People urged to give kitesurfing a go despite top kitesurfter's accident
The owner of a kitesurfing school in Lancing has echoed champion Lewis Crathern's assurance that it is a safe sport at amateur level.
Last month, British kitesurfing champion Lewis Crathen, from Worthing, was placed in a medically induced coma after an accident during a competition in South Africa.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald on February 25, Lewis talked about his recovery and was keen to stress that the sport was safe and he was ‘pushing the boundaries to the extreme’.
Founder of Lancing Kitesurf School Mark Rose this week added the sport in the big leagues has ‘risks’, but he did not want it to discourage people from giving it a try on the south coast.
He said: “We have to take into consideration that people like Lewis Crathern, Aaron Hadlow and Oli Sweeney are all champions, local to Worthing, which actually shows what great kitesurfing is here. They are taking it to the extreme and are at the high performance end of the sport, so what they are doing is not the type of kitesurfing you see on the beach here.
“It’s an adrenalin sport but it’s a safe sport. We have got so many safety systems built into the modern kits.”
Mark has been instructing kitesurfing for four years, but has been an avid surfer for more than a decade.
After discovering the ‘exhilaration’ of harnessing the wind to ride waves, Mark said he also found a close-knit community that embraces newcomers. Fifty-year-old Mark said age was not a factor when it comes to kitesurfing.
“Where else can I meet up and have a chat with a 20-year-old? We have all got a shared passion,” he added.
“There’s a very good social scene and lots of people meet regularly and they are just so helpful as well.”
And once bitten by the adrenalin bug, the sport can be very addictive, said the Lancing resident: “It really gets to you and becomes an obsession. You keep looking out of the window to check the winds.” Along the coasts of Lancing, Shoreham and Goring, Mark said there can be up to 150 people out on any given day.
“There’s always plenty of room for everyone,” he said.
“It is an activity that brings people together because it is essential to have someone with you in the waters when setting off.
“With kitesurfing you need someone also there to launch it and land it for you and it fosters a sense of bonding with each other.” Adur District Council has now recognised the increasingly popular nature of the sport, which is attracting more and more people each year.
Mark said: “Adur has been very proactive with watersports and they recognise it’s a growing industry.”
And any newcomer does not need to worry about buying equipment because Lancing Kitesurf School will provide everything people need.
Mark added: “There are wetsuits so you won’t be cold, you’ll be warm as toast.
“Also, the helmets have microphone communication, so while you’re out there I can speak to you and tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.”
In the past few years, Mark said kitesurfing had become a huge sport in Lancing particularly, and said it is one of the best coasts for the sport in Europe, which is why so many famed kitesurfers have derived from the area.
He said: “What happened to Lewis was an unfortunate fluke. The competition was looking for high octane manoeuvres which you won’t see on a local beach like this.”
To learn more about the school, go to www.lancingkitesurfschool.com
To get in touch with Mark, call 07888 842225 or email [email protected]
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