Tom Court Camp in Sri Lanka
As a new and interesting aspect of kiteboarding, traveling to a country to find the flattest water would be something that seemed ludicrous to most surfers, an unimaginable fate, going to a country that has waves and yet choosing to go to the flat, lagoon sheltered coast and spend two weeks there, in a grass hut, with nothing except flat water and wind to keep you company. Well, as crazy as this would seem, and indeed I am a surfer too, this is exactly what I have done for the last two weeks here in Kalpitya, Sri Lanka. In search of the ultimate freestyle spot, a place to ride uncrowded flat water, try some new tricks and film my adventures...for me this is excitement of a different kind.
I was now there for two weeks, riding the platitudes of flat water spots, doing down winders and fitting in as many boat trips as we could. Although the Sri Lanka Kite center is right on the edge of the lagoon, you can launch from the kite school and ride across the lagoon to the sand bar on the other side, that offers an amazing freestyle location, with mirror flat water and variably constant wind. There are also a lot of other kite spots available that are not so easy to access but, they are well worth the mission. Getting a local fishing boat, it is possible to drive down wind for about forty minuets, this will take you deep into military controlled zone, towards the north of the island. Having only just escaped the grip of a long civil war, the army still has a big presence on the island. This serves to enhance the excitement, although if you go there with the kite camp, then there is nothing to worry about, although it does help to keep these kite spots pretty empty most of the time. Once you have entered this area, there are an expanse of small sand islands within the lagoon, none of them higher than about fifteen feet and all of them with butter flat off-shore sections. Each one is bigger than the last until you eventually reach one that has a flat offshore kite spot that stretches for about four miles. One of the best freestyle spots I have ever seen!
My trip this time was two weeks long and I would recommend this a a good length of time to take if you plan to visit. It will give you time to get used to the 35degree heat and enough time to polish your kite skills and take them to the next level. If you are a person who prefers to spend a little longer on a trip and get some time to really explore the place, I would also recommend it. Undoubtably Sri Lanka has a lot to offer, although a comparably small country compared to India, there is a lot of truth in the name ‘Jewel of the Indian Ocean’. It has such a rich tapestry of cultural influence, a mixture of religions that has sculpted the island into a holy place, with temples represent each religion all over the place. Its wildlife and tropical rain forest’s cover the interior and although it has some more touristy areas, there is a lot to explore that will really make you feel like you are on an adventure. Kiteboarding is a new sport in Sri Lanka and the tourism for sports like kiting and surfing are just building up there. I left the country this time, inspired by what I had seen kiteboarding bring to the area around the lagoons on the east coast in such a short time. The changes I had seen the sport make in a positive way and the implications that this has on the surrounding village and local people, business, livelihood, foreign trade and most if all an exposure to a lifestyle that is spreading faster than we can imagine. Already there are local Sri Lankan children learning to kite and it wont be long until we see them in the magazines, an opportunity that only a few sports can offer. So, if you are into kiteboarding, don't underestimate its power as a sport. Use it as inspiration to change your life, an excuse to get out and see new places, a reason to meet new people and a way to most importantly have fun! Sat on the plane, leaving Sri Lanka and flying back to Europe, I sit an wonder, where is next!?"
Thomas Sabo Kite Camp with Dirk Hanel in El Gouna
Sun, fun and lots of Kitesurfing action was guaranteed at the 2012 Thomas Sabo Kite Camp in El Gouna. For a whole week, the lucky winners of a Men´s Health raffle joined Dirk Hanel on an exciting trip to Egypt. Packed with the newest NKB gear like Rebel 2013, Vegas 2013, a sneak preview on even the Evo 2013 and some new Spike Textreme , Xride and Jaime boards, the trip started from Munich. Four male and two female winners boarded the Condor flight to Hurghada and enjoyed the nice Steigenberger Hotel in El Gouna. The first two days the wind was not quite there, but the hot 38 degrees and sun could not ruin the great vibes and enthusiasm of the complete team. Four full days with great winds were the treasure for all of us getting the chance to work on new tricks and just enjoy the time on the water together. Topped with four days of getting photos and shots done by the professional photographer Caro Thiersch, the camp came to an end.
Thanks to Kitepower El Gouna for perfect storage, North Kiteboarding Germany, Christian Schmitt for test gear, ION for the great gifts for all winners, Swox for the sun protection and Thomas Sabo for the complete organization.
To be continued in 2013.