Interview with Lewis Crathern

What made you decide to start kiting?

A combination of factors lead to the start of kitesurfing for me. Living by the ocean in Worthing was one and spending a lot of time at the local spring boards was another. I have always grown up loving competitive sport (I was known as ‘Millennium Sportsman’ at School) With all the windy weather my town receives I looked first at Windsurfing and then was attracted to Kitesurfing because of the sheer height you could achieve.

What is the first memory you have of jumping?

That takes me back….A starboard tack on a summer sea breeze evening….trying to stay up wind and just sending it for the hell of it. I thought I went massive but I think it was about 1 meter.

When did you do your first kiteloop?

I remember getting hammered again and again on backroll kiteloops. It’s so easy to do a backroll 1 and a half on that one! I would say 2004, but on of my favourite ones that I have not done for years now is the ‘one handed F 16’. You really know about it when you get that one wrong (i.e you can’t hold on)

If you were not kiteboarding professionally what would you be doing?

I would love to have pursued another sport professionally, maybe Football (soccer) or, somehow I would of tried to keep close to my passions for sport, maybe a P.E coach

C-Kite or SLE?

I use a C-kite and SLE now and I see advantages in both. my 10m Best TS for example is a great all round kite when I don’t want to take the whole quiver away. The SLE’s have such a good range though and the big ones work very well in light wind. For me though the C-Kite is the tool I want when the wind gets strong as I prefer the direct feeling for KiteLoops. However, at this time my highest jump (17.4m) was achieved on an 8m Best TS on 20m lines.

Most of the competitions you are entering are outside of the PKRA. What do you think about the PKRA having big air comps?

It’s brilliant and I think it’s great for the sport. Big Air is really exciting and is the most unique aspect of kiteboarding. I have been competing at other events outside the PKRA but they have been mostly one off events, it’s really nice to be following a tour again and to focus on having a good end of year ranking.

Describe your ideal session?

Big Kickers, Cross Shore Wind and 40knots. Record breaking conditions.

What is the hardest part about being a pro kiteboarder?

I would say it’s meeting a good partner. One that can understand the different then normal routine and the traveling. The state of mind that you have as a kiteboarder can be difficult for some people as well, if it’s epic conditions then you just have to go.

Where is your favorite spot?

That’s easy for me to answer. The spot that gave me everything, my passion for the ocean, my career, my base. Worthing, my home town in West Sussex UK.

What is the scariest kitesurfing experience you have had?

Cape Town 2009. One of my outside lines snapped halfway round a Megaloop Delayed Roll. It was one of the biggest ones I’ve ever done. From half that height I’ve done my ribs before so I just gave up and went in head first (I now believe that to be the safest way) Luckily I hit the white water from a breaking wave and it broke my fall.

What is your best tip for boosting as high as possible?

Coach Crathern recommends trying to bring your ass down to the water before you take off. It really helps you to load up the edge and also gives you a good body position once airborne.

Kickers or flat water?

If I had to chose one for life, it would be kickers. Flat water is ideal for some wake style but one of the most interesting things for me is to navigate the ocean. Waves give you this dimension and so much more is possible with them. Remember it’s usually flat in between the waves too!

Short hair, long hair?

Hmmmmm, well maybe 2000-2014 long hair and 2015 ——>>>>> short?

What does WOO mean to you?

Interaction, Progress and Fun.

Interaction – with the other riders and the maths behind Big Air.

Progress – via the data, allowing me to be a better coach and further improve my riding.

Fun – it’s great fun using these devices especially when you beat your mates 🙂

Why did you decide to join the WOO Team?

I joined the WOO team as I want to be part of this revolutionary movement that combines cutting edge technology and Kitesurfing together. I will be using my skills to help with the testing and development of the WOO whilst also exploring the coaching benefits of the device. I have got to know everyone at WOO really well now and it’s a no brainer to join the Pro Team alongside respected riders Nick Jacobsen, Ruben Lenten and Sam Mydysky.

What is one item you can’t travel without?

It has to be my 13” Macbook Air i7. It’s lightweight characteristics and incredible battery life make it the first thing that gets packed.

What’s the latest on your commentary/presenter jobs? Ever had a slip up on the mic?

I really enjoy the commentating and presenting jobs I’m involved with. Right now I work with RedBull for events like King Of The Air and Megaloop Challenge and I also have roles with the Virgin Kitesurfing World Championships, Kitesurf Tour Europe and Kitesurf Tour Asia. Commentating isn’t so demanding – you say what you see but Prize Giving adds a little more pressure. Forget the opening lines and which sponsors to thank and your in trouble. Of course I have never got anything wrong, 100% accurate 100% of the time 🙂

 Tell us more about your Schools projects?

I like to share the idea of a healthy lifestyle, being eco friendly and thinking positive through my work in Schools and Education. Renewable Energy especially wind, is also very easy to demonstrate with a kite. Typically I go into schools and perform an interactive Assembly and if the weather is right we go on to flying small trainer kites on the field.

What WOO score (height and airtime) do you think you got doing the Pier Jump?

I usually like to dodge that question as they say ‘height is in the eye of the beholder’. A good jump to me is around line length so I’d like to think that it was at least 16 meters or more.

Why do you think WOO is so important for Coaching?

WOO is great for coaching as it provides a visual reference to how well you are jumping. It’s very easy for me to record one session, provide feedback then record the second session. This way we can see the progress and areas that can be improved such as hang time. As the WOO is capable of recording all sorts of interesting data, I’m also able to access key variables like ‘pop’ which can really effect your height. The WOO is like 3rd eye to me!