Knot Future's first trip to shoot for a full-length film didn't exactly go to plan.
Words and video by Alexander Lewis-Hughes. Photography Samuel Cardenas.
ft. Tom Bridge, Maxime Chabloz, Noe Font, and Xander Raith.
The idea seemed solid: take a few of the sports best riders to a wind-blown sandy island with a unique backdrop, kickers for days, and get to work on a full-length Knot Future film.
You’d think as Kiteboarders by now we’d be used to the idea that going on a trip and getting skunked is a real possibility, yet it always seems to sneak up on you and surprise you as much as it did the last time it happened. Having no wind for a few days is a real threat, getting skunked for two weeks hardly ever seems probable.
I arrived two days before Noe and Max and three days before the rest of the crew because I took a Charter flight that only flies once a week. In the beginning, I was annoyed I’d have to find a place for myself and go it alone but in retrospect, it was lucky I did because those two days were the only days that I’d see wind over 15knots for the rest of my two-week stay. Writing that now really makes me appreciate the gravity of the trip and my surprise as to what we made into a film. I kited myself one day on a surfboard with a new kite I’d never used before (the video is on my Youtube account).
Once the Boys all arrived the wind completely shut off, like nothing, probably as still as that place ever gets.
I thought there was no chance that the wind wouldn’t come back in say four or five days, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Canaries and not seen an outrageous amount of wind, especially in the high season, so it made me semi-confident that the boys would at the least knock out four or so days of decent conditions at the very worst.
The first few days spirits were high, in fact, I don’t think anyone was even fussed that it wasn’t windy as we relaxed in the confidence of knowing that we were in the very capable hands of one of the windiest kite destinations in the world. Some location scouting, looking for waves and a few trips to the skate park left us all frothing at the possibility of what media could come from such a trip. The location was amazing with such picturesque mountain ranges filling the screen of many a shot surely it could make even the most average of tricks look great (I guess we’d come to test that theory in time haha).
The middle of the trip is honestly a blur to me, from day four to around day 11 I couldn’t tell you which day was which or what we did any of those days. What Noe says in the film is frighteningly accurate to me every subsequent watch; we were truly “living in a loop”.
The daily routine started with frequenting a local breakfast shop. It wasn’t the cheapest by any stretch but it had a cappuccino that wouldn’t make Alberto Rondina pinch his fingers in disgust. The food was decent, not amazing, not bad, just the type of mediocrity that would have you looking back and second-guessing what you’d ordered on any given day you were there.
The center point of the Restaurant was a lady that worked there, if you watched the film already I’m sure you’re probably picturing a topless bartender by now but the reality was probably as far from that as you’d imagine. This woman wasn’t young, I'd guess somewhere around fifty, this wealth of wisdom looked like She’d been partying on the island for all of those fifty years too! At first, I think no one really thought much of Her, but after a couple of days this lady came to warm to us, She understood we wanted coffee, and she had most of our orders guessed before we opened our mouths, however, we’d yet to converse in any sort of banter outside what was located within the cafe menu.
One of the days She dropped the question, “So what are you boys doing here?”, I think we all looked around the table kind of like “oh great here it comes” type thing but Noe told her we were here to film kiteboarding. She didn’t waste a second to reply and by the reply I mean start laughing for a good little bit. “This is the least windy period of the windy season I’ve ever seen”, “I’ve never seen this little wind here in my entire life” She walked off and started making our Breakfast. From that day until around day 10 She would fill us with banter surrounding the lack of wind, slowly but surely feeling more and more sorry for us every morning up until the point at which in the last two days She completely shut up and just gave us our food.
The only days with something close to rideable wind were the last two days. By that point /
The only days with something close to rideable wind were the last two days. By that point Xander had already left, He was there for zero rideable days. The couple sessions Xander tried to ride He got around 5m off the beach and around a kilometre downwind, one of those sessions was the same day as the clip of the drone going in the water where we spent around two hours looking for a drone in cold water until Maxime put his head underwater and heard it beeping. We echo-located it like Dolphins and made Carbonara at home to celebrate that night.
This trip was more about the little things than anything tangible in a filmic sense, as you’d imagine the bants were of high priority.
Every trip has a dual level banter narrative, there’s the bottom tier that is inclusive for all; it gives even the most rookie bantee the ability to play ball if they want to, it’s usually the “catch phrase” or “repetitive phrase” bant.
Some of these types of bants simply come around for one trip then die, whilst others are forced into surviving the long haul, “Cop a Hat” is one that’s really done the hard yards and come through the gate kicking strong.
Sometimes there’s just one repeating bant other times there might be two to three on the go. “Good to get out of the city” and “I’d never buy a Jeep” were our two, with “Good to get out of the city” being the dominate banter by a large percentile.
From the bottom tier you can basically only jump to the top: intricate bant navigation is key to appealing to a top tier bant aficionado, there must be an element of intellect in choosing a piece of linguistic fodder capable of entertaining the minds of educated folk whilst at the very same moment sounding like one of the dumbest things you’d ever hear as a passer by.
Maxime somehow owned this trip. In retrospect I didn’t really see it that much at the time because I don’t feel it was his best riding at all, but his ability to somehow get tricks when no one else could even get off the beach was impressive to me. Now whether that was down to his weight, gear selection, ability, or a combination of factors I’m not sure but for anyone to get tricks when He did I think I would be impressed, it was what I would label un-rideable if He weren’t out there doing it and proving me wrong.
Noe got the most time on the water, the last day was the best day after everyone left and He managed to punch out a few long lens tricks. Honestly Noe probably saved the film, without those clips from a different angle I don’t think it would have worked very well, it really would have lacked enough contrasting angles to pull it together with the song choice. The last day was also super light and if you look close at where Noe’s riding He can basically only do air tricks and even kicker tricks In the suck out current. So many times I remember him lining up these perfect kickers and by the time He got there the current was pushing back in with him and He’d basically bog to a stop going over it. I’m pretty sure I felt his pain that session, I don’t even think I gave him a bant on the way home.
Tom Bridge probably got it the worst after Xander. Toms's bags didn’t show up from day one, so he only had what He brought onboard with him, he had to borrow surfboards and wetsuits almost the entire trip, and he also had to buy a Skateboard. The airline kept saying his gear was coming, but it never came. It reached a point where Tom decided it was a better choice to fly home and get a new bag and load of equipment than to wait for his bags to arrive. When He got back to his home airport his bag was simply lying on the floor out the back, He picked it up and returned on another flight a couple of days later. In the film, you can see we are notably impressed with Tom’s return, one because we simply didn’t think He would return and two because we were so bored out of our minds by that point that even a general task like picking someone up from the airport seemed exciting.
There’s actually a fair amount of the “story” side of things that I filmed and cataloged but on the editing floor, I decided to leave out. Why? Honestly, because it just seemed too depressing, it was by all accounts an accurate narration of what happened but to include it all in the film would have made for a pretty sad watch.
This trip still seems pretty epic to me watching the footage back in retrospect, I only wonder what it could have been with some wind!