A KITE-SURFER says he is delighted that the relatively “unheard-of” sport is hitting the headlines after being added to the line-up in the next Olympics.
Jamie Blackwood taught himself how to kite-surf after being inspired by some men who were flying kites while riding beach buggies on Seaton Carew beach.
The 21-year-old bought one of the contraptions and it was when he was researching the skill on the internet about six years ago that he discovered kite-surfing.
He caught the bug, bought the kit, mastered the sport and now teaches other budding kite-surfers.
And he is hopeful that the sport’s popularity could soar after it was announced that kite-surfing will feature in the Olympic Games 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Jamie, a former pupil of Hesleden Primary School and Wellfield Community School, said: “Quite a lot of people don’t really know anything about it really and when I tell them I kite-surf they think I’m going to be flying a triangle kite on a line or something!
“It’s getting more popular though and hopefully it’ll take off even more when it appears in the Olympics.”
He added: “I thought it was brilliant when I heard it was going to be in the Olympics, I think people will really enjoy it, it’s really good to watch.”
The Olympics-style kite-surfing will be more of a race, compared to the freestyle moves, jumps, twists and turns Jamie can be regularly seen practising at the Blue Lagoon, at Seaton Carew, or on Redcar beach.
Jamie, who lives at High Hesleden, near Hartlepool, said the fact that celebrities such as entrepreneur Richard Branson are also taking up the sport should increase its popularity.
“Richard Branson crossed the channel and became the fastest man to do so,” he said. “It’s a great sport and it’d be great to see more people doing it.”
Jamie has now even qualified as a kite-surfing teacher after taking a qualification in Poole, near Dorset, and is passing on his skills to people aged from 10 up to 66.