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TheKiteMag 53 Tangled Lines Sam Light by Eric Duran 1 1200x800 - Tangled Lines Legend: Sam Light

Tangled Lines Legend: Sam Light

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Sam Light’s kiting journey, so it seemed a good time to put him to the Tangled Lines interrogation. Growing up sailing on the south coast of the UK, Sam then got into wakeboarding and kiteboarding, becoming a master of stylish slider hits and dominating the podium at park events. He has worked for Slingshot for many years in different roles, is handy behind and in front of the camera, and can now be considered a true legend of the sport…

TheKiteMag 53 Tangled Lines Sam Light by Andre Magarao 8 - Tangled Lines Legend: Sam Light

Manuel Selman

You’ve been involved with Slingshot for many years – a super successful team rider, team manager, testing, developing, content creating – you’ve done it all… what’s your role now? And what else would you like to accomplish?

Thanks for the kind words! Anything to keep the dream alive haha! I wear many hats for Slingshot, over the years I realized I enjoy producing content and I’m good at it, everything from planning shoots, filming, editing, riding in the shoots and working with media personnel. That skillset is valuable to kite companies as creating content for wind sports is not easy. My roles for Slingshot at the moment are social media management, media production and publishing. One of my personal goals is to accomplish more adventurous foiling missions and create content doing so. I want to foil in places people have never foiled. I really enjoy that feeling of being exposed and coming out the other side to conquer something that hasn’t been done before. I have a list of top secret missions to accomplish…

Xander Raith

Growing up, you, along with the UK boys, are the reason I got into kiting. You guys exposed many parallels between kiting and other board sports, which ultimately motivated me to learn. I am curious who in particular influenced your approach to kiting?

That’s awesome to hear! I grew up watching the movie Autofocus on repeat, the Autofocus crew were a big inspiration as they too drew inspiration from other board sports and didn’t follow the conventional competition path but focused on making awesome video parts which still stand the test of time. I also watched Space Monkeys a lot growing up too, Martin Vari and Jaime were also big inspirations in what tricks I wanted to learn.

Craig Cunningham

How has the transition from pro rider to keyboard jockey been? Still getting plenty of time on the water?

I still get plenty of time on the water but I don’t travel as much as I used to. I enjoy spending more time at home these days, especially now I have a daughter. I am lucky that my job is very flexible and I often work in the evenings as Slingshot is based in Oregon so they are eight hours behind, which means I have time to grab a session during the day if conditions are good. I am also always shooting videos so there is always a good excuse to go to ‘work’ and score a session.


We’ve known you since you were a young lad doing the UK competition tour that helped a number of British riders on their way to the international stage. Would you say it was a key stepping stone for you?

Absolutely! The British events were amazing for gaining competition experience, it’s so important to learn how to deal with pressure and figuring out what works for you in competition. The comps were also great for getting to know everyone in the industry, I still keep in touch with most of the people who attended those events and those relationships have stood the test of time.

Alex Fox

You have been traveling the world kiting for over a decade; what is your favorite kite trip of all time?

Don’t make me pick one trip! I am very lucky to have done some seriously epic trips in my time but it is hard to beat some of those boat trips we went on, there is something about cruising around the Caribbean on a huge catamaran with a hot tub on the fly deck that is hard to beat.

James Boulding

You’ve managed to have a very long and increasingly diverse career in the kite (and wing) industry. What do you put your success down to?

Trying to make myself as valuable as possible for the companies that sponsor me, approaching my career as a business and figuring out how I can do it long term and not just for another year. It’s about taking the opportunities when they come around and recognizing when it is time to shift focus. I’ve worked hard to keep doing what I love for as long as I have, as treating your passion as a job is a tricky balance for pro riders.


Do you still enjoy taking your sailing dinghy out – what’s the prime conditions for that and what do you get from that that you don’t get from kiting or winging?

Absolutely! Not as often as I would like to but if there is 10 knots of wind on a sunny weekend there is nothing more I would rather do. There is something so peaceful about cruising along with the wind in your sails. Sailing the dinghy is more about relaxing rather than chasing the adrenaline fix.

Noè Font

Recently I read that skateboarders will always shoot video parts because that’s part of what it means to be a skateboarder. In your opinion, would you say that also applies to what it means to be a kiteboarder as well?

Yea for sure! Filming gives me extra motivation, especially to land a trick that’s never been done before or telling a story that has never been told. Many of the tricks I’ve landed and adventures I’ve been on I probably wouldn’t have done unless I was filming. It’s hard to explain, it’s kind of like painting a picture, you have it to look back on, otherwise it disappears into a blur of memories. My favorite times filming were probably with Alex Fox and Patrick Weiland at the start of my Slingshot career, there was something magical about not having any worries apart from landing the next NBD.

Colleen Carroll

How is it going balancing between Sam the kiteboarder and Sam the new dad?

I have to forgo a few sessions but I still get lots of time on the water, luckily Sam the Dad’s job includes going kiteboarding sometimes and we are lucky to have our parents close by who are super keen grandparents so it’s pretty easy to drop the baby off with them for a session.


What has been your proudest moment competing or working in the industry so far?

Probably winning four Triple S’s and all the KPL titles, I wish I could go back and relive it as it feels like a dream. I was ahead of the game in the park world for a few years because of all the work I was putting in practicing wakeboarding, I also did a lot of mental training at that time which really helped the contest performance. Many of my best friends were at the Triple S competitions and we had so many good times on and off the water. The prize money I earned during those years enabled me to buy a property and continue doing what I love for a living.

TheKiteMag 53 Tangled Lines Sam Light by Andre Magarao 7 - Tangled Lines Legend: Sam Light

Victor Hays

Sam, your position has changed on the team; what’s been your favorite job at Slingshot? (By the way, I went on many trips with Sam back when I was with Slingshot, and I would advise anyone never to ride too close to him – there is approximately a 98% chance of getting tangled with him!)

Haha those tangles were your fault! It was fun seeing how close I could get! My favorite job was definitely full-time pro kiteboarder but it’s not sustainable to do that forever. I really enjoyed being team manager, it was fun sharing my knowledge with the team and helping them to succeed, I enjoy roles where I can really utilize all my experience.

Eric Rienstra

Seems like you have caught the winging bug.  What aspect of it do you like most? 

I have the wing bug bad! It’s funny because I was such a wing hater at first, I thought it was a fad but it’s definitely here to stay. I have been addicted to foiling ever since kite foiling blew up. I grew up sailing, and foiling has a lot of similarities to sailing so I have always enjoyed ripping around foiling and going on missions. I like the efficiency of it, the speed and angles you can go upwind. It’s not as physical as freestyle or Big Air and it doesn’t require specific conditions to have fun but it’s still very technical and impossible to master which I love! You can foil in almost any conditions which makes it a lot more accessible and more time on the water having fun.


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!

Sensi Graves

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.

Fred Hope

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.

Polly Crathorne

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.

Steven Akkersdijk

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.

Xander Raith

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.

Tom Court

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!

Ramiro Gallart

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…

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