1. Your Name, nickname, (race number if applicable)and country
Andrew Philip Jones aka auto or auto-photos, current race number K566 but im yet to race in a proper or fun race…..Wales, United kingdom
2. How did your involvement in this sport begin?
My first remembrance of power kiting was in the 90′s watching the americans digging huge ditches on the beaches and then sitting in them and launching the kite, thus launching them out from in the trench/hole. Myself and my eldest brother thought this was amazing and crazy and longed to do it, however it would be another 12 or so years before i picked up my first ever power kite.
The first kite that i tried and bought was a 2.5m ozone cult, bought from a little camp site in south Wales UK. I saw they had a variety of ozone kites there and asked the chap to show me how to set up and fly one, the wind was barely 3mph but I managed to fly it for a little. Even though it produced no power for me there and then i decided that i must have a powerkite. For the next few weeks I was out every day after work trying to fly the kite.
3. Where is your local buggy location, and where is your favourite location and why?
I live a 5 min walk from swansea beach so you could say it is my local, however the winds mainly favour aberavon beach so i guess that is where most quick sessions are to be held
My favourite location has to be pembrey , cefn sidan sands in south wales. why? because its such a vast area to kite on, the other members of the club are great , friendly and very knowledgeable. www.clscuk.com
4. How many buggies have you had and what types?
I’ve owned about 4 different buggies and a few kitebikes, i mainly favour the kitebikes tho as they tend to add a 3 dimensional degree to the whole buggy feel.
The first buggy was a peter lynn comp st.. it came with an old skytiger kite which i hated.
next came snowmantaffs old chameleon race buggy, it was a tight fit for a fat lad like me so i had to remove all of his padding.
This was followed by a standard flexi bug or two and a Parastorm typhoon mk2.
I currently have 2 buggies and a kitebike, but I pretty much spend all my time on two wheels, and the most recent buggy I have acquired will become a kitebike too.
5. What are your favourite moments in this sport and why?
My favourite moments in the sport have to be seeing people on the beach and witnessing their personal bests and records that they set. I really enjoy the social side of being on the beach with other kiters or back at the camp site having a bevvy (drink) or 30.
6. What are your greatest achievements in this sport, tell us the stories behind them?
My personal greatest achievements have been learning how to kitebike and pushing myself and kitebiking as fast and hard as i can.
One of these was to build up my personal best top speed and move up through the rankings to become the current fastest kitebiker at 50.1mph. It took me a fair few sessions to get to that speed, a big thanks goes out to John Eaton of the powerkiteshop.com who saw some kind of potential in me and give me lots of advice, coaching sessions on the beach and a chance to try out lots of different kites including kites such as vapours and combats.
Another is being able to jump and land my kitebike without crashing. I said to some people on the beach and at the camp site, “i wonder what it would be like to jump the bike, and if they knew anyone who had done it before?” so from what i gathered it was going to be impossible and that they didn’t know of any people who had done so. So after a few attempts and crashes i finally managed it. It felt sweet as fook.
7. What is your favourite and least favourite manoeuvre and why?
As I don’t really race or anything like that i kind of don’t have any specific manoeuvres like that, so my fave would be sliding/drifting the bike and least favourite has to be avoiding peoples dogs they let off the lead on the beach, darn dogs.
8. If you could give any advice to an average buggier to take them to the top level, what would the advice be, and why?
Hahahaha I wouldn’t class myself as being in the top level but my advice would have to be listen to the oldies/well at least the people with more experience than you, don’t be afraid to ask others how they do different things and dont just think you know it all because you took your mates blade out in nuking winds and survived to tell the tale. Also a biggie for me is safety, if it were two things safety wise then one would be to wear a helmet and the other to try not to kite on your own.
9. Tell us about the scariest situation you have ever been in when buggying?
I’ve had a few scary moments, 1 was the first time ever in a that peter lynn buggy doing about 20mph , it felt like 100mph haha
The other was doing about 40mph in the kite bike and it was gusty as hell, the kite inflated then collapsed which then fell behind me, this in turn made me drop the bike, the footpegs dug into the sand and catapulted me out , shortly followed by the rear disc wheel of the bike smacking me on the head. Luckily i was wearing a helmet.
10. Over the years, you have used many different types of kites, which kites do you rate as your favourite makes, and why?
I really like the Flysurfer kites, they are lovely just pure quality, but expensive, meaning I don’t own any. PKD make some real nice kites too. But my favourites have to be from OZONE i love the mk2 mantas and the current Frenzys. The manta in a 15m allows me to buggy/bike in anything from 5mph up to 20mph where I can then jump the bikes/buggies, it has to be my all time favourite kite.
11. What is left in the sport that you want to achieve?
I would like to hit 55 - 60mph on the bike and also generally get over 60mph in a buggy too.
I don’t race so would like to have a go at it.
Going to nabx would be a dream come true, even just going to America itself.
12. Who do you believe are the top three pilots in your chosen sport?
Not the top 3 pilots ….. but the top 3 people that I like to look up to. …. RedSkyHorizon…. just for his insane storm kiting here in the uk… Arjen Van Der Tol for just being purely the fastest in the world… and Peter Foulkes aka gannet for producing some very inspiring kite biking videos from such a beautiful location. I hope when I get a cam of some sort I could make something as sweet as those.
13. Anything else you would like to add
Yep a big thanks to everyone I see on the beach that has given me advice in the past on how to fly the kite, Nasty Nick and Ed for selling me that kite bike…also to the wind gods for giving us such good winds . Hell yeah!