The action kicked off today at the Rhosneigr Park Jam in North Wales this morning with the competitors having a practice session on some of the new features. The new North Kiteboarding slider was in the water for them to ride, along with the new Liquid Force and Funsport kicker. As part of the Kite Park League, a new global kite park world tour that kicked off this year, the event has drawn competitors from around the world.
I’ll be honest, I was hoping to head to the beach with a pre-written story about how “Jonny Foreigner” didn’t like the cold weather. Certainly, as I walked down to the event site, the wind was howling, and the rain was pouring. However, as I arrived, I found the UK crew hiding in their vans drinking tea, while Sensi Graves, Ewan Jaspan and Karolina Winkowska were raring to go.
With gusty winds and grey skies the conditions were classic for the UK and it was great to see the pro’s taking it on. Before a UK rider had donned their suit, we had an Aussie, an American, a Frenchman and a Pole all ripping on the water! Ewan Jaspan was looking tidy, and the girls were getting the new kicker dialled while Ben Todd, event organiser, got the North slider launched.
Ben Todd and Tom Court have been instrumental in getting this event to the UK, Tom behind the scenes with the Kite Park League and Ben working all hours to build the most impressive set of kite features that have ever been seen in the UK. Hats off to those guys for making this happen.
As the rain eased off, more riders hit the water and pretty soon the session was in full flow. James Boulding came out of the blocks meaning business, and Sam Light quickly followed suit. The set up in Rhosneigr was perfect for the riders even though the wind was challenging, the water was flat, and the weather, as they say, was “brightening up”.
Pretty soon a crowd had gathered to watch some of the world’s best wakestyle riders make kitesurfing look easy and Tom and I in the media “arena” were having a great time watching the action. Tom got his drone out, a decided nod to the improving weather and I snapped shots as the riders lined up the features. I won’t mention he crashed it a little later, luckily into some rocks, not the water, did I mention it was windy?
UK riders Jack Daykin and Adam Walker were representing, considering they haven’t hit a slider with a kite for a considerable time they looked at home in the kite park. Notable mentions go to Ewan Jaspan who looked totally at one with the conditions and the setup; Noè Font was also riding well along with the UK Freeride Project crew of Aaron, James and Sam. Craig Cunningham took a while to get warmed up, and was certainly taking some beatings, but once he was dialled in his usual effortless style began to shine through.
Manuela Jungo came out and joined Karolina and Sensi with all the girls demonstrating excellent skills on the water. It’s great to see the female level progressing so much so quickly; it was also fantastic to see them out there battling the elements!
As the tide and wind dropped the session came to an end, and the riders got a much-needed rest after a decidedly early start. After a long break for the tide, the wind began to pick up, and Aaron Hadlow was keen to get out onto the water. Texting Tom Court requesting “photos” which I guess is how you roll when you are the 5 times world champion!
The crew went back to the kite park and got the North Kiteboarding slider launched, the kicker was already in the water. As the sun set the wind picked up for a magical session, what had looked like 18m weather to start with saw the riders powered on 12m kites having a blast.
The vibe has been exceedingly positive off the water, thanks to the hard work of Ben Todd with his building skills, all the riders seem totally stoked with the setup. During the coming days the heats will start and the comp will get underway properly. If you are in the UK you should really make the trip to Rhosneigr this week, I can’t recall a time in my many years in the sport when we have had so much kiting royalty on the water at the same time.
Kudos to everyone for making the trip, making the effort and making the first day on the water at the Rhosneigr Park Jam so memorable!
For more information about the event and the huge party planned for the weekend check out the FB page HERE
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!
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