We’re still buzzing from last weekend! After two years of lockdowns and isolation, it was high time we all got together on a beach in the sunshine with the wind blowing, and we think the Gods couldn’t have agreed more. The sea breeze was steady, the sun was out, and all the brands got to show off their latest gear – this could be the start of something big!
We ran a smaller demo event in September last year, and it went well; Littlehampton is a fantastic location, close to all the usual south coast haunts but also not too far from London, Portsmouth and Southampton too, so it was an easy choice to go back again this year. The goal was to make the event bigger and bring the wing and kite brands from the industry together. With everyone invited and the stage set, it was just down to the weather delivering. The IKSURFMAG and Tonic Mag teams met at The Beach, Littlehampton, on Friday to kick start the weekend and were greeted by a solid 20knot breeze and blue skies. Littlehampton was looking tropical! After lunch at The Beach Cafe, the gang had a quick session to cool down after a 2-hour drive from Ramsgate and Whitstable. Rou took out his wingfoiling gear at high tide, and the rest of the crew kited. The spot is large and not crowded with plenty of room so everyone could enjoy their favourite discipline.
“High tide with minimal shorebreak for winging – low tide for kiting – ideal.” – Mike Birt
With the demo set to start on Saturday, most brands began to arrive on Friday, including Emma Beckinsale, Duotone Kiteboarding UK, Mike Birt from Airush, AK Durable Supply Co and Shinn UK (Ktwo), and Tom Beaton Ozone/Flysurfer (Maxtrack Limited) it wasn’t long before everyone was on the water enjoying the excellent conditions. Littlehampton is a tidal spot, and high tide is perfect for foil sports and a bit of freeride kiting; as the tide drops, the water flattens off behind some small sand bars and becomes perfect for freestyle kiting. So if you timed it right, you could have a flat water session in the morning, a foil session for lunch and another flat water session in the afternoon.
The keen award for Friday goes to Nik Green from North/Mystic (Watersports World UK), we said we would meet up at 1 pm on Friday for a session, but he was raring to go at 8 am in full demo mode; kudos Nik!
“The event site looked good – it was clear something was happening” – Tom Beaton
We ended the evening by having a few beers with a live DJ on The View at The Beach; this is a new rooftop bar above the cafe; we soon discovered an issue though the pumping winds made it somewhat chilly up there, nothing a few IPA’s and a burger couldn’t fix!
Saturday was the start of the full demo day, and we were up at the crack of dawn to set up the event site, ready for it to open at 10 am. The rest of the brands, including ION, Fanatic, RRD, Armstrong, Unifoil, Lieuwe, Naish, and more, were busy setting up an impressive demo area on the beach and pumping kites and wings and putting boards and foils together. The south coast in the summer is renowned for the sea breeze, which usually arrives in the afternoon. Fortunately, Rou had put a £1 in the meter, and it was blowing 20knots by breakfast time. The sun was blazing, and we were set for an awesome day on the water.
The brands were busy with lots of kitesurfers and wingers taking gear out all day; kites dominated at low tide, with everyone enjoying the opportunity to try whatever they fancied on the beach. Then, as the tide rose, the foilers and windsurfers also got their chance to shine. It was amazing to see so many people on the water for the day, there was no sign of the wind dropping, and we were on the water until the brands started packing up around 7 pm. After that, it was time for dinner and beers at The Beach, followed by live music at The View (upstairs).
On Sunday morning, the wind was light which was the perfect time to get involved in Duotone’s ‘Save our Playground’ beach clean-up! Organised by Sam Bull and the Duotone Team, we joined them to walk up the beach to Littlehampton, picking up rubbish for over an hour and a half. It was interesting as there was hardly any rubbish where the demo was, but as we got closer to the populous and town, the rubbish started piling up. It blows my mind how people can walk to a beach and leave the remains of their lunch or dinner and assume someone will pick it up, I’ve got words for these people, but I won’t write them here.
“It was great to have help from members of the local community who regularly patrol the beaches, such a good example of how things should be done! Also a special thanks to The Beach Littlehampton for providing the litter picking gear” – Duotone UK
By the time we neared the end of the clean-up, we could see the wind was building. When we got back to the demo area, the wind was ON, and the action wasn’t going to stop soon! The wind blew all day; it was a little quieter on the beach; arguably, the forecast hadn’t shown much wind, so we expected many people to have done other things, but the magic of this spot is that if the sun is out, the wind will blow. We all scored some more sessions, and the brands enjoyed talking to and giving kits to the kiters and wingers who made an effort. There was some impressive riding from the wingsurfers out the front too. James Burrow arguably scored the demo of the day; he arrived not intending to get wet, a little persuasion, and within an hour and a half, he’d ridden almost every wing on the beach.
Ultimately that is the beauty of a demo weekend; there is a plethora of equipment to use at no cost. Just bring a wetsuit, and away you go. With so many brands on the beach, it is a no-brainer to get there if you kite or wing. It’s not often you can have that opportunity in the UK; it’s certainly beneficial as you might discover a kite or wing you like that was never on your radar before. It’s also a great chance to meet the incredibly passionate people who work in the industry, all the brand reps are keen to help you and talk to you, and the weekend atmosphere was buzzing. We’ll be doing it again soon!
It was the perfect weekend, and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions! So stay tuned for the next IKSURFMAG / Tonic Mag Demo Weekender dates and venues!
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