The 2009 White Air festival in Brighton attracted the worlds elite pro riders to show their stuff out on the water. Unfortunately the wind was less than cooperative but that didn't stop anyone from having an awesome weekend.
Freelance BBC Broadcaster Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes was also at hand to see just what all this kitesurfing lark is about. Earlier in the week the guys from Kitesurfkings in Shoreham were at hand to give Lizzie her first lessons in kiting. Her progress was excellent and she did a live broadcast from White Air on the Friday before hitting the water. Due to the lack of wind she agreed to be towed by a jet-ski but was able to fly some kites earlier that week to get a feel for things.
Kiteworld Magazine's own Ash Phelps managed to nab a few minutes of Lizzie's time to see exactly how she got on. Here's the low down:
So Lizzie, have you ever done anything like this before?
I was surfing in Bournemouth earlier in the week for another news story. There weren't really any waves but it was good to get out there and I managed to get up on my feet. I'm used to balancing through snowboarding trips so it was quite easy.
What were your first thoughts then when you went out with the guys from Kitesurfkings earlier in the week? It was a land based lesson to start with right?
That's right. They got me to get the kite in the air and I even managed a bit of landboarding to get a feel for the kite pulling me along. I enjoyed it so so much! What a workout though! I play hockey regularly and I definitely felt this the next day. It was great!
There must have been some challenges though. What did you find the hardest part?
Keeping the kite in the air was tough. I understood everything the guys taught me about the wind window and such but struggled a bit with swooping the kite down to catch some air and bringing it back up. When the kite was in the air though it was amazing!
What was the part you enjoyed the most?
Definitely flying the kite, when it would stay up. It was a massive adrenaline rush!
So that was your very first ever kite lesson. Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to give kitesurfing a go?
I'd say it's best to understand how to fly a kite before you get in the water. You want to get to that point where you don't need to look up at the kite the whole time, instead you want to be able to feel the movements through your body and know exactly what's going on. When you can do this your confidence will be sky high.
How did you find the guys at Kitesurfkings teaching you?
They were great! They were very patient and friendly and made sure that everything made sense to me. I'd definitely recommend them.
Finally then I've got to ask ? would you try kitesurfing again?
Absolutely! In fact I want to straight away! I got a really good taste for things and I'm determined to have another try. I can definitely see how the sport can be so addictive.
Lizzie has broadcast for BBC Sport, the Olympics and the Football League. Next on Lizzie's list is the Euro Championships and possibly a spell of script writing for Eastenders. Lizzie, thanks for your time and best of luck with the kitesurfing.
Kitesurfkings teach beginner, intermediate and advanced level students. To learn more click here.