Kitesurfing: where wind meets water

From left: Peter Heyworth and Gus Jones

Drs Peter Heyworth and Gus Jones love nothing more than to travel to exotic locations and take kitesurfing to the next level. By Frank Leggett

Dr Peter Heyworth, Manly Wharf Dental, NSW

“It was Gus who suggested we leave our families and take a kitesurfing holiday in the Cocos Islands. The conditions were perfect but you have to be careful when you’re just starting out. If the angle of your kite is wrong, the wind will pick you up and throw you 25 metres into the air. I lost a bit of skin being dragged across reefs but I knew I had found my sport.

“Gus and I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and we often go kitesurfing off Narrabeen beach. We’ve also been to Adelaide, Lord Howe Island, Sri Lanka, and we’re planning to go to Greece.

“It’s commonsense to always kitesurf with another person—it can be quite dangerous to go out on your own. If a line breaks or your harness fails, it can really cause some problems. If the wind changes direction, you’ll be dragged towards the horizon. If the wind dies then your kite will fall out of the sky and it’s very difficult to get back to shore.

“I used to love surfing and windsurfing but kitesurfing has taken over. I like the fact that it’s a bit hairy and pushes your abilities to the edge. It feels like being pulled along by a rocket in the sky. Other sports are all a bit boring once you’ve kitesurfed.

Dr Gus Jones, Narrabeen Dental Care, NSW

“I’m a volunteer lifesaver on Newport beach and one day all the kiters took over the southern end. Even though I was 48 at the time, I knew I had to give it a try. I took some lessons and then decided to go to the Cocos Islands with Pete. We’ve been kite surfing together ever since.

“The Cocos Islands is an amazing place. Even though the wind and surf were perfect for kitesurfing, we were both dragged across coral. All those scraps and scrapes are like an initiation!

“The thing I love about the sport is that there’s always a goal to achieve. You keep practising until you can do something you couldn’t do before. You’re always challenging yourself and that’s very thrilling.

“It’s also a very social sport. Everyone’s really cooperative because you could be depending on any of the kiters to pull you out of trouble if something goes wrong. While it’s often perceived as dangerous, there’s more chance of being injured while driving to the beach.

“There’s a bit of competition between me and Pete and, being the more experienced kitesurfer, I always try to be in front of him. The problem is that Pete improved quickly and really gives me a run for my money. There’s no doubt that we also use kitesurfing as an excuse for a couple of mates to get away. However, we’ll be taking our wives and kids with us if we go to Greece. There’s no way we would get away with going on our own!”

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