Tag Archive for 'style'


Alexander Popov

I was watching a DVD a while ago where instructors were talking about the ideal sports background for kitesurfing. Naturally surfing, windsurfing, sailing, board sports and water sports in general came up as good. The more the better.

But one instructor felt really strongly about swimming. Without strong swimming ability it’s difficult to have confidence and feel comfortable learning or progressing in any water sport. It’s fundamental. I’ve seen people in the UK kitesurfing with life jackets. To me this feels as ridiculous as surfing with a buoyancy aid. I suppose that they view it like water skiing where fear of a head impact inspires the wearing of such things. I mostly ride in waves so it’s important to be able to swim down to get under waves after a wipeout or crash. Riding in crowds, I would be terrified to wear anything that made me float. I like to feel the freedom to swim under the water to avoid collisions if anything goes pear shaped.

Whilst injured over the last month I’ve been swimming just about every day. I’ve still got at least 2 weeks to go before I can get back to my board sports. The injury has been a good opportunity to focus on my swimming more regularly. For at least the first week I felt quite uncomfortable with my stroke. Slowly it started to feel better and more relaxed. I spent the past week in Cape Town with my friend Nikola Tosic, an ironman triathlete. He’s spent quite a bit of time working on his technique with his coach recently and offered some tips.

He pointed out some areas where I can improve my rather dodgy freestyle technique. It’s going to take a bit of time and concentration to adjust and break some of the bad old habits but I can already start to feel improvements in easier speed and gliding when I manage to string some of the tips together. Alexander Popov has a beautiful technique and is a great inspiration to watch.

The pure simplicity of swimming is refreshing. The perspective is completely different to my regular sports. It’s closer to diving than surface board sports. The total immersion in water and the regular repetition of breathing make it like a meditation.

As my swimming improves, when I do get back to my beloved sports, I’m sure I’ll feel more confident in the water. Until then it just feels great.