Olympic kitesurfing hopefuls show off skills at national championships

  • Watch: Kitesurfing brother and sister speak to ITV News Meridian about the road to Paris 2024

Two rising teenage kitesurfing stars, from Kent, have spoken of their hopes of competing for Great Britain at the Paris Olympics

Mattia Maini, 16, and Francesca Maini, 19, from Herne Bay, were among around 50 kitesurfers to take part in the British Freestyle Championships in Ramsgate this weekend. 

The brother and sister have both been kitesurfing since they were very young and have taken part in a number of national competitions, in a variety of disciplines. 

The siblings told ITV News Meridian it would be “amazing” and “incredible” if they were one day able to represent their country in the sport.

Kiteboarding has been confirmed for inclusion in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, for the first time.

Francesca said: “We do a lot of foiling, hydrofoil training, mostly down in Portland, Weymouth. We’ve done a lot of that. And we basically just do any type of kitesurfing, pretty much.”

Different forms of the sport were on show in Ramsgate, including wing surfing or kite foiling.

It’s the third time the national championships have been held in Ramsgate, with last year’s event cancelled because of coronavirus. 

Active Ramsgate and the British Kitesports Association are both involved in staging the competition.

Despite wind preventing some of the competitive races from taking place, the free on-land public taster sessions were fully booked. 

  • Watch: Lewis Crathern, Four-time British Kitesurfing Champion

“The spotlight is really on kitesurfing now,” according to four-time British champion, Lewis Crathern, who was part of the commentary team for this weekend's championships.

He is expecting the number of people taking up the sport in the UK to grow ahead of the Paris games, especially given what he describes as the “superb” weather conditions in this country. 

  • Watch: Video report from Ramsgate by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw