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'He is a genuine legend in an arena that seems to breed a lot of yearly stars, but few enduring names.'
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
The quote above comes from Mark Shinn's vote for Jaime Herraiz in our poll to find the most influential people in kiteboarding. All 15 riders taking up the top spots have seen many others fall by the wayside and off the rails of influence during their span in kiteboarding's media spotlight.
I wonder if the number one person in our poll to find the most influential people in kiteboarding will be the individual that has had the most positive impact on you. Maybe not, it seems the sphere of influence in our sport is wide. This time we opened up the voting lines to you and had a lot of nominations come in for many different people, from 'household' names to husbands who've rallied and supported their next of kin's early achievements and progress to 'grandaddys of their scene', but I can guarantee that nestled somewhere in our top 15 will be someone you've admired and whose style or achievements you've aspired to in some way, regardless of who you may have placed your vote with.
Everyone of the names in our list has already achieved lots, and the fact that you've taken the effort to get up and vote for them indicates that you hope they've got still more to offer. To those of you who voted, thank you for your input.
Teahupoo has been a theatre of dreams, and nightmares now for over six years since Laird Hamilton became Oxbow's favourite poster image icon when he tow-surfed into a huge bomb in Tahiti in 2000. Since then that wave has inspired and influenced many of the world's top names in surfing primarily, but also windsurfing and more recently, kitesurfing, to venture into its labyrinth-like clutches in order to feel the ultimate rush from riding a wave. Take another look at the cover and check out the proportions of that heavy, swollen lip in relation to the rest of the wave. It's simply insane, incalculable and in a realm where even those who've seen it up close can't begin to estimate how much power it holds. Only those who've been truly beaten by it, and lived to tell the tale could begin to tell you. Jeremie Eloy, Julian Sudrat and Yannick Salmon tackled the biggest Teahupoo swells that kiteboarders have ever chanced their lives with in September this year. Against The Wall starts on page 74.
September was a rough month this year. We'd been watching the progress of Hurricane Gordon as it tracked its way up the Irish Sea and tempted us to south west Wales. Not particularly in search of a story, more likely just enjoying some sessions and time away from the office, however we happened to meet a hugely underrated rider stomping her way through the blistering conditions of her home spots. Kirsty Jones has achieved so much in, but even more out of the kitesurfing media's gaze, and in an issue all about icons, we're pleased to have met her and become aware of her talents and achievements by chance rather than through hype. We shine the light on Miss Jones on page 84.
Two years ago when we ran the first Under The Influence, then editor Hugh Miller, wrote that kitesurfng was on its way to representing the aerial division of surfing. Well, that day is here, so get tooled up with our first kite surfboard buyer's guide on page 96.
The winter's around the corner, the waves are up. Hope you get amongst it.