Spend your kitesurfing days like a pro – with Tom’s kiteboarding clinics
Since 2018 Tom is the very successful host of the Slice of Life kiteboarding clinics in Dakhla, Sri Lanka and Brazil. For a whole week, you will live the life of a pro kiteboarder in training and see what it really takes to progress and push your limits. All you need is one week of your time, an open mind and a positive attitude. In the mornings you might start with a fitness session, in the afternoon you could achieve your personal goals on the water and in the evening you will relax and enjoy the endless beach parties that are on offer. There is something for everyone on this trip. We have asked Tom about his experiences on the clinics so far:
You have already run your Slice of Life kiteboarding clinics in Dakhla, Sri Lanka and Brazil – do you have a general first feeling? How was it so far?
Tom: Yes so 2018 was my first year running the Slice of Life kite trips and it really was a test to see if the demand for more advanced tuition and guided camps was there. As with everything that I do, the Slice of Life trips have a big focus on having fun and getting the most enjoyment out of both the locations and the sport. I have done kite camps before, however partnering with KWW has created the perfect base to deliver the sort of higher end service that I want my guests to enjoy. The feedback has been great from the first year’s trips, we have had a 70% re-booking rate from our riders and our trips are almost full for 2019 already. This will give me a chance to refine the coaching format and make everything run smoothly to orchestrate the best action packed holiday for my guests.
What is the difference between a kitesurfing camp and a kiteboarding clinic anyway?
Tom: I do try to stay away from the word ‘camp’ as it has connotations of organised fun, however my trips are much more ‘free form’, reacting to changes in the weather forecast and customising the schedule to the guests, so that everyone can get the most out of it. Also I have a big emphasis on the group and getting everyone to learn together and push each other both on and off the water. I guess a clinic is more focused on just the kiteboarding technique and skills on the water, where as a camp is a much more rounded experience… you never know weather you will be watching your evenings video feedback on a hut on the beach, or at the bar of a nice hotel… we look to get the best out of each country that we visit and deliver a full week of social, interactive learning… as well as a good time!
Who would you recommend the slice of life kiteboarding clinics to?
Tom: Anyone that is into the love of the sport and wants to progress their riding level, it is very easy to get into a progression rut and stop pushing yourself regardless of your skill level. As long as you are confident riding up wind, and can do downwinders, you will have fun and learn at my camps. From first jumps, to more advanced tricks like double rotations, grabs, back rolls or unhooked tricks… I can coach them all and will push you to your personal limits throughout the week! So, if you only have one week and you want to learn as much as possible… that who I would recommend my trips to!
And why should they do that with you – isn’t a private lesson at a normal kite school enough?
Tom: Lessons are often very impersonal, over a short time period and not a detailed analysis of your riding. Over a week with me, you will see yourself improve with daily video playback, analysis and a personal on the water target program so that after a week you will be a new kiter all together. Some people like learning individually, however I find the power of a group, combined with video feedback makes for the perfect watch and learn atmosphere. Why me!? Well because its just more fun with me… ;)
What kind of people sign up for your slice of life kiteboarding clinics?
Tom: This has been one of the most interesting things to see develop, we have had some great guests on every camp and the sense of fun and adventure seems to attract like minded people. Everyone has been a risk taker and ready to push themselves to learn, with ages spanning from late 20’s through to early 60’s we have had a great mix. Al different skill levels, but everyone brings something to the table and with the social adventure vibes I’m sure everyone has left with new friends along the way!
And what does a typical day at your kiteboarding clinics look like?
Tom: It is slightly different every day and I like to keen schedules loose so that we can react to the forecasts and weather on the day. Typically it will be up around 8am, stretching or yoga in the mornings, breakfast and then to the water. Morning sessions will be targeted to each persons own skill level, with trick targets set and I will be filming these sessions as well as coaching from the spot to gather material for the evening feedback. Then lunch and talks, if that is gear trimming, line setups, board setup etc etc. Followed by and afternoon mission. Normally a down winder or and excursion to a different spot where the riders can spend time on the water and practise what they learned in the mornings. This will also be filmed.
Then back to the pad, refreshments and beers by the pool (typically, sometimes cocktails ;) followed by the video review from the day. This will be projected and I narrate life over the top, highlighting mistakes made, success and setting target’s for the next days riding for each person. Normaly a big dinner and few beers follow this just to Finnish off the day, and then a good nights sleep in preparation for the next day… However one day could be sleeping on a desert island, or convoying through the desert… you never know ;)
You use video and photo coaching for your kiteboarding clinics – what exactly do you like about these techniques?
Tom: For me this is the way I have always learned myself and I have spent a lot of time with the worlds best riders and we all learn from video. So not only am I bringing this format to my camps, but I am also using my years of experience filming kiting to really highlight improvements and targets for each person. This also really helps the social vibe, as once people are over their shyness about their riding, they open up, discuss and learn as a group… its mostly about the social for me!
Where in the world will you offer your Slice of Life kiteboarding clinics next?
Tom: The next #SliceOfLife trip goes to Dakhla in Morocco, then we head to Zanzibar in Africa and we finish in Sicily for 2019, with a decision still to be made about Brazil as it is very popular and the wind is always good. I will try to offer a range of destinations to allow return guests to get the most from their Slice of Life experiences and see the world in the process!