This week’s interview is with professional kite surfer and old friend, Tom Court. Tom and I met when I was filming in the Dominican Republic back in 2008, and I have been a big fan of his ever since. Tom is no stranger to traveling for his passion, which requires an adventurous spirit and lots (and lots) of practice. Find out how he first began traveling for competitions, and why west Australia is his #1 surf spot. Fore more celebrity interviews, see our Celebrity Travel Addicts Series.
I would say that for about the last seven years I have been traveling at least once a month on average. From the age of seventeen Kite surfing has been a motivation for me to travel, discover the world, learn and explore new places. See things that I wouldn’t have seen at home and learning things that University couldn’t deliver. Some times I go on longer trips to explore new places or get lost exploring and other times, much shorter trips for events or competitions. Wherever I go though, I usually end up focusing on kite surfing, or making a movie of an objective that keeps me constantly busy…
The first place that I traveled on my own, was at the age of sixteen. Sat in the back room of my parent’s house, I managed to book a ticket to Fortaleza, Brazil to take part in a kite camp for one of my sponsors. Re-assuring my parents that it was fully organized by my sponsors and that they didn’t need to worry. Sitting on the plane, looking at the map in the inflight magazine, it dawned on me at the time, I didn’t even know at this point where Fortaleza was on the map… I hadn’t booked anywhere to stay and the camp I was going to was about three hours from the airport, landing at 3am in a dark, empty Brazilian airport. My traveling experience got very real, very quickly. This was the trip that I really started to enjoy traveling and the feeling of freedom that comes with it.
Probably one of my last trips to Sri Lanka, I was on a photo shoot for my main sponsor, North Kite boarding and we wanted to do something really different and see a unique side of the country. So, we contacted the Sri Lankan Army and managed to ‘acquire’ a Bell 212 helicopter to fly us and our gear to the most Northern tip of the island. Previously a civil war stricken area, it was a pretty amazing experience to see the army bases and the impact of the war on that area. To top it all off, the helli dropped us at the beach and we kite boarded across Adam’s Bridge, the chain of islands between India and Sri Lanka. It was pretty special! Watch the video HERE.
That’s a question that people always ask, however one of the hardest to answer. There are so many great places to kitesurf in the world and a lot of them haven’t been discovered yet. The more I travel and the more places I see, the harder I find it to pick one as my favorite. However, one of the best trips that I have done as far as kiteboarding is concerned was in 2011 to Freemantle, Perth in Western Australia. Spending the two months of their summer kiteboarding around the west coast delivered some of the best conditions I have seen almost anywhere.
The variety of conditions that the west coast of Australia can deliver is almost unparalleled, from mirror flat and warm water to amazing waves and rare coral reefs. There is so much space out there and so few people, that you don’t have to go far to find a place with no one else around… if you have a sense of adventure, it is possible to find yourself at spots that feel a million miles away from the rest of the world. Not to mention, if you like returning to civilization and a good party, the night life in and around Perth is also banging!
Well, I tend not to stay in hotels that often, as I prefer to ‘freestyle’ my accommodation. However, after a long time on a beach its nice to treat yourself to a few nights of five star luxury occasionally. One of the best hotels that I have been in was the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, I also went wakeboarding out in front of the hotel through the palm islands when they were being built.
Los Mellis, Tapas bar in Old Town, Tarifa, Spain. A little off the grid, but I am a sucker for Spanish tapas. This place serves typical Andalucían food and I have had some good times and met some good people there…
American Airlines, It’s probably not the best, but my gold card looks after me and I got a free upgrade to first class. I had a medium rare steak and champagne the last few times I flew with them…
Aeroflot in Russia, I have had one of the longest check-in’s with those guys… purely because no one speaks English and they don’t like it when you have 100kg’s of baggage. Not to mention the safety records… 😉
Kiteboarding has taken me to some crazy places, it’s difficult to say the most exotic, however the British Virgin Islands feels like the most tropical. White sandy beaches, drooping palm trees and azure blue water. I found myself sitting on Neker island, in a hot tub, with a cold beer and looking out over an empty and private surf break… I clearly remember thinking at the time… It doesn’t get much better than this!!
Take a spare pair of pants in your hand luggage… in case things get messy 😉
It looks like I will be going to Galicia in Spain next… or back to the Canary Islands, I’m not too sure. Wherever the wind blows…
Tom Court is a professional kitesurfer and kiteboarder from Isle of Wight, UK. He has been kiteboarding since he was 12 years old, and has placed in several international competitions. You can catch all his latest adventures on his YouTube channel. His sponsors include Ripslix.co.uk, NORTH Kiteboarding, GYBE design, ION essentials, FANATIC sup/surf, WightLink Ferries (IOW), SNUGS headphones, and RONIX wake. Connect with Tom on Twitter and Facebook.
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