- Sport : Tradition meets modernism in German Wembley showdown
- Anti-money laundering : Troika distorted ‘dirty money’ findings
- our view : Our View: Anastasiades giving more ammunition to opponents of a...
- attempted murder : Woman stabbed in the back in Ledra Street shop
- Cyprus : Efforts to keep provident fund haircuts as low as possible
- bank of cyprus : Cyprus Today
- Barrosso : Barroso: all available resources mobilised to help Cyprus
- Cyprus : ‘Cyprus now on the energy map’
- Cyprus : DISY deputy tables simple health-care solution
- Ayios Dometios : Packs of stray dogs roaming Green Line
Cyprus kitesurfer prepares for Jaws
A love of waves will take one local man to Hawaii in the next few months in pursuit of one of the world’s largest. BEJAY BROWNE meets hime
A local kitesurfer will travel to Maui in November to take on a massive wave called Jaws, the first Cypriot to take it on. Christophe Meletiou, a French Cypriot, has just turned 50, and teaches his passion, kite surfing, in Pissouri.
“I live in Pissouri village which is close to some of the best kitesurfing spots on the island,” he said.
Christophe followed in his father’s musical footsteps and trained as a pianist but, drawn to water sports, windsurfing was his first love and he represented Cyprus at international events for a number of years.
“I was living in Paris and as I had to travel a long way to windsurf, I decided to move to Cyprus.” After spending a number of years windsurfing, as well as teaching and playing the piano for a living, Christophe discovered kitesurfing.
“I first saw kitesurfing on the television in the summer of1999 and I was drawn by the waves.”
Smitten with the sport, he says he immediately ordered a kite through the internet without knowing if he would like it or be able to teach himself the skills required. “I discovered that my real passion was waves. I changed from windsurfing to kitesurfing as initially you need less wind.
“Windsurfing was my life and thinking about it now, I can’t believe that I haven’t wind surfed for about eight years and I don’t miss it a bit.”
Christophe admits that kitesurfing isn’t a sport which is suitable for everyone – you have to love water and extreme sports.
“You are pulled across the water by a large kite while standing on a wakeboard or surfboard. Just like windsurfing, it is divided in different styles such as free style, wave riding, speed, long distance racing.”
And taking on ‘Jaws’ will be the ultimate challenge of his skill.
“Jaws, or Peahi, as the Hawaiians call it is the Everest of waves.” Situated on Maui’s North shore it only breaks a few times per year. It is very fast and powerful and can reach in excess of 50 foot high.
“I will be on standby for six weeks, it will be a long shot to get the right size waves and wind direction. Jaws only functioned twice last winter.”
Despite the size of the upcoming challenge, kite surfing is no more dangerous than any other extreme sport, as long as common sense prevails.
“In days gone by it was a different story but with progress made in the equipment during the last few years; if you can anticipate changes in the weather and ride within your limits it is relatively safe,” Christophe says.
The pro kite surfer explained that although different types of boards can be used with a kite, most people opt for a small square board which is used for free style.
“You can’t surf the waves with this one and after years of free styling I moved onto using a bigger board, because I love the waves.”
Christophe uses a kite and a surf board. “This is the perfect solution for lazy surfers who don’t like paddling out to catch a wave,” he joked. “You use the sail to ride the wave.” The sail makes it far easier to bring the board back to the wave if the timing is out and a wave is missed.
And, as sporting hobbies go, kitesurfing isn’t astronomically expensive. “It is cheaper than windsurfing lessons,” Christophe says. “Its costs €300 for a three-day course and the equipment (kite/board/ harness) is about €1,800 new, but it’s half that price for used equipment which I would recommend for beginners.”
According to Christophe a kitesurfer doesn’t have to be physically strong and many ladies now kitesurf. “It’s easier to learn and perform than windsurfing but it is potentially more dangerous due to the power of the sail. It’s easy to undertake a 30ft jump with a kite; but it’s not like that with a windsurfer.”
According to the wave lover, Cyprus is a good kiteboarding destination for those seeking steady winds and flat seas and to do freestyle – which consists of jumps and tricks. But it’s not challenging for those in search of big waves.
He pointed out: “As I am now into kitesurfing I’m seeking waves. We do sometimes get good waves in Cyprus in the winter but to fulfill my passion I travel to Australia, South Africa, Hawaii, Peru, Chile, Cabo Verde, Puerto Rico, Morocco and France.”
Christophe is more focused on personal achievements rather than awards. “I have been invited to take part in a number of international competitions but I was never really interested. Kitesurfing is very similar to surfing in the sense that most of us see the sport as a personal challenge and a way to interact with nature. The sport is exhilarating and gives a great sense of freedom.”
And what challenges would he like to undertake after ‘Jaws.’ “As far as kitesurfing is concerned I have done all that I wanted to do and kiting Jaws remains my ultimate challenge. I can ‘retire’ with no regrets after this and concentrate on my sail loft, which specialises in designing/building and repairing yachts and wind surf sails and of course kites.”
Christophe teaches kitesurfing in Pissouri from April to October. For further information about kitesurfing or to book a lesson: Tel: 99 604129,email@example.com, cyprus-wind.com