“The part I love most about kiteboarding is it’s just you out there, you don’t have to rely on anyone- you just need equipment, wind and water.”
Action-packed adventure and being one with the ocean are just some of the things local kiteboarder Shannon Perry loves about the water sport.
Luckily, he and many other kiteboarding enthusiasts have some great spots in the region to practice, including on the bright turquoise waters of Elliott Heads.
“Elliott Heads is one of the best spots on the South East Coast to kiteboard,” Shannon said.
“It has plenty of different options to ride like flat water lagoons or waves out the front.”
Shannon has been kiteboarding for over four years and said he loved to carve up around other parts of the region too, including in Burnett Heads, Woodgate, Walkers Point and more.
“I had my first lesson in 2016 and have been riding every Summer since,” he said.
“Travelling is also a cool part, I’ve been to South Africa, Fiji and travelled up and down the Australian coast searching for new and untouched spots.”
Shannon said while kiteboarding was a rush of adrenaline, it did present some challenges, especially for those just starting out.
“The challenges are mainly learning how to use the wind. Once you're hooked in it's all on you,” he said.
“If you put the kite in the wrong area of the wind you can generate a lot of power and if you're not in control you will get dragged.
“The best way to describe it is like wakeboarding behind a boat but you're driving the boat at the same time.”
While not a professional kiteboarder, Shannon said he loved every minute of his time out on the water and insisted it was something anyone could get involved in.
“I just ride for the enjoyment of the sport,” he said.
“My advice for anyone who is interested in having a go is to get lessons first because there is a lot of safety involved before you start riding.
“Our local instructor Andrew Ward from Undertow Surf and Kite is the go to, he helped me get into the sport.”
Kiteboarding a passion for Andrew
Having spent almost 21 years kiteboarding, Andrew Ward said he loved everything about the sport, including teaching new enthusiasts.
His business called Undertow Surf and Kite began in 2000 and has seen plenty of changes over time.
“We started in surfboard manufacturing and have diversified over the years to being the first kiteboarders locally,” he said.
“This has grown into us becoming one of the most experienced schools/instructors in the world and is a significant part of the business currently.
“I guess we love being a little old-school and a real local place where riders can get expert knowledge from dedicated riders rather than just being a salesperson or online shop.”
Andrew said the business focused primarily on kiteboarding, hydrofoiling, surfing and supping as well as custom board designing and repairs.
He said Bundaberg residents were lucky to have so many areas in the region to practice all types of water sports.
“We are lucky to have a lot of world class spots in our region,” he said.
“Elliott Heads is our base and where most locals/ travellers go.”
Andrew said being out on the water was always a thrill.
“It gives a great sense of freedom when you're out riding, there is also many styles so you can always challenge yourself with new tricks,” he said.
“The best thing for beginners that are keen is to get some pro lessons and see how they like it.
“Most love it and wish they started sooner… warning: it can be addictive!
“For people that aren't sure just go and fly a trainer kite and have some fun for a start to get some skills.”
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