders in case we needed them.
 The drivers!
Whilst in Jeri we did a mix of downwinders and flat water spots depending on your preference. The surf he is also smaller so it was great place for the less experienced to try there first downwinder, a new skill that's not as easy as it first sounds!

Next stop was Paracaru again, this time for a few days.
This spot was a favourite amongst many, not hard to see why with a cafe and palm tree tree beach umbrellas at the waters edge! Winds here were more like 9-12m with a nice small wave on the reef.
Then it was back down to Cumbucu for the final few days. Whilst in Cumbucu we met up with some of our long time friends who live there, one of which, Neil has his own Buggy which we he took us on plenty of excursions looking for surf.
The view from the restaurant
On the last day we also organised some buggy's for the whole group for a big downwinder to Taiba where we stopped for lunch in a beautiful restaurant set in lush trees on the seas edge. Poss the best day of the whole trip for many.
One of the buggy's
Sadly it was time to say goodbye to Brazil for another year, we had quickly got used to 30 degrees air temp with the water temp not far off the same! Whilst we were away we had heard the UK had slipped into a spell of very cold weather and hear we were basking in the warm winds each day oblivious to it.

We would just like to say a huge big thanks to all that came on the trip....

Next years will I'm sure be even better with helpful feedback from the guys regarding locations etc. I'd also like to thank Sarah@Blast for doing so much of the hard work a trip like this needs....(for no profit to us)
She's a diamond!
Thanks guys!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Lee "Pasty" Wave Clinic

Wow, what a cracking weekend we have just had.

Lee Harvey is current British Wavemasters Open Champion and a national "surf coach" he's also one of the most enthusiastic kiters I have ever's infectious too!

Whilst up in Tiree in September at the British Camps (see blog below) we discussed with Lee the possibility of running a coaching clinic geared solely to wave riding here in S.Wales. This was partly because we have seen more and more buying directionals over the past few years but these same people not quite mastering it and often giving up on it!

So a date was pencilled in the diary and we firmly crossed our fingers, a few weeks earlier the local club (SWWKSC) ran a Freestyle Clinic with Lewis Crathern...that day went amazingly well with ideal conditions and got some awesome feedback from all who attended it.

The pressure was on!
It's difficult enough to plan any type of Kitesurf event in the UK let alone get ideal winds and swell.

The forecast was for a pretty wild Saturday but the decision was made to go ahead with the Clinic especially as there is plenty of theory to go through anyway.

Saturday morning we all met at Malc's cafe at Rest Bay in Porthcawl, Lee went through the very basics of wave riding/placement of the kite etc with diagrams on a wipe board to help get this across.

We then kitted up and got down on the beach, Lee did a few demo runs close in to the beach and then it was session one for the group. Unfortunately this was just as the winds decided to go ballistic!!

The winds went on to build and build so we left for the shelter of the Waterfront Pub on Porthcawl's Esplanade. Here Lee went through every detail you could imagine regarding techniques,equipment,safety,rips, tides, and a whole lot more.

The harbour wall, Porthcawl
By now the winds were hitting 75mph outside and I popped out and grabbed a few shots of the storm in full swing!
63mph peaking at 75mph

Fed and watered the students finished the day full of the theory and amped for there first chance to put it all into practice!
Early doors on Sunday Lee and Andy(9lives) hit the local point break at around 7.30am here in Porthcawl as the tides/conditions were good and we could still get down to Aberavon to meet the students for Day 2. Unfortunately I wasn't able to surf as I had torn my calf muscle only a few days earlier and am presently resting it and hoping it will be healed in time for our Brazil trip in just two weeks time.
The Point was firing!
Pasty, killing it!
7.30am on a Sunday, early bird and all that!
We then rushed down to Aberavon to meet the students and found pretty impressive conditions for Aber..cross on and a decent 3-4feet swell, the winds were around the 6-7m so pretty ideal really!

Alun Jenkins, getting an early one in!
Alun Jenkins getting an early one in.

Lee got right on it and went through duck tacks and gybes and did a few demo runs and then got everyone to attempt these.
Lee running through gybing on land.

"Pasty" doing another demo for the group.

Ian Sav with his new Catalysts, I very much doubt he expected to be using the 6m as his first kite in his new quiver.

We even had a fair amount of sunshine too!
Eventually we wrapped up and headed for the local pub and had a well earned drink and a de-brief.
I would just like to thank Lee for a truly inspiring weekend and can't wait to do another clinic next year!!

Some feedback we have had since the clinic
(only yesterday)

A fantastic weekend.
I've been kitesurfing for 8 years.
And waveriding for I reckon 6 years.
The point is Lee has been doing it for twice as long and has been pushing the boundaries of waveriding in the UK since the start.
To listen to Lee during the hurricane was pure gold dust. I learnt more in that 3 hours than in 3 years of getting yanked around at Llangennith.
Got some bad old habits that require some attention, but I know what to work on now.
Good to here that Lee will return and I'll look forward to that.
Book early to avoid disappointment. Think it might be oversubscribed.
Thanks to Lee, Marc and Sarah. Very Happy 
Awesome weekend with a great bunch. I've only been using a surf board for a few weeks and have learned so much. Theory was explained in simple terms and demonstrated by Lee so well, he made everything look so simple, if only it was. I realise now that using a surf board strapless or with, is something that will take time and perseverance so if you see me in the water rather than on it you know what I'm up to. I would definitely do another clinic with Lee and recommend it to anyone looking to improve their riding.. Also thanks to Blast for setting it up and for the beach commentary whilst Lee was doing his thing in the waves..
Lee was great, he took us from the position of an absolute beginner at wave riding (me) through to the technical aspects of board shape and even fin selection - a side of wave riding I didn't even know existed!
So sorry I couldn't attend both days, but just from yesterday I found lots of knowledge and inspiration to work on.
Thanks To Blast for organising a great event.
I have to agree with everyone else!!! Great weekend, despite getting blown off the beach on Sat!
Learnt loads, in good company!
Thanks to all involved.

If you missed this one, book early for the next one, whatever your level, I'm sure everyone found the weekend very beneficial, well worth it!!

Monday, 23 September 2013

The British Wavemasters 2013 - Isle of Tiree

What an event!

We have just arrived home from an epic trip up to the Isle of Tiree in the inner hebrides.
As long as we can remember we have intended to head to Tiree...just to see what all the fuss is about!
It did not disappoint!

I won the Senior Title last year so was keen to retain the title and Sarah was keen to improve on her second place, sadly it didn't work out for Sarah this time.

Before we left home the weather gurus were calling huge surf and big winds..the tail end of the seasons first Hurricane spinning across the Atlantic....Hurricane Humberto was going to deliver!

Initially we were worried that the ferry would not run due to the winds hitting in excess of 40mph, the previous days ferry was turned around as it tried to approach Tiree after four hours of sailing and only a mile or so away! However Monday morning arrived and we set sail from Oban with a few other competitors who had also committed to this mammoth trip.

We arrived on the Isle and after driving around the Island several times getting lost...the roads all look the same, we found our cottage and quickly set off for Balephuil Bay on the west coast.
It was flipping huge...think big buildings and on top of that the winds were as cross off and gusty as I've been in, probably between 5-35mph. There were times during the comp I wasn't sure what the hell size kite up...could have been 5m or 11m!
In the end I stuck with my new 2014 Epic Renegade 6.5m for all but one heat where I could barely hang onto a 9m

Sean Facey heading out!

Lee "pasty" Harvey was killing it in these
heavy conditions making it look so easy wasn't!

The next day was the first day of comp and we greeted with a smaller but still nice little wave and some sunshine too (between the showers)
Ian Edmondson from Expix was up on Tiree following the forecast for week and got some pretty cool photo's

 Our quiver of 4G Epic Renegades 5/6.5/9m

The atmosphere amongst the competitors was awesome, such a good chilled vibe. In all classes, Open, Seniors and Ladies there were so many capable of taking the title.
Early stand outs were Jon Ellman Brown totally ripping as always and winning the Highest scoring wave in the process. Jordon Scott also deserves a big shout, he missed the first day because of cancelled ferries etc He slowly built up during the next two rounds and eventually won the third round, beating George Noble (last years winner) and his mentor, he even beat Jon and the overall winner Lee....all this riding switch 'cos he prefers this to back side! Oh and I almost forgot, he's been kiting 18 months, yeh a whole 18 months! Someone to put your money on for a future title I reckon!
The comp ran very smoothly especially considering the extremely harsh conditions at times, amazing place, awesome conditions and a super group of people made for a truly fantastic event. 

I'd like to personally thank all those involved in making this such a great comp...The British Kitesports...Richard Gowers and his team Craig Smith, Robin Snuggs, Sukie Huntley Robertson local girl Helen Thompson

So the results for the week of comp were as follows:

Open - Lee "Pasty" Harvey (Cornwall)
Seniors - Marc "Blast" Rowley (Wales)
Ladies - Helen Thompson (Scotland)

More images here:

Monday, 2 September 2013

Quick update.........

Blimey it's been a while since we did our last blogg!

So much to report....obviously it's been an amazing hot sunny summer but on the down side to this has been the distinct lack of wind here in S.Wales (and much of the UK)

Still there has been loads happening here in the world of Blast.

The Blast Bus is now pretty much complete and only a few minor things waiting to be done including a diesel heater for the winter months.
 Pretty easy to see where we got the graphics from hey!

We ran our first full group trip to Hatteras in Outer Banks USA back in May
Ten of us flew out to Epic Kites home for a full fourteen days of wind, it could not have gone better tbh
The Hatteras Video!

It wasn't long after returning from Hatteras that we were once again flying off on a group trip, this time to our regular spot in Portugal.
Once again we scored 14 out of 14 days of wind especially the second week with consistant winds in the 30's plus!

A video of Sarah & I in Portugal

As well as all these trips we have managed to get quite a few lessons in when it has blowed. We also did a trip to North Wales for an awesome weekend lit on 5-7m kites.
When it hasn't been blowing we have managed a few cable sessions wakeboarding, great alternative for no wind days, and of course a few great sessions on the SUP's.

We have just returned from the National Watersports Festival in Hayling Island where there was very little wind but a great show of kite brands as well as all the usual windsurf ones.
We even managed to get a light wind session on the V3 Infinity...a testament to how well this kite works in light winds. For a good while it was the only kite flying upwind in the extreme low winds.

I'm pretty damn sure we have missed loads more but thats enough for now and we will update with more info when we remember what else we have done!