We’d been toying with the idea of trying out kite buggying for a while, and wondered if we could find a course anywhere in the UK. After a bit of internet research I found Paraventure an “air powered activity” company based in Wales. I found out a bit more about it, and then we booked ourselves and Jono onto the one day Parakarting course.
The course was held in the Pembrey Country Park which has one of the longest and cleanest beaches in Britain (it reminded Jono of New Zealand), and our instructions were to meet Steve and Nick (our instructors) near the cafe at 10.30am on Sunday. There were 5 of us in our group, and we drove in convoy to Car Park 2, the car park with the best beach access. Our first task was to find a helmet to fit, and then to choose, and help adjust the buggies themselves. Once we all had a buggy which was sized about right, we packed our stuff onto our buggies and headed off along the beach to gate B (the start of the buggy zone). We set up a base camp, and Steve started to tell us all about power kiting. The first kite he unpacked had tangled cables (apparently Nick’s fault for not packing it away properly) and so we unpacked a second one and all had a go launching it and bringing it back down again before Steve kitted us all out with our own kites. I started off with a 1.9 metre sq Advance Janus, as Steve wasn’t sure how strong I’d be, Rich got a 3.1 metre sq kite, and Jono got an Advance Tethis. We all played with out kites for a while, and were given harnesses to ease our arms a bit, and then after more instruction Steve swapped me onto a 3.1 metre sq Advance Janus. I got on okay with this, and got a bit more pull out of it (which was great fun).
I had a bit of familiarisation time with this new kite, and then Jono, Richard and I got instruction from Nick on how to ride a buggy. We listened, and then tried one at a time with Nick keeping a careful eye on us.
We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and had great fun. Richard and I both got pulled out of our buggies a few times – I fell out mostly when I suddenly realised I was going a lot faster than I really wanted to be, and panicked… We all took a break, a chance to rest our arms, and Richard and I swapped kites. I didn’t get on very well with that kite, it wasn’t as forgiving as the Janus, and was a bit of a handful for me. I tried to buggy with it, but it has a much smaller window for flying, and so every time I tried to turn a corner I either came to a halt or fell out. Not the kite for me. Richard on the other hand, seemed to adjust well to the Janus and so it’s a possibility that a 3.1 metre sq Janus might be finding it’s way into our posession (I notice that the only UK retailers are Paraventure themselves).
Fortunately for me, Richard came back in with the Janus, and so I got to have another play in the buggy (I was feeling a bit fed up with myself – I’m not good at failing at something when I’d done alright not that long before). I did alright this time, and had some quite good runs up and down the beach and even controlled my speed a bit better before deciding that my arms really hurt and I needed to stop. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring the kite down this time as my arms were just too sore and so Richard came to my rescue.
We all packed our stuff up, and headed back to the car park dragging our buggies behind us, discussing what a fantastic day we’d had. And it’s true, it really was great, but today, oh boy do my muscles hurt. Oh, and my face… I have had to endure people staring at my lobster red face, with very well defined sunglasses marks on it (this wasn’t sunburn, this was windburn…). Don’t forget to check out the photos.
If you want to learn to power kite or parakart, then check out Paraventure as they were really helpful and knowledgable and were worth the £65 that the course cost us.