Champion kitesurfer, Tom Court grew up surrounded by all the outdoors the Isle of Wight could throw at him! Sponsored by Wightlink Isle of Wight ferries for the past 13 years, Tom became the British Under-18’s champion in 2002 and since joining the World Tour has gone on to achieve success across the globe.
Having grown up on the Island, he’s become familiar with the numerous beaches and learned to appreciate the challenges that are faced when practicing on each part of the shoreline and spoke to us about his background and enthusiasm for the Isle of Wight.
What first gave you the idea of taking up kitesurfing and how old were you?
“Well, I first saw kitesurfing when I was on holiday with my parents at the age of about nine. Once I had seen the sport and the freedom that it offers, I naturally wanted to do it. However, it was very early in the sports development and it took me a few years to pluck up the courage to give it a go.
I think I was about 11 years old when I first hit the water. Since then the equipment has developed and kitesurfing has become much safer and easier to learn.”
Where did you learn kitesurfing?
“I originally learned to kitesurf on Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. However, as soon as I could go out on the water by myself I returned to the Isle of Wight to keep practising. I used to go out after school and at the weekends as much as I could down on Brook beach.”
Where is your favourite place on the Isle of Wight to kitesurf?
“There are so many great places to kitesurf on the Island. Depending on your skill level we have a range of conditions from calm, flat water to stormy waves. Some of my favourite places are Colwell Bay, Brook and – if the wind direction is right – Seaview or Bembridge.”
When you started off, did you buy or hire your equipment?
“When I started my father bought the equipment and I just used his. I would always recommend buying your own equipment if possible, as being familiar with your own gear will increase your safety on the water. However, if you go on holiday to learn to kitesurf it can often be easier to get lessons with equipment included and it saves on the travel costs.”
What is your greatest achievement as a kitesurfer?
“I was British Under-18’s champion in 2002 and BKSA British champion in 2003. I moved on to the World Tour after I had finished school. I came 11th overall in the PKRA World Tour in 2008 and have consistently competed in different contests all over the world since then.
However, I feel that my greatest achievement within kitesurfing is to be one of the longest standing international team riders for North Kiteboarding.”
What is the biggest single bit of advice you could give to anyone interested in taking up kitesurfing?
“I would say dedicate two weeks to learning to kitesurf. Make sure you have the time to really learn and once you have the feeling of sailing along and going upwind, you will be forever motivated to hit the beach.”
How much time do you now spend on the Island?
“I am spending more and more time back on the Island, and between my trips for filming, competition and events, I always return to the Island. Some years I spend more time away than others but I have always called it my home.”
In this time on the Island, Tom also shoots and edits a number of videos – if you love adventure, take a look at this video that shows a wide range of activities and places to explore across the Isle of Wight .
We’re proud to sponsor talented athletes on the Island. You can read more about the talented athletes we help achieve their goals in our Sponsorship section.
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