When I first tried my hand at kitesurfing, more than a decade ago, I fell in love with the sport. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of freedom, exhilaration, and oneness with nature that comes from kiting – and the extraordinary rush of adrenaline it gives you.
As I’ve said before, give me a kite and a board and some wind and waves, and you won’t wipe the smile off my face. Wanting to share this joy with the world, we started the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada in 2012 – a vibrant festival held on England’s south coast, celebrating the sport and its tight-knit community.
Since then, each year has been bigger and better than the last. The team have broken World Records, and expanded the fun to other superb kiting destinations like Spain and South Africa. We’re thrilled to announce that the festival will be back this summer – marking five wonderful years of kitesurfing camaraderie.
Virgin Kitesurfing Armada Festival 2017 will take place on Hayling Island, from June 9–11th. The three-day festival will be bigger than ever before, with live music across two stages, a huge showcase of all the latest innovations, competitions showing off the newest moves and tricks, and of course, hundreds of kitesurfers ready to break the mass participation kitesurfing World Record set at Hayling last year. Adding to the excitement, we will, for the first time, be hosting the British Kitesurfing Championship at the festival.
Charity fundraising remains central to our goal, and this year we’re launching a brand new ‘Kite-SUP-Run’ Charity Challenge. Funds raised will support Virgin Unite and the Armada Trust’s Kite & SUP Youth Tour – an eight-stop tour around the country, enabling over 1,000 children and young people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to participate in kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding.
I kitesurf every day on Necker – it’s great exercise, recreation, relaxation and stress management. I 100 per cent recommend it to anyone with access to the water. After all, life is a lot more fun if you can make time for sport.