Kite Landboarding - Lewis WilbyIt is with great pleasure to announce that Powerkiteshop Sponsored Team Rider Lewis Wilby has won the title of European Champion at Berck Sur Mer, France on 25.03.06!

Hosted by Opale Glisse this premier event was put on for French and Foreign Kitelandboarders. It proved to be well organised well natured and inspirational event.

The news before we got to Berck Sur Mer was it would be light winds and occasional rain showers. We packed up as many big sized kites as we could and just for good measure took the 17m Strike 2 just in case. Little did we know how important it was going to be!

On the beach that first morning it was blowing in at a cool cross-shore of 13-18 knots. We set up the Flexifoil Strike 2 17m and Flexifoil Blade III 4.9m to allow Lewis and Aston to get to grips with the conditions.

Soon enough Lewis and Aston were pulling off some fantastic variation grabs as well as their trademark pop-shovit's. But then it was clear that the level of riding in Europe is much higher and that both were going to have to ride to their fullest in order to get through the heats.

Into the first heat of the "Foreigner Championships" - riders from Belguim, Holland, Ireland and the UK were all out to take the very first championship back with them.

Kitelandboarding - Aston Wilby

Aston Wilby took to the stage with his barrel-roll's and foot-out back passes which proved to be a winning combination to get him through to his next heat.

The 3rd heat also saw Diarmuid Higgins from Ireland taking on some smooth but aggressive kiteloops and unhooked raileys to see him through to the semi's as well as MBS UK rider Mark Berry.

Into the Semi-finals and Lewis and Aston took the riding up another level pulling off various transitional manoeuvres. Aston keeping it safe going for more simpler manoeuvres but landing them solid and smooth whereas Lewis taking the option to do almost every move unhooked including his kiteloops and 720 rotations landing to blind, and despite a failed attempt earlier in the heat he managed to land a successful aerial handle pass rarely seen in freeriding sessions let alone competition.

UK's Mark Berry, Adam Davidge and Woody Goodrick together with Ireland's Diarmuid also went through making it a final that was going to put everyone through their paces.

With the weather deteriorating - riders were having to change kite sizes not just because of the wind conditions but simply because they were so wet they were not flying correctly. Aston opting for a dry Blade III 6.6m depsite the increasing wind conditions.

The final seemed to be all about power moves throughout. Every rider at some point throwing in kiteloops together with transitions and surface handlepasses. Lewis managing to pull off a super-high unhooked 1080 rotation together with kiteloop backrolls.

Kite Mountainboarding - Diarmuid Higgins

Diarmuid's unhooked kiteloops were becoming super powerful - looping low and landing them with speed. Overall it was down to the judges but we were pretty certain Lewis had it. But the rest of the positions were all a close call.

Official Results - Foreign Men's Competition:

Lewis Wilby (1st)
Diarmuid Higgins (2nd)
Mark Berry (3rd)
Aston Wilby (4th)
Adam Davidge (5th)
Woody Goodrick (6th)

Natz Reeve from the UK also managed to pull off a fantastic European Championship win in the Women's finals with her super fast rotations and low level foot-outs.

Natz also having to opt for a loan of another UK rider Tom Beaton's Water Relaunchable kite for use in the ever worsening weather conditions.

Official Results - European Womens Competition

Natz Reeve (1st)
Fanny Delmas (2nd)
Aude Chapelier (3rd)

Kite All-Terrain Boarding - Natz ReeveThe big event however was still to come for Powerkiteshop Team Riders Lewis and Aston as they battled through the European Championship heats with the French riders now hot on their heels.

This was by far the most spectacular show of kitelandboarding any of us have seen and everyone was deserved to be taking home a medal or honour of some sort.

Unfortunately for Aston - he had to pull out in the semi-finals due to sheer physical exhaustion of the competitions from the previous Foreigner Men's competition but it still landed him an amazing sixth place position for the European Championships.

The final proved a fantastic performance of both sheer skill and physical fitness. All competitors were looking tired and everyone was concerned about the overall weather conditions which had now become an all-out rainstorm making the beach into a mudbath.

Olivier Garet who had won the French Championship earlier that day and Lewis were both looking exhausted and unable to keep hold of any board-off manoeuvre.

Cheers and encouragement from rider supporters was the only thing keeping the riders focused towards the end of the lengthy final.

Kite ATB Moves - Tom Beaton

The low-level technical manoeuvres of Lewis were coming into play whereas Olivier kept them high and acrobatic.

With the last minute of time remaining in the competition - Lewis began pulling off tricks that neither us or even his brother Aston had seen him either land or attempt before - huge kiteloop / backloops, F-16's and a massive 1440 degree unhooked rotation that got the crowd's applause.

Official Results - European Championship

Lewis Wilby - (1st)
Olivier Garet - (2nd)
Julien Kermeur - (3rd)
Charles Borderon - (4th)
Gautier Cazier - (5th)
Aston Wilby - (6th)

Lewis deserved this win and all of us at Powerkiteshop would like to say congratulations to him and all the competitors on a truly inspiring performance.

It was just a shame he couldn't hold his beer as much the morning after - it was a stop and start journey all the way home!

Aston Wilby - Powerkiteshop Team Rider


Words: Dan Eaton (Powerkiteshop)

Photography by John and Dan Eaton