What do you think about the freestyle side of the sport shifting back to Big Air – have you got more respect for the guys who have their double handlepasses or their double loops dialed in?!
I have massive respect for both double loops and handle passes, both can be just as risky. Handle passes are scarier but I have gotten broken ribs from kitelooping!
How has your life changed since becoming a dad? Best and worst parts?
The best part is that I am just a big kid at heart, I love playing and I have infinite hobbies so to share that with a mini me is an amazing experience. The trickier part is coming to terms with becoming more responsible and not being able to drop everything when the conditions are good as I have a human to keep alive.
What type of foiling is your favorite?
I couldn’t pick one type, I love them all for different reasons, it depends on the conditions. If there is wind and waves I want to wingfoil, no wind and waves I want to tow foil or prone foil, flat water and wind I want to kite foil. Being able to foil on so many different crafts in different conditions means a lot more opportunities to get on the water.
You have played an inspirational role in shaping the future of young athletes in your role as guest coach at the World Class Kiteboard Academy. If you could give one piece of advice to 15-year-old Sam, what would it be?
I love coaching the kids at WCKA! I wish I could have gone to that school growing up. My one piece of advice would be to find things in life that you’re good at, work harder than everyone else and become the best, it will take you somewhere cool. Always be humble. Figure out how you can make a living doing what you love to do, own your niche!
Since the glory days of the “UK Crew” there hasn’t been a similar crop of top class riders emerging from the UK – why is that do you think?
The UK crew was a strong contingent, we fed off each other and brought different skills to the table that meant we were a productive team when we came together. There is a new crop of very promising riders coming through the ranks at the moment, such as Max, Charlie King and the kite twins, I am really excited to see their careers unfold.
I’ve seen on your IG and YouTube that you’ve been exploring a lot more recently, do you find that your goals in kiting and winging have changed in the past years?
I have always enjoyed sailing adventures, when foiling came around it suddenly opened up opportunities of foiling around islands or going on adventures that have never happened before. I have a long list of islands I want to circumnavigate, I love that feeling of being exposed to the elements, planning and conquering a mission and producing a story about it to share with other people.
Every video you have ever made is of premier quality with deliberate etiquette. Videos such as De Brazil, Welcome Away, and anything you have ever put your mark on will forever hold value and influence. What can kiteboarders do to have a positive impact on those outside of the kiteboarding industry?
Thanks for the kind words! I always had this idea from my skateboarding days where I didn’t want to do tricks other people were doing, I was really motivated to land tricks no one had done before. It felt groundbreaking rather than repetitive. At the time I was wakeboarding more than any other kiter and I realized there were so many possibilities we had never thought about kiting. For such an open sport, it’s still surprisingly easy to get stuck in your box. I always felt like the old PKRA freestyle tour everyone use to do the same five tricks, I guess the GKA is pretty similar now, that is the nature of competition. Filming video parts allows you to be a lot more creative.
Where do you see the future of riding hydrofoils going?
I think everywhere, we are only just scratching the surface! All I know is that it enables more time on the water and that’s what it’s all about!
Slingshot seem to have a lot going on at right now, what gear have you got in the back of your van at the moment?!
Haha have you seen the back of my van?! I call it my mobile garage. Slingshot’s products and my riding style have always gone hand in hand, more often than not they produce the products that I want to be riding. Right now in my van is a kite foil with Fred Hope’s glory set up: the 657 front wing, 101 mast, Hope Craft and a few UFO V2s. I also have a 50L Wing Craft and a few hard-handle SlingWing V2s. I am ready to foil in any conditions at a moment’s notice!
You have inspired and influenced so many people with your riding; can we still expect to see you riding with boots on in the near future? Maybe an unexpected video part, Raph Derome style… go quiet and then come back from nowhere to show how it’s done?!
I am stoked to hear I inspired people! Absolutely, it is on the radar! I certainly have not hung up the boots yet, I still get plenty of cable wake sessions in the UK to keep my skills and fitness on point. I’ll definitely make another banger video at some point…