30th September 2017
“September was a month mostly for speaking, as the Freestyle and Big Air disciplines stopped off in the Netherlands. Finally it was time to get back on the live stream! The UK also delivered some superb wind for coaching and kiting…” Lewis Crathern
2017 Red Bull Megaloop Challenge
In 2016 a forecast never looked promising enough to run this event, so the 2017 version couldn’t have come sooner. The Red Bull Megaloop Challenge (main photo, above) is a really special event as it only happens in Holland/Zandvoort when the big storms arrive. A 48 hour notice is sent to the riders explaining it’s going to happen! This is my chance to broadcast my favourite discipline to the world on a huge scale. Streamed live via Red Bull TV, the event is a great showcase for Big Air Kiteboarding. The action is intense and the day seems to fly by as the riders boost over 20 meters trying to record the biggest ‘Megaloop’ to get through to the next round.
In one ear the director tells you to cut to commercial in 30 seconds whilst you’re delivering the statistics from the previous heat. At the same time you see the biggest move of the day out the window and you spill your coffee whilst standing up in a rush to see the landing!! The pressure to deliver clear, concise and efficient commentary in this environment is addictive – I love it!
Joshua Emmanual from South African won the event. Congratulations – he really took on the Europeans and did well. Of course there was time for a quick ride myself 🙂
World Kiteboarding League Texel
The WKL is the tour for the freestylers and my role would be to speak on the live stream again. Freestyle differs from Big Air as the focus is on low-level exciting wake boarding style tricks. Originally it was my main discipline, so I still have a good knowledge of what is happening.
So much has changed on the Freestyle World Tour since I last saw a competition live. This event blew me away! Grandstands for the public, rider areas, media teams, good food – the list goes on. The Freestyle discipline has simply become incredibly professional and it’s on the verge of exploding on to TV around the world. With deals done with the likes of Sky Sports and Globo TV, Kiteboarding has a reach of 600 Million + viewers for 2018.
One of the reasons for this is that the format has changed. In the past multiple riders would go crazy on the water for 7 or 8 minutes, which made it hard for the judges and spectators to see. Now riders take it in turns, each scoring points from the judges. This is the best bit for me. There are now numbers to play with! At the end of the day I can research the data and produce some really interesting statistics like the highest scoring tricks, who’s had a good day, who’s had a bad one, which continent has the most consistent riders and so on. I call these ‘Crathstats’ and even though it’s early days I’ve been able to deliver them via the live stream already.
At this moment I have never been more excited about commentating. I’ve confirmed to attend the next 3 events this year and can’t wait to see where it goes.
Windguru Episode 4: Maps
Continuing on with my Windguru tips videos, this time in Episode 4 we look at the MAPS section. As our sport is so dependent on the weather, it makes sense to be able to view it in a number of different ways. Through the Windguru Website there are three different ways to access a rich variety of information from all over the planet: Forecasts, Spots and Stations.
In Forecast view you can see what is happening on the map whilst scrolling the different days and times to see the how the weather is changing. You can also take a look at other measurements like Temperature / Pressure and Rain / Clouds. Spots show you all the official spots on Windguru and by clicking Stations you’ll see all the live wind weather information from the Windguru Weather stations around the world. Watch the episode here.
A couple of sessions were spent coaching in September. Brian and I had a great one-2-one at Lancing and, pictured here, Rosi & Tobias are about to head out with me in Worthing. After an individual hour’s coaching, I hooked up all our Bb Talkin headsets which meant all 3 of us could communicate together at the same time! It is almost surreal doing this especially when you have a close couple part of the equation.
Watch this space for some new innovative ideas I have for the World Kiteboarding League livestream using these devices. The technology is available so we can now hear live thoughts of riders on the water 🙂
Top 3 on the WOO Leaderboards UK
We have had some really good strong wind in the UK. As the saying goes, ‘the stronger the wind, the higher we go’. Simply put, when it blows hard it’s a chance to get some huge jumps on the WOO sports leaderboards. I’m looking to defend my 2017 biggest jump (22.3 meters) but with a 19.2 I could only get to 3rd place this year. Toby Raw from just down the road out-boosted the rest of us on the very same day with a 21.5 so he sits in first place.
I have decided that I want to record the biggest annual jump in the UK each year for the rest of my life (injuries and old age allowing) so I have not got long to knock Toby off the top before the year is out!
Below, enjoying a nice session with my friend Brad at home, with the famous Pier in the background.
The Marine Conservation Society finished their video featuring Kitesurfing and Worthing. It’s awesome! Take a look here.
This update comes right from the Live Stream Booth in Turkey for WKL round 3. The wind’s just dropped which finally gave me time to share my latest with you! You can tune in live here each day, 5th-8th Oct.