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Raglan kiteboarder on winning streak

Raglan local and Acupuncturist Olly Brunton has just returned home from a successful three week kiteboarding campaign, competing in the New Zealand Kiteboard freestyle National champs held in Christchurch, followed by the 2014 Kitestock event held in Western Australia.

Brunton, who is a former professional snowboarder, 3 time New Zealand halfpipe champ and Olympian at the 1998 Nagano winter Olympics is no stranger to competition, adding a 5th National title to his trophy collection, taking out the masters division of the freestyle competition held in the Brighton Estuary.

The Kiteboard Nationals were a judged event consisting of a combination of technical wakeboard like aerials and huge jumps. Riders are scored on their technical difficulty and style and landing. Competing in both Open Mens and the Masters division, Olly opted out of the Open Mens after a 3rd round loss to concentrate on Masters Final.

Brunton would have faced another five 7 minute heats to rejoin the winners competition of the open – “The heats are so intense! 4 riders jostle inside a 100m square box to perform their runs, 5 heats more heats would have put my podium finish at risk in the Master’s division, so I ditched the Open event to save some steam.”

Olly was in Raglan for one day, but still managed to get a surf in at Manu Bay before heading out to Western Australia with his kiteboard sponsors Axis & Ozone Kites for the annual Kitestock event held in Port Dennison, 6 hours drive north of Perth. The event is more laid back than the NZ Nationals, with Kitesurfing in the waves being the focus.

“WA is insane, the wind is very consistent, turns on at 9am everyday and increases in strength throughout the day. The Aussies call it the ‘Freemantle Doctor’. In Raglan we have the Chinese Dentist which usually comes on at 2.30pm during the summer”.

Between 200 and 300 riders attend from all over Australia for the four day event. Fresh from his Masters win, Olly carried his momentum through to take out the wave kitesurfing event for the Masters, 2nd in the Open men’s freestyle behind PKRA competitor Simon Witchermann and also won the big air event.

“I’m super stoked with how the last few weeks have gone competitively, especially in WA. Most of my heats were against guys half my age. Raglan lifestyle of surf, kite and SUP on a daily basis is awesome training. Pumped to be back despite being a great few weeks, missed the wife and kids, and happy to get the clinic doors open again!”

T Whitelaw – image thanks to Steve McCormack.

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