Kiteboard Magazine interviews Llew Simmonds
Llew Simmonds is the perfect example of how good somebody can get at kiteboarding in just one season. Last year, Llew combined his wakeboarding background with the power of a kite for the first time. His first runs using the wake were to say the least, humble. Now one year later, Llew turns heads everywhere he rides, landing tricks people can’t even name or describe. All with full wakeboard power and technical precision. Llew is not a windsurfer riding a wakeboard. Llew is a wakeboarder riding a kite. Llew hails from South Africa and carries the typical SA unedited, direct and sometimes shocking (for the US) sense of humor with him. Hanging with Llew will privy you to words, phrases and sayings you may never hear again in your life. All hysterically funny and in good spirits. He’s always yelling about how good it was, or driving around in his Jeep blasting techno, or asking what he could do to help out with a new project. His charisma for the sport and life in general is a good example to live by. On the water, Llew innovates, pushing the envelope every session. His ability never stands still. Every session will leave you thinking: “You can do that on a kite?!” , or “What the #$%^ is he doing?” He did all of this in one year. It makes it a realistic dream for all of the young riders out there. Llew had that dream and now he is living it.
Birth place: Somewhere in South Africa
Age 27 going on 17
Yrs riding “Properly” 1
Sponsors: REAL kiteboarding, Wipika, Jimmy Lewis and Ultranectar
KB: What's it like in SA where you are from?
LS: I’m from a small surfing/fishing town on the east coast . Great surf, beautiful beaches and some good wind too!
KB: How did you end up in Florida?
LS: I wanted to go wakeboarding in Orlando but ended up working on yachts in Fort Lauderdale.
KB: What got you interested in kiteboarding?
LS: I’d always played with power kites and loved being on the water and this sport just made sense!
KB: When was it time to leave Florida and move to someplace with better conditions?
LS: I went to Hatteras for a month in the Fall of 2000. After that, I knew I had to live there if I wanted to get good quick.
KB: Why did you choose Hatteras?
LS: Tons of good wind, glassy water in 25 knots, unreal surf , endless beaches and kick ass people to kite with.
KB: How was Hatteras last year?
LS: It was a kite boarding paradise, I spent more time on the water than I spent on land!
KB: What!? I heard there wasn't any wind there in the summer?
LS: Oh yea! We had 24 days of 20 knots or more in July , there’s no wind in summer. NOT!
KB: Describe your riding style. What are you trying to get done out there?
LS: Wakestyle powerkiting, (no chicken) stick as many wakeboard tricks as possible on a kite.
KB: Do you jump high any more?
LS: Not really , only when jumping over stuff (islands, boats , windboarders)and in big surf.
KB: What kind of gear are you riding?
LS: Wipika kites, Jimmy Lewis boards.
KB: Why wakes?
LS: They are the only thing I like riding, you can ride really powered with a lot of control on your edges, and you dont have to think about your feet all the time, the board is just there .
KB: Don't you want to take your board off and twirl it around?
LS: No thanks, I’m all set.
KB: I heard you spent a lot of time on a jetski last year in Hatteras. What's up with that?
LS: Its was for teaching people, its the best teaching tool there is! It makes teaching kiteboarding so easy because you are always right there with your student.
KB: Is it true that those things will chafe your ass to the bone after a full day on the wheel?
LS: Yup! The glutis maximus get a pounding!
KB: Alot of pros wouldn't touch teaching kiteboarding with a ten foot pole. Why do you like it so much?
LS: I dig seeing the stoke that people get out of learning how to kite, and teaching is what keeps me on the water all day every day.
KB: We heard Hatteras is dry in more than one way?
LS: The place has a serious lack of chicks!!
KB: We heard that your taste in women was pretty picky and that your dry streak was mostly your fault?
LS: No. Last summer was all about kiting, not about chicks, and Hatteras has no chicks with teeth over the age of 15.
KB: What's the riding been like this winter in SA?
LS: Really good, this place is going off, there are a lot of good riders here and they ride in some serious wind and surf. There are also so many good spots here that haven’t been ridden yet.
KB: Did you make up for your dry streak in Hatteras?
KB: Why did she say yes?
LS: I told her that my virginity had grown back.
KB: What are your plans for this coming season?
LS: To ride every day with my buddies, learn new tricks, create stoke, compete and get as much coverage for myself and my sponsors as possible.
KB: Where can we see the “Dermis” riding?
LS: The REAL web site www.realkiteboarding .com
KB: Any one you want to thank?
LS: I want to thank REAL kiteboarding for the best summer of my life and getting where I am in kiteboarding today, Trip Forman and Matt Nuzzo rock. Thanks to Brad Duffy at Wipika, Jimmy Lewis and Chip Wasson of UN for the gear. Jason Slezak for all the killer sessions in the Slick and all the other cool people in Hatteras.