COUNTY NEWS: Sussex kitesurfer 30cm off record during Storm Brian

Worthing's Lewis Crathern in his home town during Storm Brian. Pictures: EUNICE BERGIN

Spectators were treated to a show by some of the world’s best kiteboarders as Storm Brian struck.

There was plenty of sunshine as well as 50mph south-westerly winds on Saturday, when Lewis Crathern set a new Worthing record in his home town.

Worthing's Lewis Crathern in his home town during Storm Brian. Pictures: EUNICE BERGIN

The record of 22 metres was only 30 centimetres off of the British record Lewis set last year in Ramsgate.

Lewis said: “Worthing was going off on Saturday. It was really incredible to be out there. The waves were massive which provided the perfect launch ramps to have a go at the British record.

“I was so close to getting it and you go to bed wondering ‘could I have just raised the board that bit higher?’.”

But Lewis hopes next time high winds hit, Worthing will be the place where he beats the record. “In Worthing, we are blessed with many advantages over other beaches,” he said.

“For example, the beach faces the perfect direction for the strong westerly wind.

“High tide is the most special time to kitesurf, which is unusual on the south coast. This is because there are no groynes or obstacles in the way.

“Combine that with the perfect place for people to watch in front of Sea Lane Café in Ferring, which is protected from the wind, and the free accessible parking, there is nowhere in the world I would rather be kitesurfing.”

Lewis said the other key was, of course, the speed of the wind.

“I think the record stands at about 28 metres, which I am five metres away from,” he added. “But one day, when we receive 60mph, I am certain I can bring the world record here. It’s a misconception that the sea becomes choppy – after a certain windspeed the ocean becomes very flat in between the waves, which feels so nice under the board. It also gives you a good surface to build speed on.”

Five-time world champion Aaron Hadlow and 2016 vice-world champion Lewis were on the water riding eight-meter North Kites, and 2009 fellow Worthing Pier jumper Jake Scrace also braved the conditions on what was said to have been the best day of the year so far. A handful of other experienced locals all made it on to the water to welcome Storm Brian.

More information about Lewis is available at his website, www.lewiscrathern.com

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