INTRO ? George Dufty competed in the BKSA Under 15s (juniors) series last year and in this column, recounts some of his highlights and experiences from his first season, finishing third overall. Now sponsored by Liquid Force, he's currently leading the Under 19s (youths) category after two events
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Find George's website at:www.georgeduftykitesurfer.co.uk/
|Hi, my name is George Dufty. I live just outside Southampton in Hampshire in the UK and have been kitesurfing for three years.
I got into kiting in the first place having seen people riding landboards and foil kites on a large grassed area the size of four football pitches behind my local beach at Lee on Solent in 2009. So I got hold of a landboard and foil kite and gave it a go.When riding I noticed that there were kites out on the water at the other end of the bay which is at Hill Head which is now where I ride most often. So I got hold of a C kite and a board and gave that a go. Over a few sessions I managed to master control of the kite but was struggling to get up and riding properly and as a birthday present in August 2009 my parents bought me a lesson with Hampshire Kitesurfing Centre run by Ross Blainey. Well, that was me well and truly hooked and I was then able to get myself a small quiver of North Vegas kites and a new board. Early in 2010 through Ross, I booked myself on a coaching session with Sam Light who was the reigning BKSA Pro Champion from 2009. The weird thing was that the first and best piece of advice that Sam gave me was 'learn to crash !'. What he meant was 'learn to crash properly' in other words, control how you crash when you are trying tricks and then worry about recovering the kite rather than trying to stop the kite crashing and hurting yourself.
Well that worked and in late 2010 I was offered a deal as a shop rider for Airtime Kitesurfing in Lee on Solent riding Liquid Force kit. In early 2011 I took delivery of four HiFi Comps, size, 7m, 9m, 11m and 13m and a 138 limited edition Influence board with comp straps. I also got hold of James Boulding's 138 DLX which I ride with boots.
I decided that I'd have a go at competing in the national competitions run by the British Kitesurfing Association, (BKSA) and booked myself in to the first event in Redcar in May 2011.
Because I was under 15 at the start of the season I entered the junior section. I had no idea what to expect but all the other competitors in all the categories and the Pro's were all very welcoming and willing to offer advice. The conditions were mad with the winds switching from cross shore to off shore and it was very gusty so deciding what size kite to fly in the heats was made very difficult by the changing winds.
I had a problem changing size of kite just before the first transition flag went up and lost time on the water and lost my first heat.
I managed to get through my next heat and eventually was able to gain 4th place which was OK for my first event but I just knew that I could have done better.At this stage I was landing switch raleys to toe-side and trying to land S-Bends.
The next event was in Barrow in Furness in May 2011 and I was unable to compete in that event because I was already booked onto a history school trip to Italy which had been booked from the year before.
The next event was in Wales at Kinmel bay which is just next to Llandudno in the last weekend of June 2011.
I now had a better idea what to expect and it was great to meet up again with my fellow competitors in my age group, but also all the other competitors in the other categories. Since the Redcar event I had been working on trying raleys-to-blind.
Wind conditions were a bit light which favoured the lighter competitors and I was landing more consistent S-bends. I made my way through to the finals against Robbie Shire-Maidment and Ellys Bloor and got my first podium finish, getting second place. Overall a much better result and I was ready for the next event in Hunstanton in July.
Again it was like meeting up with old friends in my fellow competitors in my age group but also all the other competitors in the other categories.
The Hunstanton competition ties in with the 'Hunstanton Lifestyles' event and there is a real good vibe about the place with all sorts of other activities going on, including windsurfing, skateboarding, BMX-ing, trick bikes, climbing walls etc and live music through the weekend.
Wind conditions were pretty good and I was regularly landing S-bends and raleys-to-blind. I had a bad first heat and I still don't quite know what I did wrong but this meant I had to go into an eliminator to get into the later rounds but had a great next heat and made my way through to the finals, this time against Robbie and Guy Bridge and got my second podium finish with another second place.
|The next BKSA event was Ayr in Scotland at the end of September but before then I managed to have a holiday with my family and we went to Gokova in Turkey in August.
James Boulding from Liquid Force and Luke Whiteside from the BKSA pro tour had both mentioned it to me and as my dad also kitesurfs, off we went for two weeks in Gokova in the first two weeks in August.
It was brilliant. The thermals would kick in at about 10am and build for about an hour, so I'd go out on my 13m on a strapless surfboard borrowed from the guys at Kitebord Turkey, a big thanks to the boss, Ruzgar! Then the wind would have picked up to somewhere around 20 to 26 knots but a steady wind all day right through till about 6pm, so would then be out on my 9m or 11m.
I had set myself the target of landing my first air-pass within the two weeks that we'd be there. By day two I was landing blind judges and blind judge 3s. Result!
The conditions were just so good, it was fantastic to be able to progress so much. The air temperature was in the low 30s and the sea was in the high 20s so the water was like a bath. Luxury!
|Trouble was that by the end of day three I was aching all over from kiting from about 10 till 6 for three days.That's the problem with living in the UK where you might go two or three weeks without any kiteable wind, so when you can you just try and get on the water for as long as possible.
I worked out that I needed to limit my time on the water to short sessions of two hours max otherwise I was just going to be going backwards.
I kited for 12 of the 13 days that we were there and I had a great time, all of which set me up for Ayr.
Ayr was flipping cold, about eight degrees during the day and colder at night. Armed with a new set of tricks I got through the first heats and through to another final against Ellys and Robbie.
The final itself was a really close thing and I bailed my blind judges because the winds were too light, so I couldn't get the power to get high enough of the water.
|The other guys pushed hard and I ended up placing third. In a way I was disappointed but it was another podium and it also meant that I had given myself a chance of getting a podium finish for the championships if I did well at the last event in Blackpool at the beginning of October.
So, the final event in the championships at Blackpool. Boy was it windy! The pros agreed to split their event over two days with the first being a mega loop and big air trick day and then to run the remainder of the event on day two in the usual seven minute heat format. They went out in 40+knots and Ali Barrett went HUGE!
Wind conditions for my comp on day two were pretty good, although the wind kept coming up and down, so kite size selection was an issue.
I was by this stage regularly landing switch S-bends and back rolls to blind and blind judges and got the through the early heats and into the final.
I was up against Robbie and Jordan Hurst and I managed to land pretty much everything I tried and was stoked to find out later that I'd won. Boom, my first win on the BKSA tour and, because of the points through the year, this also meant that I was joint second in the championships!
|At the presentation on the Saturday I was told that on count back I would be placed third overall. Whilst a second would have been fantastic, I was placed on the podium in my first year of competition behind Robbie, who won, and Ellys who came second, both of whom had been competing on the BKSA for a number of years.
In November I was able to ride with the Student Kitesurfing Association at their Slider Jam at Par in Cornwall with Jordan Hurst who is now a good friend from the BKSA tour. So thanks to the guys on the committee for letting us join in as a honorary students.
So, That was it for 2011. I'll write another article to highlight what the 2011/2012 winter brought for me and the start of the 2012 season.
Bye for now.
View George Dufty's profile HERE.