When I finally arrived at the beach I was greeted with a light sea-breeze, and said quick hello's to everyone who had already arrived.
It was pretty marginal, but really needed a dip in the sea, so got my trusty Turbine out and had wonderfully refreshing ride for an hour or so.
The rest of the night was spent catching up with competitors and sinking a cheeky beer or two.
Friday morning was again very warm, and after the morning brief and chinwag with the new arrivals we had to go for another swim to cool down. Winds at this point were pretty light, but theoretically it was perfect sea breeze conditions, so we chilled for a few hours with our fingers crossed.
By mid afternoon, the wind had swung onshore and despite it being pretty marginal, it was decided that we'd have a slopestyle contest. The format was 3 downwind runs each - with a trick on both tacks, and the best combination taking the win. We were split into 3 categories: Ladies, Am Men&Seniors, and Pros.
It was pretty clear that I had to go for my 17m SS Turbine, which gave me a significant advantage over people which didn't have such a large kite; but i was amazed by the level of difficulty of tricks that Robin Snuggs and Richy Flindal were going for on their 12m kites - great to watch, and it drew quite a crowd of spectators on the waterfront.
During my runs I landed a Railey to Blind on the way out and a Shifty to Wrapped and a toeside 3 on the way in - I was hopeful that I had a resonable chance of placing.
After we'd all had our three runs and we'd all keenly watched the action, it was clear that there was going to be insufficient wind to run the main competition. We had a short freeride, then packed up and got ready for a very tasty carvery, drinks and merriment at a local pub :)
Saturday started with a decent offshore breeze and continuation of the hot weather - it was forecast to drop off through the day, and pick up again the evening.
The results from the previous day's competition were announced at the morning briefing, and was over the moon to hear that I'd done enough to take the win, with fellow flexi riders Craig Smith and Steve Mews in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The day was spent with a few people going out wake-boarding courtesy of Gary Powell and lots of socializing on the beach and around the vans. As evening approached the wind slowly started to fill in, and I took the opportunity to take the 13m Hadlow to the water in the offshore conditions - a pretty nice session - flat water and some good power at times. After this I hooked up with all the others and some local riders for the evening BBQ; sank a few ciders and listened to Gary Powell's guitar and vocal talents in the marquee. Some of the pro's decided to make the most of the increasing winds and drove around the coast a little to score a sweet evening session too.
Sunday started cooler and cloudy, and had a similar offshore forecast to the previous day but a little stronger on the wind front. We were hopeful that some competitions could be run. Ali, Robin and Kitemare Pete were sent out to test the conditions as the tide dropped, and it was decided that we'd run another slope-style comp in the hope that by the time it had ended, the wind would have picked up sufficiently to run the main event.
The format was a little different to Fridays competition, only one run but 4 trick attempts, with only the best one counting. The groups were split up as before, with Pro's, Am's and Ladies.
After watching a few people have their turn, it was my go. The second I hit the water there was no wind, so crawled out to sea working the kite all the way, and crawled back in again. As I went back out again, I was scouring the water for signs of a gust to trick in, and just after I passed the safety boat quite some distance out to sea, one appeared. I decided it was now or never, so fishpoled the bar for a kiteloop 3, and got a nice bit of wang from the Hadlow Pro as I was launched into the air. As the kite started to climb again I started the rotation for the 3, and was super relieved to feel my hand back on the bar before coming in for landing. I was happy with that, so rode in, and continued to watch the action to the end. It was decided that the conditions were unsuitable to run the main event as everyone was struggling to stay upwind.
The prize giving was just an hour away, and a few of us tried to free ride but the wind dropped off further and we all called it a day. We all got changed and walked up to the marquee for the ceremony delivered by Mark Ward and guest judge James Boulding.
As the results of the Best Trick Comp. were read out it was great to hear that newcomer Daniel Oyston had scored 3rd place, that returning master Pete Whiteley claimed second, and that my kiteloop 3 had been enough to secure top spot. Holly claimed the honors in the ladies competition with Sukie and Jemima coming close behind, and it was great to see that ripper Joe Hockley had mixed it up with the pro's and claimed 2nd place with George Dufty taking top spot and Jon Bleiker taking a solid 3rd.
It was soon time to say our goodbyes again, it was great to see everyone after a long winter and good to see the return of Mark Ward and Glen "PUMP YER KITES" Foley, and also nice to hook up with Jo Wilson and James Boulding.
I've been to many an event over the years, and I've come to recognize that in the end it doesn't matter if there's wind or not, a good time and lots of laughter is assured, with friends old and new. Big respect to the BKSA team and the efforts of Gary Powell - you guys nailed it once again! Roll on Troon in September!