Australian Kiteboarding Championships at Royal Brighton YC

2014 National Freestyle Champion Declan McCarthy - Australian Kiteboarding Championships 2014
Rick Pryce
Australian Kiteboarding Championships 2014 were held at Royal Brighton Yacht Club. 'Crude' and 'basic' were the words sailing legend John Bertrand used to describe the foilboard Sydney kiter Jordan Girdis made.

Jordan looked pretty proud, so he should be; he and his homemade foilboard just became part of Australian kiting folklore at Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

The young Sydney sider, who finished third in the augural race for foils (Lachlan Doyle is Australia’s first national championship for foil boarding), is now a sailing legend marking a defining moment when kite racing, freestyle and foils became publicly accepted by Australia’s most respected captain.

Mr Bertrand, the Australian sailing legend who skippered Australia II to victory in the 1983 America's Cup, then went on inspecting the kites.

In an interview with the ABC, Mr Bertrand said kiteboarding has a long way to go in terms of becoming more aero and hydro dynamic.

'This is just the beginning for this sport and this new class of sailing,' he said.

'These are very fine young men and women, enjoying the ocean in an exhilarating way. The future is very bright for them and their sport.'

You could feel the pride in Gold Coast kiter David De Witt’s face who had spent the last six days running around doing everything he could to help make the National Kiteboarding Championships run smoothly.

2014 women’s race winner Lisa Hickman was beaming. Photographer Rick Pryce, who spends most of his spare time trying to promote the sport with his photos and videos ordered shots all round that night to celebrate.

It’s fair to say, each day of the national championships got better and better.

None of the competition would have been possible without the dedication of RBYC volunteer Debra Lloyd and SHQ shop owner Hudson Godfrey-Smith.

'Kiteboarding is a very exciting part of sailing and this is the future for yacht clubs to bring new people to them,' Ms Lloyd said.

'In the racing, we had 12 races scheduled and we got through them, the good old Brighton seabreeze came through.

'We had a great team of volunteers and a high level of professionalism.

'I challenge other sailing clubs to get involved with kiteboarding and make them part of our sailing family.

National Freestyle Champion Declan McCarthy said everything fell into place for him.

'I did enough work in singles to get through it was an epic event and I would like to see it here again,' he said.

'I’m studying outdoor education and business at Uni and working at SHQ so PKRA might be something I do down the track.

'Having Elliot Drury (Canadian pro rider) and Dan Sweeney (two times British kiteboarding champion) here was awesome, it is so good to have internationals here because their level of riding just lifts the whole competition.'

Brisbane’s Ryan Parsons, 13, won the encouragement award from Best Kiteboarding.

'I was so shocked, I thought I was in a dream when they announced my name,' he said.

'I’ve had the best time ever here.'

Event website
http://www.sail-world.com/120370