SKA Nationals: Salmons and Caeser’s Palace

After the wind-less nationals back in November all fingers and toes were crossed for a windy round two! Students from the Universities of Exeter, Bath, Plymouth, Southampton, Bristol (and a lone representative from Edinburgh, me) headed for the quiet retirement village of Westward Ho! in North Devon for some freestyle action last weekend. Saturday came and went delivering divine February-sunshine but zero wind.

All rose bright and early on Sunday, despite the previous night’s visit to Caesars’ Palace, “Bideford’s best nightclub” (not a huge claim considering the town’s size and significant lack of nightclubs). The wind turned up mid-morning and the Intermediate and Advanced categories got under way. I had the privilege of judging both of these categories. With a judging-on-overall-impression-system employed, the heats were so awesome to watch. In the Intermediates, props go to Rose Bungener, who unfortunately had a huge wipeout at the beginning of what looked a promising heat. It was Ross Browne from Exeter who eventually took the lead, with his consistency and sheer height. In the Advanced, despite Tim Wrinch’s impressive landings to blind and some pretty stylish riding from Cedric Bontemps, it was Tom Shaw, SKA Chairman, who stole the show.

After several hours in the judges truck accompanied by the ever-cheerful Liam Proctor and Craig Smith, it was our turn to hit the water. Due to the lack of girls, I was thrown into a heat with the pro men.

Unfortunately, the wind got quite light for our heat, which was run as a ten-minute expression session. What then ensued was some very entertaining mayhem, if mayhem can happen in light wind? The competition zone was thrown out of the window early on, as all of us headed downwind, tricking as we went. Most of my tricks were rather snatched – perhaps to do with the very light conditions – but it was when Liam ‘salmoned’* through the air past me I knew the game was up. I carried on regardless, just having far too much fun and even trying my own ‘salmon’. We all ended up so far downwind we were unsure when the heat actually ended. When we thought time was probably up and the wind was all but dead, we walked back up, through the (torrential) rain.

For prize giving we headed to the wonderful Pete Sawyer’s (owner of the Kitemare Repairs) brand new shop. When I say brand new, I mean almost-but-not-quite-built-yet new. The shop is due to open very soon, so get down there for kites, lessons, repairs or just to visit Shambles the dog.

Well done to…


1st-Ross Browne (Exeter)

2nd-Ned Aufenast (Exeter)

3rd-Joash Clarkson


1st-Tom Shaw (Bath)

2nd-Tim Wrinch (Bristol)

3rd-Cedric Bontemps (Southampton)


1st-Liam Proctor (Exeter)

2nd-Martin Hayes (Swansea)

3rd-Polly Crathorne (Edinburgh)

Such a cracking weekend. A pleasure to be part of such an awesome event. Well done to Tom Shaw and Co. for the organisation – you’re great.

P.S. If you are reading this and are a student, def get involved next time!! SKA Facebook page

P.P.S. *to salmon – to unhook and wriggle ya body around like a fish, more specifically, a salmon.

P.P.P.S. Since publishing, Kitemare Repairs is open and ready for business pop in to the brand spanking new store or check out the website here


Thanks for the shots JWGMedia and Adam Barstow Photography

Party in the Palace





Yesterday I went along to St. James’s Palace to receive my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. Luckily for me, Prince Philip himself was there to have a chat. The award itself couldn’t have been more ideal; the expedition was amazing and my kitesurfing sessions made up the ‘Physical’ section of the award.

The Telegraph


The Mirror

The Express