YOUNG KITESURFER BOUND FOR SPAIN

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

NED­LANDS cham­pion kitesurfer Mani Biss­chops (16) will glide on his 1.1m-high kitesurf­ing hy­dro­foil at the World Sail­ing Cham­pi­onships (WSC) in Spain next month.

“As soon as you get up on the foil ev­ery­thing from the wa­ter goes dead silent, and it’s like a magic car­pet be­cause all you can hear is the wind,” Mani told the West­ern Sub­urbs Weekly.

Kite foil­ing uses a car­bon fi­bre or light me­tal hy­dro­foil wing that lifts the kite­board and its rider from the wa­ter’s sur­face in of­ten only very light winds.

When rac­ing, the boards can reach speeds up to 70km/h go­ing down­wind.

Mani is a Shen­ton Col­lege Year 11 stu­dent who was nine when he started reg­u­lar kitesurf­ing, and he is now Aus­tralia’s top ju­nior com­peti­tor.

His wins in­clude the WA Foil Rac­ing cham­pi­onship’s ju­nior sec­tion, top ju­nior and fifth over­all in the Lancelin Ocean Clas­sic Lancelin, and ninth over­all and sec­ond ju­nior in the Light­house to Leighton off­shore race last sum­mer.

He said rac­ing his foil against “older guys, those about 20” pushed him and he had his eye on com­pet­ing for Aus­tralia if kite foil­ing, or its race board­ing coun­ter­part, be­came part of fu­ture Olympic Games.

With his fa­ther, Mani uses some of the skills learnt at school to make car­bon fi­bre kite rac­ing boards stamped with the fam­ily’s name for Aus­trian kite foil­ing com­pany Le­vi­taz.

“We’re not wor­ried about Mani stray­ing or any­thing be­cause kit­ing com­pletely oc­cu­pies him and uses up all his en­ergy, so it’s like any good sport,” Mr Biss­chops said.

His son was just 14 when he first com­peted over­seas, with his mum in tow as chap­er­one, but since then he has looked af­ter him­self, trav­el­ling the world kitesurf­ing cir­cuit for two years. “This op­por­tu­nity to travel, to see the world and to po­ten­tially do well in this sport is only avail­able to him now,” Mrs Biss­chops said.

The suc­cess has brought help from Dun­craig’s Spe­cial­ist Kitesurf­ing, and the Ax­iom and For­ward WIP cloth­ing lines in Perth.

“He now has a net­work of kite surf­ing friends in each coun­try, so it’s like trav­el­ling with fam­ily,” Mr Biss­chops said.

Af­ter the WSC, Mani will get on his reg­u­lar kite surf­ing twin-tip board to com­pete in the Euro­pean Kitesurf­ing Cham­pi­onships in Italy.

Pic­tures: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d469394

Mani Biss­chops is one of the world’s best ju­nior kitesurfers.

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