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Expert advice from real kiters
Mind The Kiters
A combined sailing-kitesurfing Greek island adventure with a bunch of kiting mates.
Amazing weather, superb sailing conditions, even better kiting, launching from a boat, having plenty of laughs… It’s hard for Renato to pick his most memorable kiting experience, but that would have to be up there.
A Tyrrhenian Sea baptism of sorts
Born in Sardinia, Italy, Renato has seawater running in his veins. The local doctor didn’t mess about introducing him to wild water. When he was a baby he was down on the beach with his family and their friends. The doctor was also there soaking up some vitamin D. She picked him up, carried him to the water, and plonked him in it. He’s been a fish ever since. It was only a matter of time before he followed the path of his paternal ancestry and started sailing. He was a skipper by his early teens.
Caught on kiting
Once he finished school, Renato packed up and set off to explore the world. He discovered kitesurfing in the Netherlands but was only sailing back then. When he later went holidaying in Tarifa, he booked himself into a kiting school. Bang - he was hooked. He instantly got all the gear and then returned to the UK (where he has been living the last eight years), bought a wetsuit, and continued to feed the growing addiction.
Getting air - when time stands still
There’s so much Renato loves about kiting.
Firstly, it connects him to water. That in itself is a hook. But then you jump, and your life is ruined. It’s ruined, because nothing else feels quite like getting air. For those five - six seconds you’re boosting, time is suspended. Then you land and the clock catches up. It’s a constant chase for that feeling. Renato used to do tricks, but then he broke a rib trying to do a backroll, and that put a stop to things.
Now, he’s all about air time. His highest jump so far is 13.4m on a Blade Trigger. All his kites are Blades - it was the first brand he saw back then in Tarifa, and he stayed loyal. When it came time to an upgrade, he found a few suppliers in the US, and then he found Kitesurf Warehouse. He was after a 12M, but it was out of stock, so Nigel offered him a 14M for the same price. He’s been a top customer ever since. Some of his gear is now old enough for a museum, he thinks. But that’s ok, because he just takes it back to Sardinia where he has a growing collection of Italian kit. That means he’s not lugging equipment from one country to the other.
A kiting community and camaraderie
When Renato first moved to Wycombe in South England, he was on the beach and thought he heard someone singing. But it wasn’t just any song. It was a song you would only sing if you were Italian. He didn’t believe his ears. He listened some more, and sure enough, it was. He approached the guy singing. The two hit it off, and Renato was soon introduced to other kiters.
Before he knew it, he was part of a really great group of people. They all loved kiting, they all loved having fun, they all got on so well. They now call themselves ‘mindthekiters’. That’s the name of their whatsapp group (become a fan on Instagram), and it’s what they print on their hoodies and t-shirts whenever they go around the world on one of their group kitesurfing adventures (like the trip to Greece). They’ve been to Spain, Canary Islands, Italy, Greece, Brazil. Good times… With his feet firmly in two water sports (sailing and kiting), Renato confesses the latter seems more welcoming and less elitist, even though technically you can still be a sailor in a simple dinghy.
Kitesurfing in England and Italy
When he’s in England, Renato will chase the wind. He has no problem driving 1.5 - 2 hours to get to the right conditions, so he can end up anywhere. Brighton, Devon, Cornwell, North Kent. If it weren’t for kiting, he would never have ended up in English water. It’s too brown for this Sardinian, who was raised on those iconic, postcard perfect turquoise waters. But he loves the fierce British conditions. Almost any day you can find a big swell, storms and wind somewhere.
Over in Sardinia (he goes back around three times a year) it can pack a punch, too. When the Mistral (north-west) kicks in, you can find 40-knot plus winds. Beaches close to his home in Olbia are either too packed in summer, or kiting is not permitted. So, he tends to travel further north to emptier beaches. When it’s off season, the world’s your oyster.
It was supposed to be a birthday/kitesurfing adventure this year to Africa to celebrate his fortieth birthday, but obviously coronavirus is suggesting alternative plans might be necessary. The Caribbean is still on his target list as well. But meanwhile, there’s always those brown waters and crazy good winds of south England…