Camber Kite Week August 2011
Having spent the summer photographing kitesurfers, windsurfers and other watersports, Anthony Skinner (aka Ant) and Phil Elbrough (aka Philys), from Camber Kitesurfing invited me along to the Kite Week Festival.
I rocked up to this event and it turned out to be the highlight of my summer ! as it was a collaboration of the various local Kitesurf Centres and their friends to celebrate the sport and the friendships it builds.
‘Ant’ arranged an amazing camping venue on a local farm near Rye, which was very private and set in amongst a natural amphitheatre of trees. Various vans and tents appeared over the first few days and pretty soon a community of water sports enthusiasts from all over the world was formed. Kit was discussed, tips exchanged, venues reviewed and local knowledge shared.
The central point of the camp was the camp fire, which was roaring fiercely every night and we ended up shooting the breeze, listening to tales of kite surf antics and stories of huge air, which did get bigger as the beer flowed !
There was even a hot shower erected, an innovation designed by ‘Ant’, who never ceased to amaze me with his ideas.
A sweat lodge was ingeniously built as well from old kites, and slaps of concrete were heated up on the fire, then placed in the centre of the lodge where water and essential oils were added. IT WORKED ! much to the guys delight as the girls had to get down to their bikinis !! another innovative success.
We drove the short distance to Jury’s Gap Camber Beach and that’s where the action really was.
Camber is an amazing venue for this sport. Enthusiasts drive down from London after a day at work to catch the thermals (pic of suited bloke), which gives Camber a weather climate all of its very own. Clouds build over the headland, producing a wind which provides ample kiting time. At low tide the water is shallow so it is perfect for novices or newbies to the sport, and the waters out the back are edgy and challenging. A wreck off the beach and the knarly wooden groins also add to the dimension of this venue.
At high tide pro riders come into their own, the groins which jut out into the sea give an air of danger. They can board skim on inches of water, and turn sharply to race out to sea again. Chris Calthrop K48 took to the waters to give a spectacular display of aerobatics, and Ant gave a thrilling demonstration of board skills.
From a spectators point of view the beach is a mass of colour and you are able to see the kiters up close, which can be breath taking when they leap and pull off tricks.
The finale party was just as fantastic with the local bar filled with kites to make the stage for the band ‘Undercover’, they got everyone up dancing and the tired legs from a day on the water were forgotten.
So, I can’t wait until next year it can only get bigger and better.
Camber Kitesurfing isn’t just about the sport, it’s about the people too.
Photography by Victoria Shorland, Sea Yourself In Action Photography 07789512825.