Consistency - probably one of the most important traits you need for competition riding is consistency, for many riders have gotten stuck and lost competitions through not being consistent enough. Â Its not something you can buy in the shops or even think about, itâ€™s all about going down your local and practising every trick you know until you can do them blindfolded. Iâ€™m not saying do them with a blind fold but repetition, repetition and repetition are your three best friends for this one. But most Important of all if your not so confident on a certain trick but want to try it in competition save it for the last minute as you donâ€™t then waste a heat collecting your board or re-launching your kite.
Stamina - Â is not so important for normal riding but this does help in competition because most BKSA heats are seven minutes long, now to you that may not seem very long but if thatâ€™s your heat , it will feel like the longest seven minutes of your life. For me Iâ€™m usually pretty tired by the sixth minute but thatâ€™s when you need your energy most as thatâ€™s when you need to try your hardest most risky tricks. The only way of getting good stamina is by riding hard for as long as you can to keep your momentum going because as soon as you stop, your riding slows and tricks start becoming lame.
Technicality - we all know this word and what it implies, some of you may be saying that my riding isnâ€™t good enough or technical enough for competition but your wrong. In the first year of land comps the BKSA held, one rider came third by just doing foot outs and small kite loops, he came third because he simply landed every move he tried. So donâ€™t hold back because you donâ€™t think your good enough, how do you know?? You will never know if you donâ€™t try and its all for fun, so why not. Technicality will help you but consistency is so much more important you will always need to keep variation in your heats and keep your tricks at a high standard but being technical wonâ€™t win your heat if you canâ€™t land the tricks. Just remember as I said earlier always try your hardest most risky tricks in the last minute of the heat to save wasting time and loosing points.
Style - The current British Champion Jake Elston has probably won most or all of his heats due to his technical and smooth style that he adopted from the beginning of his riding. This is probably the most important trait you need to win competitions, itâ€™s what gives Lewis wilby his edge against the rest of the world and itâ€™s what gave jack the championship last year. Â With a good style no matter what you do you will make things look good and thatâ€™s very important. Some riders do this better than others, all you have to do is watch videos and you can see it because if it looks good it looks easy and thatâ€™s the biggest secret to riding in all walks… if you have the style then there is no stopping you, some get this naturally, some have to work hard for it but no matter what you do, if you donâ€™t have style then youâ€™ll get nowhere.
Confidence - so last but not least, I feel other than consistency, confidence is the key to winning competitions, I have always done my best when I am in a good frame of mind and confident with my kite and conditions. The best way to be confident is by flying a kite you love and being in the best possible conditions that you can fly in as flying in gusty winds is not confidence inspiring. But its not something you just get you need to ride and enjoy yourself and by doing that you gain confidence in your riding.
So Iâ€™ve given you five points on how to ride in competition by no means least are these all you need to ride, but build on what Iâ€™ve spoken about today, think of our sports future and where you want it to be. So if you have a shop sponsor come and join the proâ€™s and learn how to ride like one, if youâ€™re just an average rider try the amateur competitions, the sport wonâ€™t get better if you donâ€™t help make it better. The next BKSA run event is being held at Ayr in Scotland at possibly one of the best grass locations in Britain in September. In Europe there are the KLB German masters also being held in September. For more information on competition rules or event dates and up to date competition rankings go to www.britishkitesurfingassociation.co.uk
Keep riding and be safe …
Words: Ash Garwood
Photos: Marcus Woodbridge