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Ideally, in more offline than online activities, we’re the type of people that like to get sucked in. Instagram’s core appeal is that its inherent nature is at its best for capturing single moments or playing and re-playing slender slices of activity. We may blink, but can’t look away from the rolling visual. For board sports, this has provided a very powerful platform for the world’s most talented riders to quickly and simply exhibit why they are the best. No frills; they get in the way of the coming kudos… followers and endorsement deals.
Five time racing World Champion, Ragnarok queen, national coach, centre manager, mentor and mum, Steph Bridge has no time for anything but the core fundamentals of a sport. Neither, it seems, do her three sons, who are busy carving out their own successful careers in kiteboarding in different (or, in Guy’s case, all) disciplines and can be hard to pin down for anything other than a session.
Organisationally, they don’t seem to have much of a stock of high definition images when an editor comes knocking, but if you need a series of wild but rough cut action clips to explode your social media channel airdrop’d from their phone, or screengrabs of world racing podiums that they’ve finished top of, they’re your go-to family. KW’s assistant editor, Ben McCann, found himself living with them (actually, they kept him at arm’s length – in the garage – wisely not trusting a resident journo) for part of the summer and somehow we finally had an in. As a new recruit Ben was easily bent to Kiteworld’s insatiable content demands and we’d infiltrated the ranks of the most famous kiting family! ‘How To Internet’ is Ben’s first full feature in Kiteworld, traded for surprisingly plush sleeping quarters amongst Exmouth’s most well quiver’d garage, no doubt. Find it on page 76.
There are moments in an athlete’s career that can have a huge bearing on their eventual success. A pivotal moment where winning and losing can offer a long lasting difference of trajectory beyond that single instant of glory. As Ben wrote of Olly Bridge, who has claimed enough race podiums to “make most aspiring racers want to sit down in the shower, knees to chest”, it was in fact a 200 metre long boost over the hedges and shingle at Dawlish Gap that he’s been dining off most effectively, positively shifting his more widespread stature in the sport. It seems that he’ll now send it over anything with his trustyFlysurfer Soul. You may have heard of Kai Lenny, another lad who’s found fame for blasting feats of skill or incredible bravery across the Internet. We were supposed to have been interviewing him for this issue, but his trajectory is currently bound for a mainstream stardom where interviews with lowly kite mags are loosely bound by his dad (who fortunately kites) and then burned in the diary when, say, Jaws turns on, the WSL’s big wave tour is given the green light and Kai becomes embroiled in a battle for the podium in death-defying waves during our production period. Fortunately, in kiting, we never have to look too far for more interesting and evocative characters to fit a theme. Angely Bouillot and James Carew are lined up for big things in the coming months. The French 31-year-old finds herself as the first woman that has qualified to fight to be ‘King’ at the Red Bull King of the Air this year.
Meanwhile, James’ sheer hunger and power have seen him adapt to the rigours of learning technical strapless freestyle so he can vie for the GKA Kite-Surf World Championship. The 20-year-old Australian is arguably Airton Cozzolino’s most consistent top challenger and recently he’s also nailed the four time World Champion’s most high-scoring handlepass. Game on. They’re both complete animals in big waves of course, so we look forward to that rivalry on the combined tour unfolding this year. Whatever Angely achieves at the King of the Air, she’s already won the battle to gain equal footing, if not the overall gender bias war. 2020 will be a big year for Bouillot and Carew – hear more from them on page 66.
Of course, let’s not forget those who enjoyed the biggest moments last year: ‘Class Acts of 2019’ profiles the season’s major championship winners from page 38. Finally, we’ve just landed in Cape Town for our annual gear tests. A few days in to our trip as I write this, would you believe that our most used kite is an 11m foil design? Don’t worry, Cape Town isn’t broken, but our session windows are opening up as the dynamics of design continue to develop. Find this issue’s reviews from page 94.
Enjoy the issue