Click photo for full TOUR 1 Album
It was the middle of the freezing Melbourne winter. As we went about our everyday lives in hoodies, thermos, snow jackets and more often than not umbrellas we were secretly counting down the days until we got to see sunshine, warm winds over even warmer water, an abundance of awesome people and laughter that would make the 2017 KR Winter Escape an experience to remember!
And it was so worth the wait!
Click photo for full TOUR 2 Album
When you’re sitting back in Melbourne freezing your ass off it’s difficult to even imagine that the KR Tour goers could be wearing boardshorts, bikinis and more often than not laughing so hard that their stomachs are actually hurting.Every year the group is different, every year the KR Tour goers have different goals, different expectations and different ideas of what the perfect kiting holiday looks like for them. One thing was the same yet again this year… through the awesome on and off water work from the KR Team, through daily clinics, one on one help, and making sure that everyone was constantly having fun, striving to improve, and always had something to work with the feedback and glowing reports about KR’s Aitutaki Winter Escape were awesome!
So other than kiting to your hearts content in crystal clear, butter flat, waist deep water day in and day out, what does one do when they’re stick in the paradise that is Aitutaki for 10 days?
How about swimming with whales? Sunsets & beers at the lookout (if you can make it up)? Sunsets & Cocktails at Coconut Bar on the beach? Snorkelling with gigantic Giant Trevally, Purple Coral and Giant Clams in the lagoon? Sunset Night Cruise, bonfire and Party Boat? Deep sea fishing? Scuba Diving with Eagle Rays and Turtles? Traditional Island Nights with Oomu cooked feasts that make your mouth water? Exploring the island and returning the smiles of the awesome locals as you boot around on your scooter? Spearfishing outside of the reef? Challenging the locals on the packed fishing club’s pool table? Enjoying the odd no-wind day with wakeboarding and beers on the famous One Foot Island? Laughing and catching sand crabs with an awesome crew in the moonlight? Swimming, Kiting & SUPing with Turtles in the lagoon? Having the funniest round of Island Golf at the end of the main airport runway you’re ever likely to imagine? Dodging coconut crabs (by night) and chickens (by day) on the ‘main road’? Knowing you’re clearly the worst Karaoke singer of all time and just giving it a red hot go at the Boatshed anyway? Visiting the awesome local primary school for a very talented presentation? Witnessing a 10 year old heckling ‘Princess’ across a packed beach at full volume? Piling 8 people into Malibu, the worlds smallest car for a visit to the Bar? Or even just enjoying a laugh, a cold beer at the end of the day with mates at one of the distinguished ‘Balcony Bars’?
The list goes on, and on, and on… there are truly too many hilarious moments from this years tours to go through them all. A massive thankyou to everyone that came along, got involved in absolutely everything and had a fantastic time with us. Also a big thanks to Quinton, Melo, Mini-Q, Shakyl, Alana, Stephen, Ranganui & the team for looking after us on board Wet’n’Wild this year, you guys were awesome!
One of the big standouts from each tour was the final nights ‘Island Theme Awards Night’, that saw everyone get in character and have an absolute laugh. Big mention to James on this one for well and truly taking out the best dressed award (& scaring many small children in the process! haha). On a ‘serious’ note however please see the award winners for both tours below:
TOUR 1 Awards Winners:
King of Aitutaki – Daniel Machado aka “Puncho”
Queen of Aitutaki – Tessa Ellwood
Wrecking Ball – Amanda Cheeseman
Hangtime Hero – Ana Ellwood
Balls Out Award – Ben Eddy aka “Chilli”
Best on Ground – Emily Cull
Kite Destroyer – Dennis Ng aka “Princess”
Thorpedo (longest swim) Award – Zac Pullen aka “Douglas”
Onions Award – Scott Donaldson aka “Onions”
TOUR 2 Awards Winners:
King of Aitutaki – Dean Phelan
Queen of Aitutaki – Martine Muhelther
Wrecking Ball – Steve Constable
Kite (& Scooter) Destroyer – Grant Jacobs
Best on Ground – Laura Dunn
Glow big of glow home – Phil McArdle
Moment of Madness – Quinton Schoefield
Sir Pose a Lot – Paul Bryce
And with so much kiting, instruction and on water motivation there was sure to be some awesome progressions. Some of these include:
Puncho (Daniel M) – Raley to blind, front to blind, blind judges and so much more. Awesome work mate!
Onions (Scott D) – Consistent backrolls, load and pops, galleys and some massive boosts. Almost a camera landing too, top stuff!
Phil & Richard L – The father and son battle to the top, haha. So good to see you guys looking so confident and able to have a great time out there. Right on the verge of jumps as well. Top work guys!
B.O.G. (Emily C) – Beach starts… with style! Awesome controlled jumps with grab and so good to see you out there nailing backrolls. Well done!
Tessa & Ana – You guys nailed it! Amazing to see those consistent and controlled rides ladies, and Ana, that’s one of the funniest jump photos I’ve seen in ages. Well done guys!
Flighty (James N) – Some very cool looking deadman’s, great work on the backroll kiteloop handrags and darkslides are definitely right there. Great work… amazing guitar tunes and awesome outfit!
Randy (Andy F) – Darkslides… CHECK! Frontrolls… CHECK! Slow frontroll grab kiteloop transitions… CHECK! Awesome to see it all coming together big fella. Also amazing work behind the lens and on Randy’s Bar with the guitar. Love your work!
Chilli (Ben E) – An absolute demon out there. Started the first day looking a little home made technique wise but with a little nudge in the right direction and a bunch of natural talent that had already got you so far it was epic to see you putting it all together and just nailing one thing after the other. Top stuff Chilli!
Craig N – Some fantastic beach starts, a cracking start on jumping and what looked like some awesome exploring and tweaking technique wise out there. Great work Craig!
Stephen E – Awesome grabbed jumps and a big improvement on the load and pop technique that’ll open up heaps of new options for you. Top stuff mate!
Seg (Sarah M) – So good to hang out in Aitutaki with you again! Great to see those big load and pops and boosting for the skies back in control (when your foot doesn’t escape, haha). Good stuff out there!
FS haha (Rob D) – Stylish looking backrolls, great steps forward in that load and pop technique and some awesome height coming through on the jumps. Good work mate!
Wrecking Ball 1 (Amanda C) – Backrolls back on the agenda, some epic height and style going on in those grabbed boosts and looking like a whole lot of fun out there. Bit of launching practice and we’re all set… haha. Top stuff Manz!
Amy H – Backrolls, boosts, grabs and more. Looked like a whole lot of fun out there every session. Love seeing people going hard at learning something new and not just mowing the grass. Keep it up!
Eddie G – Massive leaps forwards on the raley side of things mate. Load and pop so much better and the board’s now doing a lot of the work for you. So many new tricks just around the corner now. Massive effort!
Princess (Dennis N) – So much style when you’re out there mate, technique looking great. Raley to blinds so close it’s not funny. S-Bends and Darkslides looking bloody awesome and we won’t mention Jenny’s massages that kept you out there in one piece, haha. Top stuff out there mate!
Dean P, Grant J and Damien R – Congratulations gentlemen, you’re now officially kiteboarders. So good to see you piecing it all together and working so hard out there to make sure you nailed it. Very stoked for you!
Phil M – It’s definitely the first I’ve ever heard of someone popping an ab, haha. I’m not going to lie though, those boosts from your first few days were massive! A huge effort on the foil as well, some 200+ metre runs were definitely showing that you are getting it and making huge leaps forwards. Well done!
Chubby (Rohan C) – Having a red hot go! Mate you were smashing it. Backroll transitions, jump kiteloop transitions, epic wakeboarding wipeouts and so much more. Stoked to see you doing so well (on the kite, haha) out there mate, top stuff!
Alex S – Killing it! Frontrolls straight off the bat, backroll kiteloops and so much style throughout all. Your base for all jumps is looking awesome and it’s clear your understanding what’s needed out there, well done!
Brett W – Backrolls, jumps with grabs, transitions and so much more confidence out there on the water. Looking great, well done Brett!
Kin S – Great work Kin. From small load and pops at the start to super dynamic explosions off the water, way better timing through your jumps and a bunch of new tricks out there you did awesome. Great work!
Wrecking Ball 2 (Steve C) – From that stunt man Steve roll up the sand on day 1 to a super controlled looking kiter who can stop on a dime and is starting to get some little load and pops going I was super impressed. Well done Steve!
Bag Boy (Andrew W) – You looked on the final day like I did on the first day, whoever thought partying the night before was a good idea hey, haha. Awesome to see some dynamic jumps, frontrolls and unhooked raley to face (it’s like raley to toe but a little different). Those raley’s are so damn close it’s not funny, next session it’s on!
Martine M – Wow… those jumps are looking soooo much better. The timing and height was awesome. Great to see some backroll attempts getting super close. You’ve got a whole lot of fun and new tricks just around the corner now!
B.O.G. T2 (Laura D) – Confidence, upwind, technique… CHECK CHECK CHECK! Great to see a whole new confidence out there on the water, you were looking awesome out there!
Xavier C – Backroll handrag kiteloops… CHECK! Looking very solid out there. Great to see some tidying up and a big push forwards that will unlock a whole lot of new stuff for you going forwards. Not to mention some red hot kiteloop tricks taking great shape. Well done!
Paul B – From long flat jumps to controlled big explosions upward, to backrolls and a way stronger stance to load and pop from going forwards. Stoked to see you stepping it up out there Paul, well done!
Bryan M – Backrolls, boosts, transitions and a whole new bag of tricks and skills to take the LA streets by storm, haha. Great to see the progression mate, still laugh about you guys rocking up across the shallow sand flats to have a beer at Inano that still day. Good times!
Daniel G – Stoked to see you so close to nailing those backrolls and having a red hot go and some new stuff. Your boosts were looking huge over the end of the sandbar, good to see some new tricks taking shape. Well done!
Essi B & Amanda P – Stoked to share this awesome place with you guys and to have many laughs with you throughout the trip. Glad you had a fantastic time!
Douglas (aka Zac P) & Nick P – So stoked to hear the glowing reports about your help and time with people on the water with everyone. There were a lot of very stoked kiters loving the new skills that they’ve learnt. Thankyou very much for the awesome help running the tours this year, you guys were awesome!
If you’re trying to plan your escape from the freezing 2018 Winter make sure you get in quick as spots began booking before the 2017 Crew even took off. Give us a bell and have a chat about the 2018 KR Winter Escapes NOW!