Hi Christophe and thanks for giving us the opportunity to learn more about kitesurf, this will be an interview that all newbies will enjoy...
- Did you see any increase in people learning kitesurf in the last 2 years?
I think the sport has reached a plateau and has been pretty stable for the past few years as far as newcomers are concerned. What has changed is the percentage of persons continuing to kitesurf after a course which has increased. This is certainly due to the fact that improvements in kite design make the sport less extreme than years gone by...
- Kitesurf evolves year after year but being a new sport it still has some way to go in order to be more user friendly, in your opinion which is the most important section of this exciting sport that needs improvement?
Like so many other sports kitesurfing will never be 100% safe. Getting newcomers to the sport learn the fundamental rules of kitesurfing at an early stage is crucial. We need more experienced instructors with better qualifications. The kitesurfing qualification needed to become an instructor these days is so low some organizations offer a “License” to teach within a week. No other sport offers this... Result , an abundance of mediocre “qualified” instructors. It is down to the point where saying you are qualified does not look good anymore as a good instructor does not need certificates to justify his competence.
- Any advice, tips or even warnings for anyone looking to dive into the world of Kitesurfing?
Make sure you have a lot of time to spare because you will waist a lot driving around and waiting for wind.
- Being a Kitesurfer some times hurts a lot, which part of the body in your opinion should be looked after when exercising this sport?
Kitesurfing stresses your body differently depending on different disciplines within the sport. You basically need strong legs, especially for kite racing, common freestyle injuries are knee and ankle related with also broken ribs because of jumps and hard landings, wave riders need to have strong cardio vascular and to be good swimmers. When there is no wind I train by swimming and cycling.
- Where are the best Kitespots in Cyprus for someone looking to kitesurf there?
For beginners and improvers Paramali beach has the best combination of steady wind, flat sea and a long and un- crowded sandy beach. For riders past the early stages there are many more such as Curium, Avdimou, Pervolia etc. Because of the dominant south/west wind they are all situate on the south coast of the island.
-Did you ever Kitesurf in Greece and if so what was the Kitespot you've visited?
I never kitesurfed in Greece but windsurfed many years ago in Kos and Rhodos.
- From your personal experience what are the best Kitespots for a newbie looking to get enough kitesurf time while enjoy his holidays?
Well, I am probably one of the worst persons to who this question should be asked. I always travel with hope to find big waves and minimum crowds. Beginners seek flat water, easy access and some kind of assistance (kite center). Egypt, Brasil or Greek islands in the summer are the first that come to my mind.
- Do you practice helmet, life-vest and/or Kiteboard leash as an extra security measurement for your students? If not please let us know the reasons.
Helmets and life vest are available if requested but I do not propose them automatically for lessons. I promote safety by teaching no more that 2 students simultaneously , only when the conditions are right, and use a wide open beach. In kitesurfing distance is your friend and wearing a life vest or helmet will not stop you from hurting others. I spend at least 3 hours practicing kite control on the beach before sending students to the water using beginner specific kites with very short lines. Board leashes are completely prohibited and students are given the board only when they are capable of body dragging upwind. Using this technique for the past thirteen years of teaching kitesurfing I have had no kites torn and zero student injuries (apart from sun burns and sore feet).
- Kitesurf replaced Windsurf in the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro but this decision has raised some critical voices about Kitesurfing not being safe enough, at least at the moment, for qualifying as an Olympic sport. Whats your take in this?
First of all this is not 100% sure. Another vote takes place in November which will be the final decision on whether kite race makes it to the Olympics but I don't think safety as being an issue at the Olympics. At that level participants are highly experienced and kite racing should be safer than fencing or downhill skiing I think that the main issue is about kite racing replacing windsurfing which I am totally against. Windsurfing has always been the most popular craft worldwide among the existing Olympic sailing categories and therefore should be the last to be “replaced”.
- Which term - Kitesurf or Kiteboard - do you think should be used globally after sport going live at 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro?
Most people KITEBOARD using a Twin tip board, but as a KITESURFER (I kite waves with a surfboard) I would like a clear distinction between the different aspect of the sport. Considering the Olympic class does not represent the real image of the sport which is big jumps, freestyle , extreme wave riding, I think it should be called KITERACE or maybe an “ RSX “ style name.
- In your opinion what does the future hold for Kitesurf?
To be honest I do not really care. For me the future is now and live this amazing sport each day as if there was no future.
Kitesurf.gr would like to thank Cristophe for this in-depth interview and wish him the best for his upcoming kitesurf adventures.
If you are going to visit Cyprus and want to combine this trip with kitesurfing I suggest you pay a visit to Cristoph;s website about Kitesurf in Cyprus.