A centre for kitesurfing in Northumberland has been chosen as a British Youth Sailing hub for developing future Olympic talent.
KA Adventure Sports at Beadnell is one of only five venues across England chosen for the Foiling Futures project, which has been launched by the Royal Yachting Association in association with the British Kite Sports Association.
It will give teenagers in the north of the country an opportunity to be coached in kiting and follows the inclusion of kiteboarding as a sailing discipline in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The other kite schools involved – Edge Water Sports in Exmouth, The Kitesurf Centre in Rye, Paracademy in Portland and Easyriders in Poole – are all in the south and south-west of England.
Chris Blackburn, RYA High Performance Manager for the region, said: “There are not many centres which can deliver kiting and so it’s great to have identified a location in the North East to make sure this programme is accessible for young people in this part of the country. This exciting new initiative aims to create vibrant communities of young kiters and a youth racing pathway which ultimately leads to having GBR represented in kitefoiling at the Olympic Games.”
Dinghy sailors, windsurfers and existing kiteboarders are invited to apply for the Foiling Futures programme, ideally aged 15 and under although discretionary places may be available for under-17s.
The aim would be for participants to start training this summer to learn the basics so they can continue developing their skills over winter, with the aim of competing in kite racing at the RYA Youth Nationals 2022, which will be a selection event for the British Youth Squad.
Coach Jonny Anderson, of KA Adventure Sports, said: “We have a special location here on the North East coast with a cool scene for kite boarding so it’s awesome to have this programme available for young people in the region. It’s a brilliant sport and hopefully through this project we’ll be able to see more young people getting into it, which is really exciting.
“Kiting offers youth sailors something completely different to re-ignite their energy and enthusiasm for getting on the water. You need patience and determination because when you come down the beach you might have to wait for the right wind strength and direction, and the learning curve is quite steep so it takes time to master the techniques. But when the conditions are just right and you’re flying along fully powered up there’s no better feeling and there are so many different aspects to the sport, there’s always something new to learn which makes it really rewarding.”
Aspiring kiters can apply online at www.cognitoforms.com/RYA2/Kitetransition and will be selected on to the Foiling Futures programme by the British Youth Sailing team at the RYA. The closing date for applications is Friday 30th July.
The Foiling Futures project follows a previous #Kite4Gold joint initiative with the British Kite Sports Association to develop female athletes in the sport.
Andy Gratwick, MD of the British Kite Sports Association, said: “We are delighted to be working with the RYA on another exciting project to produce more young kiters and progress kite racing as a growing discipline.”