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In his own words - Our resident expert, Dom Yule...
My love affair with the water started very early in life. My folks were (and still are) great water folk and it seemed like everywhere I went as a kid had a water based element to it whether it be swimming, surfing, kayaking or sailing.
I grew up next to the sea and I remember sheltering behind a tree whenever storms came through and watching the waves crash over the sea wall outside my house. The road that led to my house would always get closed in a storm because of flooding but my mum, dad and older brothers would brave it and find a way through in their cars – pretty daring if I look back and think about it. Those storms always held a fascination with me – the power of the elements.
When I was around 12 one of my brothers got into windsurfing and I begged him to teach me. He finally agreed and would give me lessons after his race night had finished. I clearly remember the first time I managed to get the sail up, sheet in and catch the wind – the feeling of speed and glide was amazing and I was totally and utterly hooked there and then, I knew that this was something that was always going to be with me in my life.
As I got older my skills increased in the water and my passion for the waves and wind only got stronger. I started helping out at a local windsurf and snowboard importer. It was amazing – I was getting paid to play with new equipment and meet my heros!
I think it was around 1997 when kitesurfing started to hit the UK scene. As we were already fully established in the windsports world we made an obvious choice to the manufactures of the new kit to help them distribute it – it was time to learn to kitesurf!
We were all initially a little wary of this new sport. The first equipment was VERY basic. The power that we all now know and love was there but without any of the control and certainly none of the safety features that we now rely on. Despite teaching ourselves and, on occasions, being extremely painful, the learning curve was steep and we started to get the hang of it. It was now possible to see what kitesurfing was going to bring to the mix of watersports – the possibilities were clearly huge. Most interesting to us at the time were the light wind qualities of the sport. We were used to trying to lug around huge windsurfing boards and sails and all the rigging bits needed to set them up in light winds. Now we could do huge jumps in less wind all powered by something that fit into a backpack!
The kitesurfing equipment developed at a fantastic pace. One year you were riding something that was trying to kill you, the next season the improvements were so vast that you could now go upwind in comfort. Then, as now, F-One were one of the guiding lights in the sport. Rather than commercial drive the F-One team were focused on producing and developing the best kit possible to enhance the on water experience of the user.
"I started working with F-One directly back in 2008 and knew instantly I was in the right place with the right people. Apart from being welcomed with open arms into their extended family, the philosophy of what they were doing rang so true with me"
Myself (right) with F-One founder and owner Raphael Salles
"My time with F-One has been nothing short of amazing"
Above – dropping into some perfect left-handers on the reef at One Eye, Mauritius
F-One are all about progression and producing the finest quality equipment available on the market today.
My time with F-One has been nothing short of amazing. On one hand being party to, and sometimes helping with, the development of cutting edge product, on another traveling to some pretty exotic places with them to test equipment for the coming year. I’ll never forget my first trip to Mauritius with F-One – the swell forecast was off the chart and we were treated to some pretty memorable conditions.
Above – Learning to hydrofoil was a wonderful experience. Being thrown right back to beginner level was a great. I cannot recommend learning this discipline, it will blow your mind what is possible when you’re out on the water!
Working with TKC Sales as the UK importers of F-One has been a trip too. It’s a company with a long heritage and many facets but a simple goal – to only work with best in class products. You can see how F-One slots in nicely with this aim and TKC Sales have been working with F-One since it’s inception.
Being UK based myself I find myself in a great position to recommend products to those who ride largely in our waters. You’ll find that nearly all equipment works better in perfect, groomed and warm conditions but finding the right kit for the often less than ideal set ups at home can take more thought and advice. I’m happy to say that I have done a great deal of testing in home waters and hope that I can share my knowledge with you if you need a hand choosing your new board, kite, wetsuit etc
Above – spot the difference between this and the shot from Maritius! The great thing about our sport is that it can be a great session regardless of where you are. I have honestly had some of my best sessions right outside of my house on the UK’s south coast. Something special about riding waves with your friends that you can see from your living room window!