Almost a year ago now the Progression team packed up their many many bags and boarded a plane to Egypt to shoot the re-make of the Progresion Kiteboarding Beginner DVD.
We were lucky enough to get two of the UK’s best kitesurfing coaches to star in our video. They brought with them invaluable years of teaching experience, a hard work ethic and a positive happy attitude. But what did they think of it? With a week to go to the launch of the Progression Kiteboarding Beginner 2nd Edition DVD we caught up with Christian Harris and Karine Navital to find out what lasting memories they have……..
P: What is the one thing you most remember most from the trip?
Christian “If it had to be one thing, which wouldn’t be a good choice, that would be the amazing lack of wind. However there are a few other stand outs. The chocolate doughnuts from breakfast which kept us sane. Will’s discovery and deep cultural passion for the popular classic “La Bomba”. Karine’s ability to lure, hypnotise and befriend puffer fish. Rob’s relaxed and underturable positivity that we’d get everything done.”
Karine “Will was mad about La Bomba. It became the title tune of the trip. Interestingly enough we managed to build quite a few meanings into the song, some philosophical, others just rude, and got him singing in spanish and dancing like a south american – nearly. Rob was addicted to crisps, but he was missing Fi so I only didn’t give him too hard a time. Christian was always rearranging kites on beach as we chilled in the water!”
P: Give me a few highs and a few lows of the experience
C. “Highs, the team atmosphere – everybody was up for it, willing to work hard and put the effort in. We had so much fun and all got on splendidly”
“K. “Tickling puffer fish has to be the high of the trip. Did you know that they react just like cats and dogs? They roll over and offer their belly for a bit of scratching! Lows, not many except the wind was often really light and it was extremely hot”
P: Was this trip anything like you expected? What did you expect?
C. “To be honest I didn’t really have any preconceptions or expectations. Having seen the previous Fat Sand releases and knowing how much work we have to put in just to get footage right for one move I knew that we’d be working flat out. With the wind being light and occasional it meant that we had to be on stand by and then go for it all guns blazing when the conditions allowed.
K. “To be honest I’ve learnt not to expect anything and just take things as they come. This way I’m more ready to adapt as best as I can to whatever situation arises.”
P: What did you think of the location, was it a good choice to film a beginner video?
C. “In principal yes. It was shallow enough that the boys could use the tower which Kevin and his team built, the colours were out of this world, it wasn’t too busy and the beach staff were super helpful. We just got unlucky with light wind”
K. “Sharm is a great location for anybody wanting to learn new tricks. The water is flattish and shallow, without being too shallow, which is a great combo. Kevin and Dianne, the owners of the colona / kitejunkies club, are formidable hosts”
P: Why do you think you were the best person for the job?
C. “I think I speak for both of us here. We’ve each been teaching, coaching, and training for something like 15 years, so we’ve got some experience. Because we analyse kiting as a job we have a lot to offer from our understanding of how things work and how they don’t work. And we have experience of the real world kiters and their problems because they are the people we coach. Obviously a kiting video just wouldn’t stick without a leggy blonde”
K. “I always try and give at least 100% to any job that I do. Also having been coaching kitesurfing for many years I have a great understanding of what the kite, body and board should be doing. This meant that when we needed to discuss certain aspects of shooting we were all on the same wavelength”
P: What do you think this new video will offer beginners? What do think video instruction in general offers beginners?
C. “As instructors we’re fully aware that no matter how good a lesson a student has, if they’re not practicing they forget. So having a tool that they can refer back to is essential, not a luxury. As a student if you can watch a demonstration over and over, you can then mimic the action. This is a precursor to visualisation. Also it can give them confidence, goals and act as a guide for them to get the most out of their time on the water”
K “It’s a fantastic learning tool which not only shows you what you should do, but also all the mistakes you might make, which in turn should work towards giving you a full understanding of each move. Most of the time just one little thing can make a huge difference. Finally you can break everything down into achievable steps”
P: Did you find it hard to be demonstrating beginner moves when you are not a beginner?
C “Yes, as soon as you try and catch a toeside edge, your instincts kick in to stop it happening, so you have to fight them to make the mistake happen. We had a lot of fun doing the mistakes”
K “I loved it. Each time I saw it as a challenge, just like a new move. It’s mad how many variations of each move, like a waterstart, you can have, depending on what you do with your body or the kite”
P: How did you learn to kitesurf?
C “I was pretty much handed a board and a kite and just got on with it. Fortunately I’d been watching a few friends for a couple of years so I had a good idea. I was living somewhere sunny and warm with perfect cross shore wind and was windsurfing nearly everyday for five years, so I was in my element. However I had my fair share of near misses and we had to work everything out for ourselves. I think thats where our deep understanding of the sport comes from though. At the time I was used to taking a beating from windsurfing so kiting didn’t seem so harsh”
K “I was madly into windsurfing, living in an amazing spot, Isla de Margarita. Most evenings we would enjoy a sun downer after an epic session on the water and watch our friend Chris Valentine (the local pioneer) struggle with his 2 line kite, disappearing downwind into the mangroves and swimming back. We all thought it a rather silly sport, until he started to jump as high as the palm trees on the beach. We were lost in admiration and had to give it a go”
P: Where do you find inspiration and how do you go about learning new things?
C “Inspiration is everywhere, from the old guard of Vari and Shinn, to Hadlow and even the kids we coach. I enjoy kiting because I enjoy the challenge of learning. However I always learn the most when I’m having fun, kiting with people who are enjoying themselves too. If people aren’t smiling its just not the same”
To learn something new I have to understand it first, if I can’t fully visualise it in my mind it won’t work on the water. So I need to watch footage of someone who can do it, then I break it down into sections, so that I can work on it one step at a time. If it’s not working I go back to the drawing board and start again. Being filmed to see the mistake helps loads. I’m also really lucky that I’ve got Karine, a brilliant coach with me all the time.
K. Absolutely everywhere. Whether it be watching a DVD, seeing first hand someone like Ruben riding, kiting with all the “kids” in Coche, having fun somewhere special with Christian, or seeing the excitement on one of our guests faces when they land something new. It’s raw energy and it’s just what the Dr ordered.
Learning wise we coach each other. We break moves down and build them back up the same way we coach our guests, but maybe with a little bit less tact…
If you want to book on a coaching course with Christian and Karine then check out their website for more information.