We met with Tyrone, owner of OneMovement Events and Marketing, and a committee member of the South African Kitesurfing Association.
What does SAKA do?
“SAKA is involved with everything to do with kitesurfing in South Africa from events and sponsorship to dealing with council to assist in putting procedures in place to benefit the industry, the participants as well as the general public safety. SAKA also managed to send a young lady Dorothy Gouws to the Youth Olympic Games in October in Beunos Aires, Argentina. This season, thanks to KFC Blouberg’s sponsorship the events side of things have been able to run smoothly and we have been focusing on other matters such as the overcrowding in Langebaan where we have been working closely with SANPARKS.”
How much does kitesurfing cost?
“On average, you can get a kite set up for about 28 thousand Rands. In general, whilst you can get going with one kite, generally, people have two to four kites. Your start-up is of about 28 thousand, but the additional kite is like 20. Then again, an average bicycle is around 45 thousand Rands.”
Gear can be quite expensive, how do you plan on getting more people on board and what charities are you involved with?
“It’s an expensive sport but most hobbies these days are- just looking at cycling. There is a lot of second-hand and affordable kit available and generally, stores offer great start up packages which will include everything to get you up and going.
For the past few years, SAKA has been working with the SAVE foundation – they are based in Tableview. They have an after school program, where they teach the kids different skills based around sports: swimming and skateboarding and evolving into surfing and lifesaving with the end goal of potential job placement in those fields – as long as they keep their grades up and behave well. That way they keep them off the streets.
Admittedly, we have been a bit tired up this season with issues of “access to water” but have started negotiations with a few of the kite schools to “adopt” a candidate from the SAVE program for the next two years to get them confident in the water and with the kite and up and riding as well as assisting with lessons with the end goal to become a qualified instructor.”
Can you tell me more about the problems with the council? Kitesurfing is huge – people come from all over the world to ride here.
“Kitesurfing is growing. In 2017 we found that there were over seventeen thousand foreigners, that came to South Africa for a wind-driven-purpose. KLM has a flight specifically out of Holland or Germany, where its just wind-surfers. So, you can stand at Cape Town International and see that flight come off, filled with guys that are renting cars and piling boards double the size of the car onto the roof!
The problem is that there are too many people in a concentrated area, specifically in Langebaan and Hermanus. There is only so much space on the main beach and the industry has grown – there are ten kite schools in Langebaan alone – the town doesn’t even have a traffic light! With Langebaan specifically SANPARKS had to step in and implement a few rules and regulations, SAKA has worked closely with them as we agree that it was starting to become unsafe for both the kiters as well as the students and the general public.”
“They started implementing restrictions with regards to the schools and the number of instructors on the beach per school. There is a permit system for both the schools as well as the individual instructors.
The restrictions started with the schools as they are easier to manage. As a kiter, you can get onto the water anywhere. So to control individual riders is difficult, ’cause you’d literally need to have a policeman at every point, of access to the beach which is completely unrealistic.”
How does the KFC Summer Kitesurf Series work?
“It is a series of events covering a number of the sports disciplines: Wave Riding, Big Air and Freestyle. We also had an industry demo day where all the brands came together with their 2019 gear for people to test against one another to make an informed decision on their next purchase. We create the events in order to give South African kiters an opportunity to compete. We have a number of foreigners and “first timers” entering the events, it’s their opportunity to go up against some of the local heroes and see how they fare and push themselves.”
How do you measure the jumps?
“There’s a device called ‘WOO‘. Which is like a GPS that attaches to the board, it records height, time and g-force. I think the new one can also capture rotation, and sort of give you a full reading of what you’re doing in the air.”
Any advice you want to give an aspiring and current kitesurfer?
“If you want to get into kitesurfing, you must go to a kite school. A big part of the issue we’ve had in Langebaan is exactly that. Many guys may be capable kiters, but not necessarily competent kite teachers. All the kite schools instructors go through certifications. There is an international certification they all need to have, in order to properly teach. It’s an issue in many countries – where non-certified teachers teach other people – that’s when you hear horror stories of people going into fences, car parks and over roofs!”
To learn more about SAKA, check out their website on http://www.saka.co.za/.
In the meanwhile, watch out for our next article and videography for the Wave Riding event and more kitesurfing related news and updates.
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