To bring back some of the sporting excitement to the capital, Jade Bremner tested some of the hidden gems London has to offer. here’s her review of power kiting:
‘To clear up any confusion before it begins, it’s important to state that power kiting is not the same as kiteboarding, the extreme sport that will make its Olympic debut at Rio 2016. And it’s not the same because while kiteboarding (aka kitesurfing) takes place on water, power kiting takes place on the hard grass and dirt of Richmond Park. And trust me, if you attempt to power kite, this hard grass and dirt is something your bum will soon become very used to.
‘This is an extreme sport,’ warns my instructor Mark, who, like his colleagues, is insured for up to £5 million. ‘If you can’t handle the power, you will end up sucking out of a straw.’
I contemplate cancelling the lesson and heading off to bother deer, but reconsider when Mark thoroughly explains how to handle a twoline kite and tells me that the wind today is exactly the right strength for beginners (between five and eight knots). Lesson over, it’s go time.
The wind yanks me forward and sideways across the grass. It’s slightly rough and my shoulders will ache tomorrow, but it’s nowhere near as bad as I’d imagined.
In fact, after a few goes my arms feel connected to the kite and I feel confident enough to try some more complicated manoeuvres. Bad idea. Within a minute the kite comes crashing down and I spill on to the grass. Still, not dreadful for a first attempt. This is not Mary Poppins kite flying, it’s thrilling and pretty dangerous – but that’s all part of the fun.
An hour’s private lesson with Kite Vibe costs £40 and takes place opposite Robin Hood Gate (during the summer) or Roehampton Gate (during the winter) in Richmond Park.’
For more info, see kitevibe.com.