Kitesurfing Day 1

Dominic McBride Wilson coaching

‘The Kite Project’ story

On the 12th March 2011 Exmouth saw the arrival of a group of enthusiastic students from ISCA College of Media Arts, as ‘The Kite Project’ made it’s beginning.

The simple concept behind this project is to teach teenagers to kitesurf by providing lessons free of charge. The high cost of lessons and equipment limits a wider access into the sport, especially amongst the younger generation.

The initial idea to teach kitesurfing to teens arose when I (Dominic McBride, 2nd year Economics student at the University of Exeter) heard about the Floella Benjamin Award in late November 2010. The award offers £1000 to five successful applicants who best describe how they would use the funding to benefit their future.  At that point I didn’t know what my finished project would look like, but the idea to provide lessons free or charge had come about.

Over the days to follow I was lucky enough to have the enthusiasm from both Clare Whittaker, the sports co-ordinator of ISCA College of Media Arts, and Robin Snuggs, pro rider and instructor. A plan started to materialise naturally and one month later when I found out my application had been approved, I was ecstatic to get things underway! Over March, April and May, twelve selected applicants from ISCA College will be taught in three groups of four by Robin Snuggs and myself.

Saturday 12th March – Day One: The idea behind the opening day was for all three groups to meet each other and have some fun trying out a new sport in Exmouth. Flexifoil, one of our sponsors, had provided us with a range of land and water based kitesurfing equipment as well as a free t shirt and rash vest for everyone.

As we handed out the free stash and opened up the new kites, we made some quick introductions followed by a group photo outside Edge Watersports. The weather forecast had promised us a solid 10 – 15 knots of wind throughout the day, and by the start time of 10 o’clock the sun was already showing it’s warmth. We were in luck for sure.

Throughout the day everyone rotated turns on the trainer kites, whilst Rob and I gave tips on technique mixed in with some basic wind theory. Smiles all round said that the day was going well, all the way up to the finish at 4 o’clock. We are excited that the project has gotten underway and look forward to the next three months where we hope to see some young talent shine through.

There are various schemes and businesses to which Rob and I owe a huge thank you to for their contribution to The Kite Project. The University of Exeter, where I am currently an undergraduate, has two of these schemes. Firstly, The Floella Benjamin Award, which has provided the necessary funds to pay for the insurance cost of teaching for this year and next year, as well as website costs. Secondly, the Sports Volunteering Scheme is contributing to the cost of my kitesurfing instructor’s course. Edge Watersports is a well-established kitesurf school situated at Exmouth Duck Pond and the owners, Steph and Eric Bridge, have agreed to help our project by providing equipment from wetsuits to harnesses as well as safety gear. Additionally Flexifoil are providing all the kites and boards we need.

Article written by Dominic McBride Wilson.

Date: 17 March 2011