By Greg Butt
The Southampton University Kitesurfers (SUKS) took a weekend out of their studies for a welcome break in Ilfracombe, Devon. The buses left on Friday for a weekend of what looked to be full of great Kitesurfing for new and experienced riders. With 2 long days of kiting and a big night out in North Devon, the weekend had everyone stoked!
The trip was due to depart at 5pm on a fine windy Friday evening, but, in true SUKS style they were late. With the freshers anxious to get on their way, the committee rounded them into the Stags Head for a couple of drinks to help them break the ice with each other while the minibuses were tracked down. As they turned up, one by one the minibuses were loaded with mountains of Kitesurfing kit and then off they went.
Arriving several hours later the different stories of the journey down were shared among the freshers. A quiet night in was welcome due to the long journey and the anticipation of the weekend ahead. Early on Saturday morning, the first minibus took the beginners to the school before the tide came in at Westward Ho!
Once everyone else had pulled themselves out of bed the rest of SUKS made their appearance on the top of the pebble ridge that runs all along the beach, only to discover that the wind was blowing the wrong direction. After chatting to the kite school’s ‘Team Players’ and some locals SUKS discovered a nice flat water spot for the more experienced riders to head to. They kited the day away and everyone had a great time ready to head back to the hostels for dinner and the evening’s entertainment. Everyone was really excited with the progress they made that day.
The evenings theme was super heroes so all the guys and girls pulled their tights on and made up their heroes for the night. It all started with the usual games and chit-chat then the other hostels arrived (late – of course). They squeezed the near 50 of us into one kitchen and a table filled with various concoctions of alcohol to get them in the mood. Eventually they made it to the club to find that Illfracombe didn’t have much of a night life and quickly made the night theirs, the rest is history! (Particularly the large amounts of club incest!)
Some of the keener rugby fans crawled out of bed to watch the world cup final at 8.30am as the others lay in bed feeling sorry for themselves. After the game everyone packed up ready to go to the beach for another day of kiting before heading back to Southampton. The day brought more wind resulting in a fantastic day for the club again. With some tired and still hung-over kiting there were a few mistakes made but no injuries or broken kit. After another long day kiting the beginners were getting to grips with the sport and then had a chance to watch the clubs more experienced riders later in the day.
After a long session on the water everyone was tired and once again ready to hit the road back to University. As they headed through Devon four freshers willingly indulged themselves to a KFC bucket eat-off. With a clear winner, devouring copious amounts of chicken, Dom Wilson left the others gazing at his tray of bones as they forced the rest of their meals down.
After a late return to the concourse everyone got home by about 1am and certainly not ready for lectures at 9am on the Monday, nevertheless everyone was overwhelmed with the success of the trip.
If you want to know more about Southampton University’s Kitesurfing Society visit the SUKS website. SUKS also meet weekly at the Stags Head on Monday’s at 12 – 2 pm.