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01 August 2017

Kitesurfing the Great Barrier Reef

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Interviews

Adventure to the outer reef

Kitesurfing the Great Barrier Reef

I’ve spent the last few years trying to coordinate this Great Barrier Reef kite trip. I’d heard whispers of remote waves that only break in certain conditions and rumours of their location but all the locals who surf out there stay tight-lipped. Nobody shares this kind of knowledge.

So over the last couple of years, whenever I was fishing up there, I’d look for waves. I scoped out patches of reef with potential and I started putting together a plan to come back and kite it one day.

18 May 2017

Kite-Specific FCS II Signature Fin

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

My signature kitesurfing fins are now available!

Kite-Specific FCS II Signature Fin

I've been working with FCS for over 10 years now, and over the past two years we've been developing the world's first kite-specific fin. They're finally ready to go and I'm so proud to see them out there.

Projects like this are one of the best things about what I do. There's nothing better than testing different products and working with designers to refine them and give other riders the best experience in the water. 

A lot of hard work has gone into this product from all of us and it's been awesome working with the team at FCS.  These fins are made from the best materials and designed especially to withstand kitesurfing's high speed and pressure. But we haven't neglected surf-performance either; this fin is still responsive enough to use for regular surfing.

I predominantly ride a thruster setup because I feel it works best in the widest range of conditions; it's predictable and controlled. I still ride a quad in certain conditions, however I chose to work with FCS specifically on a thruster. If you're interested in getting yourself a quad as well, I recommend an FCSII carver quad rear set as an addition. These work perfectly with my fins and I actually got a lot of inspiration from the FCSII carver fin.

16 May 2017

SoloSports Kite Weeks April/May 2017

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Looking back on two weeks of Mexico magic in Punta San Carlos

SoloSports Kite Weeks April/May 2017

I've just returned from hosting two small coaching-focussed camps at SoloSports in Baja, Mexico. These weeks are not for the faint-hearted; it's an adventure from the moment you arrive at SoloSport's rocky airstrip till the moment you land back at San Diego's Brown Airfield. Kevin, Joey and the team down in Baja take care of us all with amazing food, the best kiting, mountain biking, surfing and SUP'ing gear, ice-cold cervezas, and comfortable tents overlooking the waves.

08 March 2017

Strapless Front-side Air

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Learn to land your first front side kitesurfing air

Strapless Front-side Air

Frontside airs are a lot of fun and are great to practice on small waves or wind chop. The best conditions are cross-onshore to onshore winds with smaller steep waves.

As always, kite position is critical and will vary depending on what kind of air you want to do; you might aim for a long, flat air or a high, vertical air. The conditions will really affect where your kite should be; on light days, if your kite is low it won’t provide much lift and will instead drag you sideways rather than providing height so you’ll need to keep your kite a little higher to get that lift. 

11 January 2017

Unstrapped Back-Roll

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A step-by-step guide to landing your first strapless back-roll

Unstrapped Back-Roll

The unstrapped back-roll is a great starting point if you’re new to aerials as they’ll help you practice control through the air and develop your ability to land moves.

CONDITIONS: back-rolls are easiest in side-shore or side-onshore wind as you can head directly at the chop or wave and get a really good launching pad. But you don’t need a wave to practice on, just a decent bit of wind chop. 

10 January 2017

Ultimate Unhooking Conditions

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

What conditions and locations to look for when you want to kite unhooked

Ultimate Unhooking Conditions

Unhooking can be done in most conditions, however some are definitely better than others. It’s especially important if you’re practising to choose user-friendly conditions so here’s my list of what to look for:

- Clean, steady wind i.e. not gusty or dirty

- Wind speed of between 10-25knts. Over 25 is usually more unpredictable and unsuitable for unhooking. Plus, the windier it becomes the smaller kite you’ll be riding which typically means it will turn and respond faster leaving less room for error. Larger kites have a slower response time and give you a little leeway, which is helpful when you’re starting out unhooked.

- Wind direction: unhooking is easiest in side-onshore all the way around to side-shore conditions. Side-off or offshore is still possible although much harder.

- Downwinders are great for starting out with unhooking as there’s no pressure to stay upwind or frustration when you mess up a wave. 

10 January 2017

Unstrapped, Unhooked Backhand Top Turn

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A step-by-step guide to flowing from your bottom turn through top turn

Unstrapped, Unhooked Backhand Top Turn

For me, the best feeling in kitesurfing is riding backside unhooked. I can really open up my whole body and make it feel like surfing. One of the key moves is a basic backside top turn. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, the bottom turn is the foundation that sets up pretty much everything. So we’ll start by setting up an unhooked bottom turn and flowing through to the top turn. 

Unhooking during this move is optional but it does allow you to open up your body far more than doing it hooked-in. Side-shore to side-onshore conditions are ideal as your kite will readily drift down the line and not pull you off the wave. 

10 January 2017

Understanding Wind Direction

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

DID YOU KNOW that just because the wind is side-shore to the beach doesn’t mean that it is side shore to the wave?

Understanding Wind Direction

Even advanced riders can come unstuck by not understanding this basic principal. 

It’s easy to assess the wind direction when you’re standing on the beach and think, “ok it’s side-shore, I’ll be able to practise unhooking today.” In reality the waves might be at a different angle to the beach, making the wind direction relative to the wave side-offshore. It might not seem like a big deal but confusion here can lead to a really frustrating session. 

03 January 2017

Kitesurfing how to: Strapless Drop Wallet

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Nail your first strapless drop wallet

Kitesurfing how to: Strapless Drop Wallet

At home on the Sunshine Coast where the wind is predominantly side-onshore, the old-school Drop Wallet is ideal. I also think it’s one of the most timeless moves you can do, especially if it’s done right.

This move really utilises the kite. I often talk a lot about using the power of the kite or the power of the wave and then combining the two. In this particular move, I’m using the full power of the kite.

16 December 2016

FREEDOM Kite Mag Goes to the Mexico Kite Week

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A first-hand account

FREEDOM Kite Mag Goes to the Mexico Kite Week

It’s not everyday you get an email inviting you to the other side of the world, to camp out in the middle of the desert and do nothing but the important things in life. Yes, of course, like kite, surf and chill.

It was time to pack for the next adventure.

 

What’s unique about this particular camp is unlike most kite trips, you don’t need to take kite or surfing gear! Apart from your own harness and your cold-water rubber, everything you need for this adventure is ready waiting for you.

 

It’s refreshing rocking up to the airport with only one bag instead of the normal rigmarole of getting hassled by the check-in agents for having too much gear, then having to trawl through airports and taxis with your arms full and three trolleys all fighting each other. One bag feels so good!

 

14 December 2016

Backhand Bottom Turn

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Perfect your bottom turn to set up the perfect wave

Backhand Bottom Turn

The bottom turn is the foundation that provides power for your next turn, setting up the rest of your wave. Without a good bottom turn, you won’t have the speed and flow in place for whatever you want to do next. If you’re trying to make a steep, vertical turn and rail change you need the speed to do so; the bottom turn is the deciding factor. 

 

25 September 2016

Kite Fiji's Coral Coast

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Downwinders, wave kiting & more at Matanivusi

Kite Fiji's Coral Coast
Earlier this month (September 2016) I took a small group of guests straight from the Namotu Kite Weeks down the Coral Coast to Matanivusi. The resort is set amongst the rainforest beside the ocean on Viti Levu's windward side. Miles of pristine water, reef breaks and just 8 of us kiting.
 
I’ve been coming to this area to fish, kite and surf for about 15 years but a couple of years ago I decided to find somewhere to host kite weeks and Matanivusi was the obvious choice in the area. With some of Fiji's best surf breaks and kiteboarding spots at its doorstep plus world-class fishing, whitewater rafting and onsite yoga studio it is hard to beat. The Trade Wind blows really consistently on this side of Viti Levu so from July to November surfing can be blown out but the kiting is incredible. Matanivusi is close to Frigates, Fiji Pipe and a huge selection of downwind kiting destinations as well as offering an exclusive experience similar to Namotu. 
 
Thanks to Pete, Stu, Laurel, Tony, Richard, James & Lance for joining me on the first test trip. After an incredible week of kiting, exploring the area and relaxing we’ll be doing it again in 2017. 
 
Stu put together an edit (bottom of page) to give you an idea of the area and what we did during our stay. Find out more about this kitesurfing trip and see more photos here

08 August 2016

2016/17 Kite Trips in Australia, Mexico & the Philippines

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Find the trip that's right for you

2016/17 Kite Trips in Australia, Mexico & the Philippines

For Australians August means winter is almost over and it's time to start thinking about the kite season ahead - trips, new gear, warmer water and wind.

We have a couple of kite trips right here in Aus over the next few months; one with BWSURF's Pete O'Keefe for beginners, and one with me for intermediate/advanced kiters who want to work on their wave skills. Learn some new skills at the start of the season so you can make the most of it!

For Americans I know August means something totally different, but if you're already planning for next season, check out the SoloSports Kite Weeks in April/May and September next year. The place is absolutely incredible and a buck-list destination for kiters, windsurfers and surfers alike.  

14 July 2016

Namotu Island Kite Week

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Highlights from July 2016

Namotu Island Kite Week

We've just returned from the first of 2016's Kite Weeks. Thanks to everyone who joined us in for another incredible week on Namotu Island, Fiji. Although we didn't get a whole lot of wind I think we all had a great time. There were plenty of extra activities and workshops with Pete & Trev. 

Thanks to Mandy & Scotty plus all my crew for keeping everyone busy - Trevor Hendy, Pete Evans, Pete O'Keefe, Stu Gibson, Stew Howard, Mitch, Azza, Nikki & Sasha. 

Here's a clip by Tom Rawlins with some highlights (www.rawlensmedia.com). 

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Ben Wilson Coaching 2017

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