I grew up in the hills and mountains of South Wales. I think it is here that my sense of freedom and lust for adventure was lit, fuelled by the endless opportunities that natural untouched terrain provides. Growing up in Wales allowed me to become a competitive cyclist from an early age (mainly cross country mountain biking, but also dabbling in almost every other aspect available in the late 80′s to early 90′s). For about 8 years I pursued this sport with the support of my father, training hard and striving to be the best I could. In time I felt that I grew tired of the competition scene as it never really gave me total fulfilment, so turned my sights more towards the underground scene of freeriding in various sports. Skateboarding became a sport I took to around this time. I never excelled at this, but the way we could draw lines around the man-made terrain of Newport was just a buzz no matter what you were doing with it.
Then came along surfing! This blew me away, and I still believe the biggest thrill I get is from harnessing the natural power of the ocean swells as they tickle our shorelines. Unfortunately for UK surfers, we get plenty of wind battering our coastlines. So a group of us back in the early ‘noughties’ looked to find a way we could still surf the waves that would otherwise drive us insane trying to paddle for. The viable options were windsurfing or kitesurfing. For me, having been giving my first Flexifoil traction kites some 15+ years earlier it was a bit of a no-brainer (plus the size of the kit we would have to lug around seemed more manageable). Back then we had no de-power, no safety, the kites just pulled like trucks and were mental compared to todays highly developed tools. But the buzz was there and we could see where it could take us.
The thirst for adrenaline had been ignited and hasn’t gone out since!
After a few years getting my head around the whole concept, travelling to find those perfect conditions with no crowds was the way forward in my eyes. Over the past decade it has seen me travel to most corners of the globe, introduced me to people I doubt I would have met (and whom I now consider my closest friends). This sport is my life, everything revolves around it. Endlessly looking at forecasts, searching maps and charts for spots that could hold something special, packing bags, unpacking bags and travelling by any means is all part of the parcel!
I don’t compete, that side of kiting doesn’t excite me the way a quiet session with a few friends can. I have the utmost respect for the guys pushing the sport through competition in the limelight of the media, but that isn’t for me. We have one thing in common though, this is our sport and we do it for ourselves no matter what path we take.