King of kitesurfing wants more numbers in the sport
KITESURFING: A passion for kitesurfing as a 12-year-old prompted Tannum Sands resident Duncan Kennedy to effectively dance on the water and utilise what Mother Nature has to offer - wind and water.
Anthony and Cam Press were the first ones to introduce kitesurfing at Tannum Sands and Kennedy was hooked immediately.
"I just bought a kite and picked it up and started to learn how to kitesurf and that was over about 15 years ago now," Kennedy said.
Before family life began to occupy the bulk of his life, Kennedy and Josh Young were manager and instructors at Intheloop Tannum Sands - a Townsville-based business that expanded to Tannum Sands to provide kitesurfing lessons.
"We all had kids and never had the time for it," Kennedy said.
He also indicated that it's a case of never say never on Intheloop Tannum Sands re-opening again.
"I'd like to start it up again and I think there is a bit of a market for it now here and still get a lot of people asking about kitesurfing lessons and equipment and that sort of thing," he said.
"I'd like to have the time and the money to put into it and start a shopfront and that sort of thing and push it down here because it's a good sport."
Kennedy said there were not a lot of younger people involved in the sport and he remembered when he took to it in 2003 as an 18-year-old, there were a lot of enthusiasts at the same age.
"They were sort of high-school age and they'd come down in the afternoon after school and kitesurf but we don't have that age group kitesurfing any more," he said.
"The guys that are here are a permanent crew and there's about nearly a dozen guys who have been kitesurfing here for the past 10 years.
"A lot of them are sort of middle-aged or over."
As for needing skill in this sort of sport, Kennedy dismissed the notion that it was difficult to learn.
"Nothing, you don't need any prerequisites with it and it's actually one of the biggest myths and that's what I got when I was teaching people how to do it," he said.
Kennedy also said that his students came thinking kitesurfing was hard and that you needed lots of upper-body strength.
He said a kite can be steered with two fingers.
"Most of the weight's on your legs and you're pushing against the water and you don't have to have any experience in surfing or wake-boarding or anything like that to be able to do it," he said.
Age is no barrier if one wants to take up kitesurfing.
Kennedy taught a man who was 65 years of age who had never done it before and is still continuing in the sport.
While yesterday's condition's were not suitable for a kitesurf, Kennedy said he tried to get out as much as he could and when the wind blows from the south-east at a minimum of 15 knots or more.
"That's the best conditions and with a run-out tide as well... ultimate conditions," he said.