2002 was Ian's first season racing at any level and he chose to enter the BiC Sport Techno '283' Cup run by the UKWA. The fleet is 'one-design' and as such all competitors are on the same kit. Results are therefore down to individual performances rather than affording the latest kit. Also a factor in Ian's chosen fleet was the fact that the Techno fleet was being run within the Freeride Fleet which has to be the friendliest competitive fleet in existence anywhere.
Ian has now been windsurfing for a number of years but has only recently decided to take up the sport properly. Easter 2001 saw the start of Ian's 'focussed' windsurfing career when he enrolled on an RYA Level 1 Windsurf Instructor course at Bewl Reservoir with fellow Techno Cup competitor Mike Nicolaides. Since then December 2002 is the only month that has passed where he hasn't scored at least one windsurfing session - it blew on Boxing Day but family commitments ensured December remained a windsurfing free month.
|Name:||Ian Kraft (AKA Krafty)|
|Year of Birth:||1967|
|Windsurfing since:||debut mid-eighties on greek family holiday,
but only regularly since 2001 if honest !
|Discipline:||Racing, with half a hankering for waves too|
|Best Results:||Discovering the sport of windsurfing,
though he's snuck a couple
of trophies for the mantlepiece too
|Sail Number:||GBR 154|
2003 saw Ian, dubbed the Techno Tourist, moving up within the Freeride fleet to compete on a Techno Formula using Hot Sails Maui rigs with Windsurfing Hawaii and Absolute components. There was a marked improvement in Ian's windsurfing over 2003 and this was reflected in his results. Ian's Techno Tourist event reports have been well received by UKWA web site visitors and competitors alike. These reports were also published in the pages of Windsurf Magazine throughout the 2003 season. Ian's goals for 2003 were to encourage more newcomers to give racing a go & to try to get around the courses without falling off for so many stupid reasons. The numbers increased and a few laid the blame firmly in Ian's court for their entry, and thoroughly enjoyed their experience with many now considered UKWA regulars. The more practice Ian gets the luckier he'll become so if you want to beat him, you'd better get out there and give it a go before he gets the hang of it !? 2004 saw more of the same, only with faster and more spectacular wipe-outs on the agenda, as Ian got to grips with his bigger sail limits for Formula Freerace action, and his established quiver of Hot Sails for slalom were all once again plugged into BiC's 2004 finest.
2005 saw a change of sail sponsor for Ian with Hot Sails Maui's lack of dedicated race sail in their 2005 portfolio forcing the change. Ian had enjoyed the last couple of seasons using his quiver of Hot Sails Maui rigs and expressed his gratitude to all at Hot Sails Maui for their support to date. BiC Sport UK itself underwent a change of circumstances with the long serving and super supportive Guy Chilvers moving on to entertain some new ventures, passing the reins over to Gordon Way at UltraSport. Andy Wood took on the role for Ultra Sport as the brand manager for BiC Sport and looks to inject his own personality and enthusiasm to further Guy's work todate for the brand. With Ultra Sport also being the UK importers for JP & Neil Pryde windsurfing brands, Ian's new choice of sail for 2005 became a pretty logical one, with BiC Sport and Neil Pryde both now under the same roof. Ian is certainly looking forward to testing out the new range of Neil Pryde sails along with BiC's new offerings for the 2005 season, with boards like the Superblast looking to become firm favourites for the slalom racing action !
Ian was also supporting Eastbourne Borough Council with getting the Eastbourne Extreme 2005 event up and running, with Windsurfing playing a major role at the event with both Freewave and Slalom-X competition scheduled alongside skateboard and BMX competitions on the shores. The event proved to be good for the profile of Eastbourne and also for the extreme sports represented at the event, with plenty of media interest. Following the 2005 Eastbourne Extreme event, Ian's attentions were focussed on the Christchurch Cup event as a lead in to the Junior Youth & Master Formula World Championships the following week at the same venue, where he placed well within the top 20 Master's in the World of Formula Windsurf racing.
2006 saw a few more changes, with Ian having more responsibilities at work and also at home with ever growing family. Something had to give and formula racing saw the axe drop to create some space in his busy calendar. Ian chose to focus on Slalom racing for 2006, and also made a tough decision regarding sponsorship status, reverting from being a National Level Ultrasport teamrider, to being a shop sponsored rider for www.4boards.co.uk . With this change Ian also changed brands from the long standing BiC Sport boards he's used over past few years, to ride Tabou boards, once a niche brand that was part of the BiC Sport group. Also changed was Ian's sail brand, moving from the excellent Neil Pryde sails over to using Gaastra sails, another brand with excellent reputation for quality and performance, so in truth Ian has no excuses with equipment being below par performance wise.
Krafty finished up as the leading 'master' in the challenge fleet and placed 4th overall in the fleet, which was pretty good for someone who took the season's competition in a rather laid back manner, racing for fun and looking to encourage others to have a go. Another element of Ian's windsurfing that he has been working to improve is his wave sailing, and he's been fortunate enough to experience some excellent conditions throughout the year at locations such as Camber Sands, Pevensey Bay & Cooden to help develop this aspect of his windsurfing. One thing is for sure, no matter how seriously Ian competes for podium spots, he's going to make sure he enjoys himself on the way
2007 saw a further change of focus for Ian, as he took over as the South East Team 15 inter club competition organiser. As such Ian managed fewer events than he'd become accustomed to, and also competed in a rather casual manner. Ian ensured he took time to free-sail when possible, but with a more restrictive working envirnoment, his time on the water suffered over 2007.
For 2008 the turbulance continued with Ian being one of the original team behind National Windsurfing Week (check www.nationalwindsurfingweek.org for details) and he has continued with his Team 15 role. For the past 4-5 years Krafty has been the windsurfer piecing together the Eastbourne Extreme event, which continues on from its success of previous events, and has become a major ongoing attraction for the seaside town to help showcase windsurfing amongst other extreme sports activities.
Krafty has taken a couple of seasons off from competitive windsurfing due to other commitments but has squeezed in as much time on the water as is physically possible in the circumstances, including completing a W4CR challenge over the 2010 August Bank Holiday, windsurfing from Bexhill to Camber using his daughter’s BiC Techno 293 and a 6.9m North Duke rig. GPS showed a total distance of 33.51 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 23 knots, although it wasn’t all fun blasting with the first 90 mins of the 3 hour trip in very light winds.
Krafty also entered the 2010 ION Man event at Eastbourne Extreme, teamed up with Matt Pearch, to give the competitors the opportunity to get one over the guy who’d organised it all. It was a good job Matt & Krafty sat out the freestyle element to give everyone a chance to catch up …. 2011 is likely to see Krafty sneak in some more ‘challenge’ events and some BSA slalom events between organising Eastbourne Extreme, his Team 15 commitments and ferrying young Meg around her windsurfing events … that’s right, you better watch out …. the Krafty juniors are filtering through!!