My main draw to Sri Lanka (initially) was to undertake some kitesurfing coaching.
I had become SO frustrated with my (lack of) progress, and despite plenty of effort on my part, I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.
Left, before coaching ———————————-right, after coaching.
Consistency and practice are definite elements to progression, but so is getting helpful tips on what you are doing both right and wrong, and I loved the idea that coaching can be for everyone, not just for the pro’s.
CK Performance clinics came recommended by many people, and were consistently booked up through the year (a good sign I thought), so I knew it was only a matter of time before I booked with them.
I had tried twice in the past to get onto their courses with no success, so when I spoke to Christian (one half of the happy team), I was happy that he managed to squeeze me onto an already full course, at the end of a suite of training they were running in Sri Lanka.
I booked a flight to get myself out to SL a few days before the course began with the intention to tune in to the environment and the kiting, and then, a week before I flew out, whilst playing football with my Niece and Nephew, barefoot like an idiot, I hit my toe hard.
You just know that feeling when something isn’t right…….and the Xray at the A&E the following day confirmed I had fractured my second toe……
I explained the dilemma to the doctor, along the lines of ‘I’m going kitesurfing, it’s going to involve lots of crashing and time with my feet attached to a board, what’s your thoughts? how quick do bones heal? Will it be ok? Should I go?’.
He just laughed, said it’s my call, it should be OK, strap it up, take painkillers, it will hurt and (more or less) suck it up.
I quite liked his approach, so deciding to go, I spoke to my friend Sally (who is a guru in natural medicine) to find out what else I could do to heal quickly (take something called bone-knit), and sourced a giant rubber sheath for my toe….
The travel to SL was easy, and except nearly having a fight with a grumpy man in the toilets of London Heathrow because I hit him with my oversize board bag, it was painless.
Travelling in the off season has so many benefits. Cheap flights, an empty plane, 4 seats to myself…..
After navigating the bizarre set up and offerings at the duty free shop in Colombo airport (a washing machine, or dishwasher perhaps, or maybe a wide screen TV), and being treated to the 3 hour taxi ride from the relative sanity of the airport to the relative insanity of Sri Lanka’s roads and traffic, I arrived and checked into Sri Lanka Kite School (Kite Kuda).
As I was a late booking I stayed in the the main camp itself rather than a more luxury house down the road, with the super friendly and helpful Zac, Ola, Niels, Mawfeer, Naline, and Chamara, and was treated to amazing food (and a cheerful smile) by Rani and Nilanka each day.
The clinic was facilitated from one of the smaller lagoons of the Sri Lankan kitesurfing world (Kappalady) and was perfect for practicing a multitude of trick ideas, with shallow flat water and consistent strong winds.
Life being made so easy by the local staff keeping things moving on a daily basis – packing the trucks, landing and launching your kites, and generally terrorising people on the beach 🙂
The group consisted of a mix of nationalities, and all were pretty focused on having a good time and progressing. There was a great spirit of support and friendly abuse, and so inspiring to see others pushing themselves and going for it.
The coaching was super professional, with a personal assessment of ability and intentions, step by step tips on technique supported by video footage, and the obligatory feedback session whilst nursing a rum and coke / beer with the rest of the group each evening.
A big thanks to Christian and Karine for the professional approach and fun environment, and also to the mix of people who made the week what it was – Paul and Jo, Kat, Rob and Jasmine, Clare, Jason, Jo and Julia…..see you guys next year perhaps?
And yes, I did improve, and that progression is addictive……
Next post…..travelling around Sri Lanka by motorbike……not for the faint hearted.