Dan Sweeney, 2012 British Kite-surfing Champion, wears Chess London
Posted: Dec 27 2012
Remember when you where younger and flew a one of those little triangular kites at the beach? It either wasn't windy enough so you had to run about 100 mph backwards just get it off the ground or was so windy it was only a matter of time before it hit the ground and broke; that was were most of us left our kite career, not Dan Sweeney.
Combining elements of our early childhood kiting (although rather more technical) and elements of surfing Dan has become a master in this fast growing and relatively new sport.
Originating from Worthing, Dan started kite surfing in 2005 at the age of 19. He has come a long way since then and in 2012 became the British Mens Professional Freestyle Champion. Not only a master in his own sport but also the UK Brand Manager of RRD (Robert Ricci Designs), a leading surfing supplier.
The kites used in Kite-surfing are no ordinary kites. The Kite harnesses the winds power to propel the rider across the water on a small surfboard (kiteboard) similar to that of a wakeboard. Sizes range from 0.7 square meters to 21 square meters and in general the larger the surface area, the more power the kite will have. At 21 m, the kites can be so powerful that if not properly controlled can drag the rider hundreds of meters off course or out to sea!!
The sport of Kiteboarding comes in various forms, including Course Racing, Wave Riding, Speed Racing and Wakestyle which involves jumps and tricks involving ramps.
Dan's specialty is Freestyle, in which the kite and board are used to get 'big air' so various tricks can be performed while airborne. Smaller boards and Kites with a good boost allow longer 'hangtime' and has allowed him to win competitive events and become the British Champion.
There is no denying this sport is damn cool and when done correctly it looks easy. However, this is an extremely physical and technical sport which can be incredibly dangerous and has claimed a number of lives.
Still Fancy a go? Think for now i'll stick to my little kiddy’s kite on Brighton beach and leave this one to the experts!
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