Kitesurfer Spotlight: Duncan Milburn
Kitesurfer Spotlight: Duncan Milburn
Core Kites Ambassador and local kiting legend Duncan Milburn is what you’d call a bit of a veteran when it comes to all thing’s kitesurfing, with 18 years of experience under his harness.
Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Duncan has moved back and forth between the UK and Australia over the years and has been back in Western Australia for about 9 years now.
If you kitesurf around Safety Bay or Woodman Point there is a fair chance you have seen Duncan out on the water. Kitesurfing is his passion and no matter the weather, Duncan is out there chasing the wind whenever he gets the chance, whether that’s down at his local kitesurfing spot at Woodman Point, or basically anywhere in WA where the wind is blowing - he’ll even drive all the way to Albany and back in a day just to make the most of the windiest of conditions.
The inspiration to become a kitesurfer
A skateboarder back in the day, Duncan’s inspiration to give kitesurfing a crack came after he saw a young guy called Aaron Hadlow competing against another pro, Martin Vari, on the UK cable TV channel Eurosport.
“They were jumping really high and it was a sport I had never seen before. Coming from skateboarding where everything is quite linear and you’re on the street and hopping around on rails, kiting was completely brand new, no one was doing it so to see it back then I had to do it.
With skateboarding you had to use ramps and manmade structures to get height, kitesurfing seemed completely free, you just tweak a bar and you go up in the sky… like how do you do that??
I pretty much used all my money and maxed out my credit cards to get all the gear and some insight into how to do it. It was quite a suicidal learning program, Scottish waters are a bit of a challenge. Me and a friend lost kites, got injured, damaged things, nearly drowned. There wasn’t any instruction back then to show us how to do it. We’d get pictures we’d see on the internet of how things should look, even to setting up kite lines and guessing how they should go.”
This self-taught kiting addict still skateboards occasionally but due to the high risk of injury he tends to veer away from anything that might take him away from time spent on the water kitesurfing.
His weapon of choice? The Core XR + Core Nexus.
Now a dedicated kitesurfer, Duncan has dabbled with gear from a range of different brands but is now a loyal ambassador of all things Core Kites. For the past 3 years his weapon of choice has been the Core XR.
The high performance freeride / big air / freestyle kite that is the Core XR is awesome for stability in gusty storms, jumps the highest and holds shape a lot better than a lot of other brands Duncan has tried. Core uses industry leading, Coretex 2.0 triple ripstop canopy fabric to ensure that stability in the higher winds and jumps. The delta bow shape of the kite is engineered to rip upward when underpowered and boost bigger on demand, guaranteeing an awesome session. The Core XR is Duncan’s go-to kite for old school and big air kitesurfing.
In the last year, Duncan has also added the Core Nexus to his quiver. This kite is the perfect all-rounder, the design of the Core Nexus means that you no longer need to decide whether power, turning speed, lift or drift is more important because it has it all. The Core Nexus is stronger and more robust, yet lighter and more agile. Using the Core Nexus range has allowed Duncan to train with kite loops and to revisit doing handle pass tricks.
As for kiteboards? It’s the Core Fusion board and the Carved Custom (carbon fibre) board all the way for Duncan.
Leader of the Big Air pack
Don’t just take Duncan’s word for how great the Core Kites range is, you just need to check out the Big Air Leaderboards around WA on WOO Sports to see where our Core crew are ranking.
In Safety Bay, the top 3 riders all use Core Kites. In Woodman Point, the top 5 are all Core Kite riders too.
While we’re on the topic of WOO Sports, Duncan and the crew were on a bit of a mission for a few seasons, going out in as windy as possible conditions, using the XR to see how high they could jump. Duncan managed to get some decent leader boards around WA, currently ranking 383 out of about 360,000 kitesurfers around the world – pretty impressive!
Best spots to kitesurf in WA
For Duncan, every kite spot has its niche, its advantages and disadvantages. Woodman Point is his local so he has it all mapped out, no matter how busy it gets he can still find his area to play. Safety Bay gets absolutely heaving so it’s all down to timing - in winter time when the storms are through Safety Bay can be really good as when the weather is that bad the fair-weather kiters don’t come out so Duncan and the crew have the area to themselves.
Duncan’s favourite spots to kitesurf in WA? Augusta is one of his favourites as in summer it gets really strong winds. Coronation Beach (just off Geraldton) is another awesome spot as it can be really windy but also has really good waves for ramps. And of course Exmouth is another favourite spot to kitesurf in WA. Duncan has his go-to beaches for an epic session but unfortunately won’t disclose them to us… we’ll get it out of him one day…
Top tips from the kitesurfing pro
What’s Duncan’s advice for all the kitesurfers out there? Whether you’re new to the sport or have been at it for a while now here are a few tips to help your progression:
“Kitesurfing is the perfect adventure sport and the embodiment of escapism so don't let trends or competition stop you from enjoying yourself out there.
Look after your gear and inspect for wear and fatigue regularly, if you look after your gear, it will look after you.
Get used to flying bigger kites in moderate winds it will help your progression & kite handling for the strong stuff!
And have fun!”
If you see Duncan kitesurfing down at Safety Bay or Woodman Point he’s always happy to have a chat and impart his kiteboarding wisdom on anyone who’s looking for some tips. So next time you see him make sure you say hi, and if he tells you where his secret kite spots are in Exmouth please let us know!
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