We chat to regular rider and kitesurfing instructor Angus Tobey
Cornwall is well established as a water sports playground and Summer 2016 is already providing more opportunities than ever for beginners to try new sports, or to push yourself and improve on what you can already do. With temperatures already exceeding the Mediterranean and Hawaii, we’re set for what could be a hot and beautiful summer here in Kernow (or, it might be a classic English summer, which is just as good!).
At Kernow Adventure Park, we love to work alongside other local sports enthusiasts and coaches to provide our customers with the best recommendations for water sports across the county (aside from wakeboarding, of course), whatever their ability or whatever the weather’s doing. Today we’re really happy to be sitting down with one of our regular riders and long-time friend of KAP, Angus Tobey, who owns The Hoxton Special kitesurfing school down at Long Rock, Penzance.
Tell us about the Hoxton Special!
I first tried kitesurfing in Greece in 2002 and since then have worked my way through both the IKO (International KiteSurfing Organisation) and the BKSA (British Kite Sports Association) instructor qualifications. I was a uni student in Falmouth 10 years ago and after living and working abroad I moved back to the UK and Cornwall a few years ago. I started The Hoxton Special in 2013 and have been really pleased to see how much awareness of the sport has grown and that more and more people are keen to learn.
Being based in here is brilliant because of the easy access to both the North and South coast; my location at Long Rock near Penzance is particularly well suited for teaching beginners because of the layout of the bay, but can also get pretty wild for more intermediate and advanced riders.
What’s it like learning to kitesurf in Cornwall?
During the winter the cold southerly winds rage against the shores of Cornwall and, for us kitesurfers, it is a winter wonderland, a cold but pristine playground for all things awesome. As we move into summer, it gets a bit hotter and the winds switch to a gentler northerly direction, which, if you are keen to learn kitesurfing, is brilliant. Gentle winds and warm waters are a winning combination when beginning to kitesurf; it’s an awesome sport and nothing comes close to the feeling of freedom it provides.
All of my lessons are individually tailored to the abilities and needs of my clients and I also try to do a lot of fitness and conditioning follow up to ensure that people feel energised. This is where I’ve seen the link between kitesurfing and wakeboarding; because of the nature of both sports, there is a lot of crossover in terms of physical demands and skills.
So, what’s the crossover like between kitesurfing and wakeboarding?
The main issue all kitesurfers have is obviously that the sport is incredibly weather dependent; no wind, no kitesurfing. My advice to friends and clients is always: if there’s no wind, don’t punish yourself by floating around with a massive kite not accomplishing much. Pack up your kit and head to the cable park to learn something new.
There are a number of very obvious advantages of being towed around by a cable: it doesn’t require any wind, it will teach you epic board control and edging techniques, if you like unhooked riding you’re in for a treat... and the people at KAP are awesome.
In terms of techniques, the lake at KAP is a perfect set up for nailing board control; the shape of the lake and cable set ups means that the coaches there can communicate with you easily and there’s an element of easy repetition that you can’t replicate when attached to a kite. Because the speed of the cable can be controlled, you can slowly build up as your confidence increases and the skills you'll learn in a controlled environment at the lake are completely transferrable to the wilder waters of the Cornish coast. It’s almost like a kitesurfing simulator in some respects. In terms of fitness, upper body and core strength is really important for kitesurfing and wakeboarding is a really easy and fun way to get some training done without slogging it at the gym.
Whether you're with the guys here at Kernow Adventure Park or with Angus on the water, the most important thing is to take advantage of the awesome facilities and talent we have access to in Cornwall. The waves, wind and water are a massive part of our lives here and it's always a huge pleasure for us to welcome people to Kernow Adventure Park and to recommend local coaches in other sports across the county.
If you'd like to book wakeboarding, click here. If have any questions about kitesurfing lessons or about how to build wakeboarding and kitesurfing into your physical training, contact Angus through www.thehoxtonspecial.com.
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