With just a week to go to the biggest kitesurfing festival in the UK, we chat to Dan Charlish the event organiser to find out what it is all about, what to bring and ask the all important question, are there still spaces?

If you want to sign up, get a camping pass or find out more click here: http://www.kitesurfingarmada.com

What can people expect from this year’s event? How is it different to the previous years?

Well, we have had to increase the size of the marquees and add an outdoor Kite Village to fit all the stands in which is really great news, the industry support grows every year! And as the festival is now over a summer weekend we have much more going on outside, with a new chill out tent, DJ and cocktail bar area, a family zone for the kids and an outdoor acoustic music space. We have 250 local school kids coming down to hear about kiting on the Friday afternoon, as well as free taster sessions for everyone to have a go. The Talks Stage schedule has expanded to run over two days; there are better bands on both Friday and Saturday nights and more camping space! So there is hopefully something for everyone at the festival this year.

Why did you change the format from a roll over to a one off?

We tried for three years with the rolling weekends to search for the perfect wind for the festival – and even with three weekends put aside each year we never quite got it, it was either nuking, a bit too light or none at all. We asked everyone last year what they wanted to do, and the majority said let’s go for one weekend that we can all book in, and if we get wind, it’s a bonus. For us, it means we have been able to invest so much more time in developing a festival everyone can enjoy, since we know the date for sure, and this has enabled loads more people, brands, pros and kiters to get involved. So let’s see how it goes, it’s a bit of a transitional year for the event, and I’m sure people will let us know what they think!

I’ve been before, and there wasn’t any wind, should I make the trip down again?

Yeah and you still had a great time if I remember! 🙂 Obviously, we are all hoping for the wind, but what was amazing about last year, when there was practically none, was that the kiting community came, supported and enjoyed the event anyway. And now with so much more in place at the festival, we hope they will be back for more! So yes, you should come. Of course, if we get wind it will be amazing, and there will be loads going on in the water – but we want to ensure that even if we don’t get wind, it’s still a great kitesurfing festival for everyone to enjoy with their mates and family.

Who’s coming along to make the weekend amazing?

Loads of kitesurfers! That is what makes the event amazing; there is no better community out there, and when they get together, it’s always going to be fun. Of course on top of that having Lewis Crathern, Sam Light, Brandon Scheid, Steph Bridge, Mark Shinn, Bully and lots of other special guests and amazing brands coming along does help! Oh, and you and Jim of course, that goes without saying…

How many years have you done it now and how much money has the Armada raised for charity?

This is our 4th year now, and we have raised £160,000 for charity so far. It’s an amazing amount and another example of the fantastic people we have involved in this festival.

Is it only for experts or can anyone come and join in?

Everyone is welcome. There are going to be talks and taster sessions for beginners, tips and coaching for those who are progressing, and clinics and comps for the more advanced. That’s the whole point; it’s fantastic having the support of the pro’s, but this event is about everyday kiters like me getting together, sticking a rashie on and being part of something fun.

What should I bring with me?

Tent or campervan, all your gear, your dancing shoes, a few quid for the donation buckets and good vibes!

Is Richard Branson coming this year?

He is super supportive of the event and what we are doing, but it’s always a long shot if he ends up being able to make it. But you never know!

What are you most looking forward to this year, what excites you on the bill?

Seeing 250 kids in the main marquee learning about kiting and wind energy will be fun, Kite Something Unusual should be hilarious and of course if we get wind and can take back the Record from Cape Town that would top it all off. It’s also no secret the Dominos are my favourite covers band ever, (it must be an Essex thing as those guys love them too) so I’m well pleased we got them back for Friday night. I am also really looking forward to the first ever A Question of Kite panel quiz, and I like it when the Mayor comes and says thanks to everyone, it’s nice for everyone to hear how much this festival means to Hayling Island.

How long is it going on for?

The festival and campsite open Friday at 11 am and everything closes Sunday at 6 pm.

Can I camp there and are there still places in the event?

We have over 350 kiters signed up, and over 130 camping passes sold, so it’s turning into a proper little festival. There are still spaces in both, though, as we can go up to 500 kiters, so please do sign up. See you there!

If you want to sign up, get a camping pass or find out more click here: http://www.kitesurfingarmada.com

Fri 10th Jun, 2016 @ 12:18 pm

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