It's early morning, the first day of 2005. The wind has been howling the whole night. Ever since the sun came up it's been 8 weather. 16 Year old World Champ, Aaron Hadlow, is busy rigging his kite.
He arrived in South Africa last week - the Hadlows usually spend anything from three to five months a year in South Africa.
According to Aaron and his dad Ian, South Africa is the best place to train for the PKRA tour - not only because of the consistently strong conditions, but because of the variety of conditions.
Aaron asks me to Launch his kite. He's taking out a 9 Storm with 15 meter lines. His bar has tape around the depower line - not because it's broken but to stop his fingers from chafing when he does unhooked tricks.
He uses the first 10 minutes of his session to warm up, by doing low powered and easier tricks. By the time he's finished with the warm-up people are standing on the beach watching him. He's fired up and his really going for it. He's doing mobes, a variety of handle pass kiteloop combinations, and he is working on some new aggressive wake style tricks. All the moves are unhooked.
And then he goes for a new trick. He does a 720 mobe with the kite low and lands it. Later, when we're on the beach he tells me it's the first time he landed it.
He's doing some of the most powerful moves that I've seen. When he does kiteloops he pulls with both hands on one side of the bar - unhooked, and he's always higher than the kite with the kite very low when he does kite loops. Aaron has this amazing cat-like ability to stick just about any airborne move. Even when you think there's no way that he can land it, he sticks it smoothly. A few days ago I saw him working on a double handle pass kite loop combination.
Ian is sitting on the beach, watching Aaron. Aaron finishes the session on a positive note - he sticked a 720 mobe (which no one is landing yet) and it's going to be the new trick for the PKRA.
In the afternoon I meet up with Aaron and his Parents at their house. We look at the pictures and chat about Aaron's achievement as PKRA world champion for 2004, and what they are planning for the next few months.
Where does Aaron travel to?
Aaron and his family spends a lot of time traveling - in the last year they travelled to all legs of the PKRA tour, trained in South Africa, went home to the UK, and participated in additional competitions held in California, Australia, Texas and Hawaii. Aaron's Sponsors
Aaron is sponsored by Flexifoil, Chiemsee, Red Bull and Pro Limit. All the Flexifoil boards including the Aaron Hadlow Pro Model are manufactured by Ralph Hertweck from Xelerator kiteboarding in South Africa.
Aarons choice of kites are the 9 and 12m Flexifoil Storms - the 9m being his kite of choice. He usually uses 22m lines on all his kites, but occasionally uses 15m. Aaron's results for 2004
PKRA number 1 (world champ)
PKRA Austria 1st
PKRA Belgium 1st
PKRA Cabarete 2nd
PKRA Germany 1st
PKRA Fuerte 2nd
PKRA Brazil 2nd
Velocity Games, Texas 1st
Gravity Games, Australia 3rd
Hawaii Red Bull King of the Air 4th
San Fransisco Red Bull King of the Bay 1st