Revista - Come fly with me, let's fly away!
It’s nearly Easter and it’s predicted to snow in England. I had to get out. So no great surprise that I decided to take the first plane from Heathrow to somewhere glorious, somewhere warm, somewhere friendly, somewhere I can smile.
So I packed a plethora of bikinis and kaftans and headed for one of my favourite islands in the world – Boracay. Because it really is more fun in the Philippines!
I’ve flown half way across the planet to finally reach paradise. And this week has been the photogenic Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) on the Bulabog beach in Boracay. Between beautiful people and impressive stunts involving trapeze like aeronautical displays of human endeavour, I have fallen in love!
Well, it’s a bit of strange one-way relationship. You see, I’ve fallen in love with Kiteboarding. It’s odd, and I’m still adjusting, but I’m hooked. I never thought I would take on a board sport. I tried snowboarding and cried for 3 seasons on the slopes, hating it, and eventually returning to my beloved skis. But Kiting is really less about a board, and more about riding at high speed across water and suspending gravity as you hurtle in the air. I felt like I was cutting across water faster than an alcoholic sailor can reach the bar for “last orders”. It’s the closest I will ever to get to my chosen super power should I fall foul of some nuclear waste – the ability to fly.
I confess it doesn’t hurt that I have spent over a week under the stewardship of the great Ken Nacor, the legendary Kite King of Asia who runs a kite school on Bulabog beach, the single most perfect Kite Beach in the world. The man is an Adonis of physical strength and a freestyle maverick. It’s almost impossible to not love the sport when Ken teaches you. His passion is contagious. His calming voice echoing across the water “2 o clock… no, Michelle, the other two o’clock” as I drive my kite in the wrong direction. The man is a veritable saint of patience.
Being in Boracay during the Kiteboard Tour of Asia – a global gathering of beautiful sporty kiters from aross the world is like wondering through a Tommy Hilfiger advert of perfect physiques, wide smiles, health and hormones and a rainbow of nationalities. Utterly beautiful.
Ken points out kiting heroes as they effortlessly twist and turn through the air. He explains the technical genius of their skill as I gasp. I oooh. I aaaah. I giggle. And then I giggle more.
At 36, Ken has the physical strength of someone ten years younger, but the wisdom and presence of someone twice his age. You know that everything will be alright when he is around. And that is a pretty big relief when you are hurtling across open water tied to a kite twice your size.
I ask him if he’s lived anywhere else. He laughs and tells me about his years in England, kiting. I stare at him blankly. Why would anyone live on England’s coast with it’s icy dark waters, and abysmal weather, when you can live in paradise like this? Despite having an amazing time in the UK, he confesses that he couldn’t stay away from Boracay for long. I know EXACTLY how he feels.
Since I have left those perfect beaches and wonderous sunshine, I cannot think about anything else but going back. I stare at every airplane wondering if it’s heading to the Philippines. “Take me with you”, I shout at the speck in the sky.
I know I sound like a new fundamentalist. But Kiting is under my skin now. It’s a strange quiet virus that is definitely spreading. What started as a fringe “extreme sport” only a few years ago has become a global phenomenon. And unlike skiing and boarding, it does not require ridiculous excess luggage allowances for personal equipment. A kite weighing less than 3 kgs and a board of about equal weight, and some scanty swim suit is all you really need.
Kiting happens in some of the most beautiful parts of the world, including an awesome Entrepreneurs event called Mai Tai just off Necker Island. This new super sport is gaining the attention of people with a sense of adventure, a sense of risk, and a massive sense of humour. It’s physically challenging, it’s mentally exciting, and it’s run by an international community of amazing people
More and more of my friends are changing their holiday schedules from laid back retreats to active holidays. Whether is skiing/ boarding in St Anton or Courchevel in the Winter or kiteboarding in Egypt, Boracay or the Caribbean. Activity holidays are becoming more appealing than simply looking like a beached whale on the sands of St Kitts. And I, for one, love this new trend. Holidays are an opportunity to give back to your body, what the day to day takes out. An opportunity for yoga, exercise, vitality, feeling alive.
And I think I have found my new nirvana. So strap me in, inflate that kite, and let’s ride.
Find out more about Ken's Kite Surfing School here.
Check out Bulabog beach right now with this live webcam.
Have a look at Aqua Boracay by YOO, our project right on Bulabog beach, here.
First light: 5.30 on the final day of the KTA
The winners of the KTA Asia in Boracay
John Hitchcox presenting prizes to the winners of the KTA Asia in Boracay