After a few last minute decisions I chose to continue to stay in Australia and travel up the coast on a 6000km (3730 mile) road trip with my mates Brian, Cryssie and Andy. I felt that I should complete the Best demo tour that I started in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. It caused me to put my training in Fiji, New Zealand, USA and Indonesia on hold until next year, but I felt a nationwide tour had to be finished. I completed over 35 days of demo’s on every windy kite beach from Melbourne to Cooktown and the stoke of the 2013 gear was extremely high.
I saw some amazing beach’s along the coast and met heaps of Australia’s original kiters that have been involved in growing the sport since the beginning.
We made it the whole way without any major complications besides Brian’s car accident with another Kangaroo which gave me back problems for a few weeks, a tea kettle explosion sending Andy to the hospital with facial burns, some broken camera gear, a stolen camera setup and a water damaged hard drive. I managed to lose 50+ GB photo’s and video’s along with all of Andrea’s which really sucked. I lost about 60% of the trip’s footage but learned some valuable lessons on camera gear storage.
My best session was in Surfer’s Paradise north of the resort area. Just a nice solo sesh with all the waves to myself and it turned out to be the last decent waves I saw on the trip.
Team Rider Joe Ruscito decided to fly out from the US and join in the tour. I scooped him up in Mackay and we shot over to Airlie Beach, Ayr, Townsville and Magnetic Island.
We didn’t have much luck with wind but we did get a chance to dive one of the world’s top shipwrecks the Yongala.
At Ayr Beach we had a sad goodbye with Cryssie who had do photo shoots with another brand on a yacht around Whitsunday islands to introduce their 2014 gear.
When Joe had to leave us and head to Sydney we headed north. The deadly Jelly Fish Stinger season ended and we also entered salt water croc territory. It kept us on edge until we got used to the fact that there aren’t many around when the wind blows. Only a few were spotted at Yorkies Knob and Palm Cove in Cairns. Where we rode in Cooktown is a known croc spot with an abundant amount of them in the estuary. We were pretty sketched out every time we crashed or body drug because we were in straight offshore winds with croc’s turf downwind in the river inlet. Luckily none were spotted so we felt safe.
Unfortunately after completing the demo tour the wind dropped for months and I haven’t been able to get much riding in, maybe 2-3 days a month in what turned out to be a rough end of the season compared to normal years. It’s been the longest period of time I have gone without riding so I decided to start adventuring in the Jungle and Rainforest with some mates to kill time.
We had some very sketchy rock wall climbs and had one accident which almost had serious consequences. I’m really grateful for Alex for rescuing me before a major fall that left both of us sketched out for a few days.
One day I was cutting some trails in the rainforest to the peak of a mountain when Luke and I got caught up in the worlds deadliest plant known to kill people, horses, dogs and pigs. A Dendrocnide moroide, known by Aborigals as the Gympie Gympie Stinging Tree. Mostly because it just about causes your leg to go into shock and you look like a gymp when you try and move. Thankfully we only brushed up on the plant in small areas but it’s been about a month and a half and I can still feel it stinging.
A good friend Marne from South Africa took me out on a dive boat to dive the Great Barrier Reef and I ended up hitting it off with the crew. It turned out they were big on kitesurfing and was I able to score 24 free dives on the reef, I’m still stoked about it.
I’m grateful for being able to stay with South Australian Kiter Daniel Brannigan and his new wife Jess for my time in Cairns. Their home previously earned the the title as the “Best Home for Tropical Living”. Their property is the highest on the mountain and it overlooks Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef.
It’s and adventurer’s paradise as the mountain holds the World Cup for Mountain Biking with the toughest trails I have ever seen, there is the highest bungee jump in the region and it has a large cable park for wakeboarding and hitting rails. At the bottom of the mountain you have the two main kite beaches in the region Yorkeys Knob and the Palm Cove. It’s just a short boat ride to get to the Great Barrier Reef for world famous diving and best scenic kiting spot I have rode in Australia at Green Island. It is also located in the waterfall region of Queensland. With them knowing this they have decided to turn their 7 bedroom home into a Bed and Breakfast before the Word Cup starts. I truly believe that there is no better place to stay in Australia than their home unless you are in need of waves. No other place can offer you all these amenities.
I really want to thank everyone for support on this trip and with any issues that arose along the way. It’s just unreal to have a support system as strong as the one I currently have. Special thanks to Best Kiteboarding USA, Best Kiteboarding Australia, Kite Republic, BYG, Lift Kiteboarding, Kiteboarding Cairns, Kitesurf 1770, Adrenalin Rush Sports, Sea Quest, Deep Sea Diver’s Den and to the following people: Chris Sal, Ryan Evans, ALICIA BIVIANO, Austin Walker, Craig Brandie, Sandra Chiodo, Amanda Cheeseman, BRIAN LITMAN, CRYSSIE JADE, ANDREA JUNGE, Jodie Elcock, Catalia Rocha, Tyler Bell, Vicky Gonzalez, Luke Bamford, Victor Bold, Ryan Waltz, Chris Bobryk, Chris Mirbach, Diane Crimeni, FELIX the Healer (your a Legend for helping me get back on my feet after my back injury) Joe Millen, Andrew Bamford, Cedric Schmidt, Karolin Elberfeld, Marne Janse Van Rensburg, Alex Lobsang, Brent Boothe, Joe Ruscito, Mic Staunton, Julia Knop, Bjorn Weidenmueller, Arnie Serrano, Gladys Serrano, Kristy Smith, Phil McConnachie, Kyle Smith & Clement Ohanmu (Young Barack).
I’m still awaiting the decision from the Australian Government to decide my future in the country, it’s been an extremely long and challenging process but I will know where I stand soon. As of right now I am heading to Melbourne to start training for the 2014 season. Cheers Everyone!!