Westwood Ho! hosts national kitesurfing finalsThe final showdown of the British Kitesurfing Association's (BKSA) national tour will play out on a north Devon beach this October.
The RWE npower renewables Kitetastic Finals Week will take place from Sunday 14 to Saturday 20 October at Westward Ho!, near Barnstaple.
Over 100 competitors will attend the week-long event which features a number of disciplines all propelled by powerful kites. The event will finish with the BKSA British Champions being crowned at a special prize giving evening on Saturday.
Event organiser and BKSA Chairman Richard Gowers is excited about the tour’s culmination. Richard said: “This is the first time we have held a major kiting event at Westwood Ho! and I can’t think of a better place for us to bring the tour to a close. The beach has plenty of open space and works in most wind directions.
“Although the first few events of the year suffered from light winds, we have had a fantastic season that has taken us across all areas of the UK. The talent and ability of the competitors taking part today is phenomenal and the race for British Champion is still very open.”
The competition will feature top female and male kitesurfers who will compete in the water in freestyle, race and wave events, whilst on the beach competitors will take part in freestyle kite landboard and kite buggy competitions.
Craig Harwood, Development Manager at RWE npower renewables said: "We are delighted to be main sponsor of the BKSA national final and to have played a role in bringing the event to the shores of Westward Ho!. We're sure it will prove to be a fantastic sporting occasion for competitors and spectators alike.
“As one of the country’s leading producers of windpower, and the developer of Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm, RWE npower renewables is a perfect partner for these championships and we are looking forward to an exciting tournament which will provide a fitting end to the BKSA’s national tour."
This is the final event on the BKSA tour, which has held legs in seven venues across the UK, including Watergate Bay in north Cornwall, Clacton on Sea in Essex, Redcar on Teesside and Troon in Scotland.
Peter Sawyer from Kitemare, a Barnstaple kitesurfing shop and co-sponsor of the event, said: “Westward Ho! is a great place for kite sports. A few years ago there there were only a handful of locals out there and now on a good day you might see 50 to 100 people, but despite that there is still a very friendly atmosphere.
“I have been travelling up and down the country competing for years, so it is nice to finally have a competition at my home beach. There are a few local sponsored riders that haven’t competed on a BKSA tour event before and so it’s going to be a kind of grand unveiling for them. Jon Bleaker and Dan Sweeney are definitely ones to watch in the pro men freestyle. They both trained abroad last winter and are equally hungry for success.”
Sponsored by RWE npower renewables, Sport England, and co sponsors Kitemare and Torridge Council, the Kitetastic Finals Week starts on Sunday 14 October with the Wavemaster all fleets event.
The Wavemaster is similar to a surfing competition but with the addition of kites and competitors will be judged on their wave-riding ability. The event will run until Thursday depending on conditions.
On Thursday 18 October the pro men and pro ladies freestyle event is scheduled to begin. This will be followed by the course racing, kite landboard, kite buggy and all other kitesurf freestyle classes on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 October. The prize giving will take place on Saturday 20 October from 7pm.
The tour has also received support from Best, Mutiny, King of Watersports, Ion, Ocean Rodeo and Palmera Local.
With a packed competition schedule and coaching and training sessions also taking place throughout the week, event organisers are encouraging spectators to come and enjoy the action which is free and open to the public.
Sport England will be offering complementary kitesurf and kite buggying sessions to encourage local people to try out the sport for the first time. Sessions run from Monday 15 to Saturday 20 October with all the equipment provided.
For more information on the BKSA tour go to: www.britishkitesurfingassociation.co.uk.