The 2021 Hayling Island Kitesurfing Armada Festival was back with a new, bigger venue and more exciting music lineup than ever, led by ’90s band Dodgy, despite fears it would never return to its former glory.
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Hosting the British Kitesurfing Championships, the Friday-Sunday event hosted big names from the ever-changing world of kitesurfing.
Professional kitesurfer Lewis Crathern was the ambassador for the event which saw five-time world champion Aaron Hadlow and fellow world champion Katie Evans win the overall championships in the men’s and women’s tournaments respectively.
Organizer Angus Chilvers said: âDue to Covid, we were concerned that the event would never return to what it was and that we would lose support, but it was brilliant. Havant Borough Council has been great with their help.
âThe event has been positioned in a different location than the last one we had in 2019 and is much bigger and better.
âWe’ve had big surf brands here and professional and amateur kitesurfers. The wind was brilliant on Friday and Saturday and got us through all the championships so with the surfers showing all their stuff.
âLewis Crathern was performing his tricks and tricks about 30 feet in the air with a microphone on. The beach was packed and everyone was enjoying the show.
âThe music festival was a great atmosphere with a lot of locals coming for it in the evening. “
Andy Gratwick of the British Kitesports Association said: “The wind was good and it’s the best we’ve ever had at Hayling from a show point of view with everyone able to watch it. There were a few thousand on the beach who watched sometimes.
“It was a boost for the sport which will now be an Olympic sport in Paris 2024.”
Renowned brands such as Duotone, North Kiteboarding and Cabrinha took part in the festival to present the very latest kitesurfing equipment.
Emma Beckinsale, distributor of Duotone, said: âIt went really well with a lot of wind and good participation from the riders.
âIt’s a great location and has been good for the public to see kitesurfing and getting the community involved in the sport after Covid, especially a lot of kids who have come down and tried their hand.
“It is one of the few sports that has continued during the pandemic and more and more people are trying it after perhaps having more time.”
Festival goers were also treated to delicious festival food, entertainment such as slacklining, circus techniques, power kite sessions and yoga on the beach.
Local schools were encouraged to visit Grandes Ecoles Day on Friday to learn more about sustainable wind energy and find ways to take care of the planet.
The festival site also has a zero single-use plastic policy encouraging visitors to take advantage of reusable cups for the festival.
And those who attended were impressed. Julia and Glyn Cheesman, from Waterlooville, were happy to be at the festival. âWe’re here to blow some cobwebs and have a good time,â said Julia, 56.
Glyn, 47, added: âWe normally come to the festival. It’s fun to watch and it’s a nice atmosphere.