The three Bridge brothers, UK all make the podium at the European Freestyle Championships!
St. Pierre la Mer, France played host to the 10th Junior European Freestyle Championships, from the 18th-21st April. Young kitesurfers from all over Europe gathered for this annual freestyle showdown where every year, the level of riding gets higher. Day one kicked off at 8am for Team Bridge, who were here to compete for their age category ; Tom age 9-13yrs, Guy 14-15yrs and Olly 16-19yrs. The event started with the youngest age category in the form of a Dingle elimination. Conditions were variable and challenging. Huge gusts wiped riders off the water and lulls barely provided enough to stay upwind, so choosing the right kite size was tough. Tom stepped up his game during his heat to put some great scoring tricks together for the Judges. After four heats using the Vegas 5 or 7m, Tom made it to the Final against his old Team Mate from Spain, Javier Jimenez. For the 3rd year running, Tom won the Title and was ecstatic by his performance in the challenging conditions.
Next up was Olly in the first heat of the 16-19's Single Elimination. Throwing down some big powered moves he was off to a great start, but this was not enough to beat his first opponent from Holland. Olly’s freestyle day was over and all he had to think about was the big come back in the Doubles the following day.
Guy put in a performance that was the biggest surprise of the whole day! Staying on the ladder all the way through to the Final of the 14-15 yr category, his riding in the shocking conditions improved as he went through the heats. Guy came off the water grinning, stoked as he made the best heat of his life. Having made the Final, against Spanish Youth Champion, Noe Font and Zurick, Guy was amped on the outcome of a 3rd place in this division.
Day 2 was greeted with another early start and first up was Olly, who was on a mission to make it back in the Double Eliminations. A sunny start combined with a cold Tramontana, gave the same unpredictable conditions and gusts as the previous day. Olly had a couple of blinding heats to put him back in the game but then the going got really tough. Cycling through the rounds of the Doubles, he was only back on the beach for a couple of minutes rest before his next heat. It was certainly good physical training and although he was not riding to the level he does when he Freerides, his competition strategy and experience showed. After 4 hours of straight competition, Olly made it to the mens Final with Dutch rival, Van Der Meis and french opponent Guillerbert. A poor choice of kite and exhaustion meant it wasn’t his best performance of the day, putting him in 3rd place overall. A result and come back like this however, is highly motivating for Olly who is current mens European Race Champion and did this discipline 'just for fun' on a borrowed board.
While the Freestyle antics was going on, young Tom had been practicing his race skills around the Boarder Cross course. This involves jumping over long inflatable objects in the water and round buoys in a race knockout with 4 other opponents. Fast, fun and exciting, with lots of crashes, Tom managed to win his category in this discipline.
Back in the Uk Team Bridge are practicing for the next stop on the tour - the Youth PKRA World Championships in June.
Airton drops it like it's hot in Sardinia!
Last week, 8 of the worlds best Kiteboarders from across the globe headed to Sardinia, Italy to go head to head for the Red Bull Unfastened title. The first ever pure strapless Kiteboarding competition, it's a unique and interesting event that offers up a different judging criteria to those of the events we are used to seeing in Kiteboarding. The idea is to test the all round skills of the riders, so it's easy to see why Sardinia played host to the event, presenting a great variety of spots and variable sea conditions.
Pure wave riding, strapless flat water freestyle and a combo category of wave and freestyle riding, were the three possible disciplines for the event. There has been a lot of buzz around the strapless wave riding movement recently as technically, it has evolved in great leaps and bounds. Taking the foundations of classic surfing and drawing influences from skateboarding for riding in flat water, it now has a clear 'street style' with huge scope for riders to be creative. Host of the event was North Kiteboarding rider Airton Cozzolino. Originally from Cape Verde he has been living on the island of Sardinia for the past 10 years. With a Wave World title under his belt and very at home riding his local spots, he proved hot competition to the other riders. Other North Kiteboarding Team members partaking in the event were Patri McLaughlin and Matchu Lopes.
Flat water freestyle kicked off the event where North Kiteboarding Team member Patri McLaughlin from Hawaii, put on a jaw dropping show in the picturesque location of Fontanamare. Wowing the International judging panel with his freestyle repertoire he put up a good fight but, unfortunately he was pipped to the post by Airton, the local. The following day the tables turned and after hitting the water with all guns blazing, Patri was unanimously awarded the win for Best Trick with an 'Unhooked Aerial 180 HP surface'.
The battle ground had been on fire for the duration of the event and although the waves failed to put in an appearance, the North Kiteboarding riders proved that they truly are some of the worlds best strapless riders. Inspiring, innovative and influential Matchu, Patri and Airton are the future of this discipline. Despite the fierce competition, it was Airton who was crowned the overall winner, showing the others that he really is the strapless Boss.
Ignite your strapless style and check out the North Kiteboarding Wave boards HERE
Mr. 4 lines vs. Mr. 5 lines
4 or 5 lines - a question nearly as old as Kitesurfing itself!
Well, let's see how these two guys figure out the advantages and disadvantages of both systems!
Court's Council - Product Tips & Tricks
After getting a lot of questions from people on the beaches of the world, Tom Court decided to start a little series of videos on how to do those little things that nobody ever tells you how to do.
So, Courts Council will be an ongoing series explaining some of the things that help. It is a video blog for all the useful product tip & tricks that Tom Court learns along the ways.
Any questions that you have about you northkiteboarding equipment, bars, boots, boards or kites... then hopefully he can help you with this series of short clips listing some of the lesser know tricks that will help you trim your kite to your style!
Follow Court's Council ... http://goo.gl/hglXy2
Tom Court releases the Freeride Project 2!
North Kiteboarding Rider Tom Court makes up a quarter of the well known Freeride Project. Four of the worlds top riders on a travelling mission meeting up in the hottest kite spots around the globe to ride compete, and party. Some might say 'living the dream'? Well, that's pretty much spot on!
The Freeride Project started out as an idea that the four members of the UK Crew had back in 2011. Tom Court (NKB), Sam Light (Slingshot), James Boulding (Cabrina) and Aaron Hadlow started to travel the together as an unstoppable quartet, documenting their antics and riding all of which culminated in a feature length movie that represented the sport that they are so passionate about...Kiteboarding.
It's refreshing to see a larger scale production done 'just for fun!' Everything that you see is from them, no hired help, using their own equipment, resources and occasionally sweet talking a mate to get behind the lens. Edited and produced by Tom, the Freeride Project 2 is a real 'family' affair and 100% authentic. Movies of a similar calibre are often so heavily Brand orientated that the authenticity gets lost along the way. Following the success of the first Freeride Project movie and the general fan base that grew and got behind the UK Crew, it certainly motivated these four riders into doing something even better second time round.
The movie will take you on a trip to some of the most off the beaten track kite spots in the world as well as some of the most famous. South Africa, Greece, Cape Hatteras, Egypt and Russia, each section of the movie has killer kiteboarding action with a bit of wakeboarding mixed in. The style of riding is predominantly wakestyle, you'll see Tom throw down some slick moves riding the North Dice and Gambler but, the Cape Town section see's Red Bull King of The Air taking place and breath taking mega loops from the boys.
Tom Court has always believed in the Freeride Project, the concept of which is 'feeding your passion through Freeriding.' There's a strong message there that one might think appeals to the masses, the general kiteboarder, the NON-competitive rider who gets on the water for the pure adoration of the sport. The other side of it is the freedom behind the sport, that no strings attached, at one with nature vibe that really gets the juices flowing. Both of these nuggets of pleasure come across so well in the Freeride Project 2 movie, that even the most unmotivated of kiteboarders will get that warm fuzzy feeling when watching it. Its a movie that will encourage people to learn, reignite that furnace of passion for the sport, encourage kiteboarders around the world to discover new aspects of the sport but most importantly it will spark a new motivation within you, that, get up and go that we so often loose through the monotony of daily life. You'll want to book tickets to far destinations with only a few kites and a board in tow.
So sit back, enjoy some of the best kiteboarding in the world and remember, you only live once.