It has been a while since I have written a personal log in this blog, and today I have chosen to formally let you know, that I have now officially finished with my kite buggying. I have also stopped completely building buggies.
Let me explain the reasons behind these decisions,
Firstly building buggies, as you may or may not know, building the same old buggy again and again was simply not for me. For me, it had to be different almost every time, the trouble with that is, there are only so many things that you can do with a bit of bent stainless and three wheels right, and around 4-5 years ago, I had virtually exhausted all my ideas.
For myself personally, creating the Dominator Buggies will always be my greatest satisfying time to do with building kite buggies, why?, well because they were so different from the norm, and believe me, when you rolled a Dominator onto the beach, heads turned, not just from fellow kiters but from anyone on the beach, because they were so different from the rest, they stood out, and that’s what I like more than anything else, anyone who had the chance to ride one will tell you, its an incredible experience, being so triangulated, they were extremely rigid and strong, the power went straight to the wheels, I simply loved them.
Ok, so the building has come to an end, why not just carry on buggying then?
Well times and situations change during ones life, am I bored with kite buggying? Hell no, I love it, but my situation has changed, and family matters have changed, meaning I quite simply no longer have the opportunities to get to the beach like before, in the last 12 months, I have only buggied twice, at No Barriers 15 and the BLS Summer Meet 2015, both brilliant events, and both times I have a blast.
My wife Denise, seeing my frustration at not being able to enjoy my hobby as much as I once did, suggested getting a motorbike again, I was shocked as she never really like me having a bike before, almost 25 years ago….I thought about this for a few weeks, and started looking at bikes again and bringing myself back up to date with all the modern bikes around. I thought, if I want a buzz all I have to do is open the garage door and I’m away, instant gratification, unlike waiting for the rare kite buggying opportunity, only to find it raining or the wind in the wrong direction.
Yes, I had made my mind up, having had a quiet word with my kiting buddy David Peck, he agreed to buy my beloved set of hardly used Vapors, I have to tell you know, I felt physically sick as David put them into his car, those kites had taken me 10 years to get, and even then they were second hand, they were simply the best kites I have ever flown, once I bought them, I never once flew another kite, even when demo kites were offered.
My trailer was the next to be sold, immediately followed by, and very reluctantly my beautiful Apexx kite buggy, with every extra you could get, including a unique carbon front guard from David Hobbs and one of only two special carbon axles in the UK, this buggy was the longest I have ever had a buggy, all my own buggies were quickly bought soon after I would roll them onto the beach, which is why I bought the Apexx, to have a buggy I could really get used to, and it never once did anything I wasn’t expecting, it is a superb buggy, and it was my friend again David Peck who could not resist the appeal and decided there was only one thing left to complete his set up, and that was, the Apexx….so again, with a very deep pain in my heart, I watched my buggy broken down for the first time since I first built it up, being laid in David’s car, heartbroken, but happy, it is staying within a few miles of me and happier known my kiting buddy for the last few years has it now to use to its full potential. I have also given all my kite buggy jigs and templates to Martin Smith, so even if I wanted to, I could not make any more buggies.
So, the last meet and buggying experience for me was on 25th July 2015 at the Bolton Le Sands summer meet, and what a great day it was, sunny, attendees of around 80 or so people, wind of around 18mph and a great beach.
I must tell you a story of what happened to me during the 60 odd miles I did that day. I was using the 4.5m Vapor, one of my favourite sizes, it was perfect for me and my set up, soon a drag strip formed, a really wide one, around a mile long, and soon enough there were many of us racing and getting every mph we could out of the wind, the beach was slightly rippled, which feels as though you are going faster, than a smooth beach for instance. At one point I looked at my GPS and it said 47mph, but with every run, I felt the wind was picking up slightly and I was getting faster. After every run, I glanced down at my GPS and it would be faster, 49mph, 52mph, 55mph…..Oh my god, I thought, what if I broke my pb of 57.40mph on my very last day of buggying, every run, I tried to get everything out of my kite and buggy, even sliding forwards to lower my body mass against the wind…..after more runs, 57mph, 59mph oh bloody hell, I have now broken my pb…..what if…….what if I were to get into the exclusive 100km/h club on my very last session….after every run, I kept looking at the GPS, 60mph, 61mph 62mph , I was whooping with delight and punching the air with my fist, I could not believe what had just happened…..then it happened.
I suddenly realized I had been looking at the MILES accumulating and not the mph screen….I felt sick, but had to laugh, really laugh out loud, my top speed was just over 48mph, but it didn’t matter, I had the experience of truly believing I had done the unbelievable, and then had a dam funny story to tell everyone about afterwards….no I didn’t break my record, even though it did feel like it, but I did just have the most amazing blast in a buggy ever.
When I look back to 2003 when I first saw a power kite being flown in the park, rushing home then buying a 2.2m Firebee, then two years later when I made my first real buggy, the Fandango buggy, which went mad over the kite buggying forums around the world, the feedback was tremendous. I have been extremely lucky, I have made so many friends around the world through this sport, and was lucky enough to go to NABX in the USA twice, and the amazing dunes of Dubai hosted by Sand Yeti and his wife Brig, not many people can say that, I have also met so many legends of kite buggying, the Mayor of Buggy Town, Corey Jenson, Dean Jordan, Eli Anderson, Brian Holgate, Craig Hanson, Ruudje, the big and powerful OZzy, The Sand Yeti David Lees, Alex Nguyen, Ofer Epstein, Mike Kenley, Bobby Muse, Dino Arias, Kent Kingston and Ken Shaw, the amazing duo Stephan and Mano from abroad, and Trikbits, Smogthemog, Windjammer, James Martin, Adrian Levelle, Philpig, Mark Sherlock, Redskyhorizon, Nudge, Krazy Karl, Steve Warren, Carl Kirton, Jon & Helen (buggybags) Craig Sparkes and Dave Roberts and countless others, all people I have the greatest of respect for. I was somehow also lucky enough to get sponsored, initially by Cooper Kites, then HQ, Landsegler wheels, RuRoc helmets, plus plenty of others, now this was unheard of if you were not a top racer or freestyler at the time, like I said, I was very lucky. Offers to attend Kite Festivals to represent kite buggying, with all expenses paid in places like Russia, Spain, France and more recently the Dominican Republic
Although my kite buggying days are over, I will keep my helmet and harness, for the days I do venture to the beach, you never know someone may let me have a go in their buggy. I will keep this site running and keep all the records from around the world up to date. I will also continue with the various Facebook buggying groups, in other words as far as everything else is concerned its business as usual, and I will continue to follow kite buggying and spread the word of any worthy kite buggying news to the masses.
Thank you for continuing to follow and support this site, I appreciate all your visits here, this site does cost me to run, and if no one visited, it would not be worth while, so please continue to support and follow this blog and site for all its information and knowledge for the new generation of kite buggiers that come into our great sport.
Its been a hell of a ride, see you on the beach some day
Carl aka Popeyethewelder