Free shipping may be possible - contact us
Secure online payment
Expert advice from real kiters
Big Wave Kiting & Luxury Sport Adventuring - Ant's Life
“If you can learn how to kitesurf in three months, we will pay for you to go on an instructor’s course”.
Stuff dreams are made of, right? For Ant, it was a reality.
At 16 years old, Ant had finished school in the UK and knew he didn’t want to continue studying. He wanted to do sports. He saw an ad placed in the paper by a sports holiday company, and so he applied.
Hey, presto, he was in Fuerteventura.
A keen surfer and natural athlete, in three months he got himself to a decent enough level of kiting, and registered in a course. Kiting turned out to be a lot easier and faster to grasp than surfing. Oddly, he’d never really liked the wind. But if you can’t beat it, join it, eh? Unfortunately, however, things didn’t quite go to plan. A few years later, the business went bust (although not before Ant qualified) and a global recession landed. By now Ant was 21 and had a son.
His response? He set up a surfing school.
Working in water sports
Ant put everything he had into his surfing business. Everything.
It sounds part fantasy; spending your days kiting and surfing, soaking up the sun. But the reality was altogether different. Days would start at 8am and finish by 1am. If he wasn’t teaching, he was marketing, managing admin, answering phone calls, fixing equipment, hunting down spare parts. The business grew. Ant found himself responsible for three trucks and a handful of employees. When you’re out on the water and teaching for up to eight hours a day and you are responsible for your own income as well as others, it can take the fun out of the sport. For Ant, it was work.
Old school kiting
He looks back now and regrets that he didn’t find more time to chill and chase the fun.
In those days, kiting was still in its infancy and he was hanging with original pros like the FlexiFoil Team riders Marcus Damsell, Fadi Issa, Darren Holvey, all surfing with C-Kites and two-lines. He sometimes thinks if he’d let himself focus on the passion as much as the profession, things may have turned out differently. These days, that’s exactly what he does. When the surfing business finished up, Ant found the fun again.
He’s riding a 127cm old-school twintip and enjoys all the facets of kitesurfing with it. Not just twintip - wakestyle, jumps and even wave-riding. This is what kitesurfing is for Ant, it’s all about having fun. It’s a unique sport that in his view, unfortunately, nowadays often is emulated with other sports like wakeboarding or surfing. Ant’s been a Blade Trigger man for much of his kiting life. He’s got a 7M, 9M and 12M, and it’s the 7M he loves the most. He flies it fast and low, turning quick. He loves the Blade’s old-fashioned power and how it cuts knife-sharp through the air.
“Slow down, young boy”
Ant spent all his childhood on the move.
His parents worked in oil, and so he was never in one country for more than a couple of years. He went from international school to international school in Hong Kong, India, America, Ghana, Egypt, Singapore and England. His accent is that classic international air lounge; it never really settles anywhere and depending on the word, will sound Canadian, South African, American, English, Australian, Kiwi. A really melting pot.
He speaks English, Spanish, German and a bit of Swiss German and although he lived in Egypt for two-and-a-half years, his Arabic isn’t what it used to be. That said, he can still say “slow down, young boy”. His adult life was just as geographically adventurous and after Fuerteventura, and a brief, miserable time working in offshore drilling along the Viking District (Norway to the Faroe Islands), Ant eventually found himself in Switzerland.
Want to get away on a luxury holiday sporting retreat?
Coronavirus aside, Ant Personal Training is now Ant’s full-time business, but it’s his brainchild, ShapeDays, that really gets our pulses racing. Imagine a luxury, sport adventure group holiday of no more than four clients and five members of staff. All your meals are prepared by a professional chef, and they’re as nutritious as they are delicious. Your days are spent led by a team of qualified sporting instructors. Activities will consist of anything from kitesurfing, hiking, coasteering to wild swimming and cycling.
Everything is designed to be bespoke to the individual. The day starts with sunrise yoga on the beach and finishes with a sports massage, time out in the jacuzzi or just relaxing in the luxury villa. And the location? Well, it’s prime beachfront bliss in El Roque, Fuerteventura. Ant’s there right now as he talks to us, sat on the balcony watching the kiters slice up and down the seafront. Not jealous.
Coronavirus may have pressed pause on life for a lot of us, Ant included, but he’s still looking forward to getting amongst the smacking winter swells, those waves that are like moving mountains, and chasing the fun.
Follow Ant via Instagram on @shapedays.ch or @antpersonaltraining