Kitesurfing in Wellington - Che Ray

Waterbourne wouldn’t be possible without amazing volunteers like Che Ray who help organise schedules, helpers and event promotion leading up to the event. We decided to catch up with Che to see what he is looking forward to most and what is organised for the kitesurfers in 2019!


Che Ray

Waterbourne Kitesurfing Co-Ordinator

What has changed for Waterbourne this year?

A key event has been added that is inline with the Olympic Kitesurfing Profile.  Twin Tip Racing (TT:R is fast, fun racing that is spectator friendly).  Butch (Kitesurfing’s Godfather) introduced the Welly crew to the TT:R a couple of years ago up at Foxton.  It was a blast. It was well run and had the ‘fun competition factor’ all over it. We hope to provide a similar format at Waterbourne alongside some big air action if conditions allow.

We’ve mapped out new areas for landing and launching to ensure wider safety margins.  

We are also planning to use local knowledge to guide our decision making process to ensure accurate condition reports and forecasts, alongside Yamaha NZ’s support with Jet Skis.

Kitesurfing with be competitive at an intermediate level right through to the pro’s.


What is your involvement with kitesurfing in Wellington?

“I launch kites… I run the only IKO and Qualworx qualified kite academy near Wellington - Waikanae”.  Che also has a home shop in Whitby and deals in Ozone, Mystic and Xcel equipment along with a few other kite brands.

Where are you favourite spots to kitesurf in Wellington?

I ride where the conditions are favourable. Seatoun is a blast, Lyall Bay is rad. Mana and The KC are incredible. Petone can be fun and of course Eastbourne is a unique location can work on both a southerly and a northerly.  

Eastbourne is a special place for riders because of it’s unique nature. It’s a logical choice to allow beginners’ new riders an opportunity to participate while still offering a fun location for the more experienced.


How long have you been kitesurfing?

About 7-8 years now.  I had a lesson in Poole in 2003 and bought gear in London that same year.  It was awful.  It wasn’t until we returned, had boys and I bought gear from Shane Anderson at Kitesurf Nelson that I gave it a real crack.  He had excellent advice and has always been incredibly helpful.  

As a teacher, I had plenty of holiday time to ride.  My sailing, surfing, windsurfing and wakeboarding skills gave me cross over skills. Kitesurfing was a natural progression.  I completed the IKO Instructors Course about 2-3 years ago.  It taught me a lot about safety as well as a range of facts like turbulence is created downwind, up to seven times the height of an obstruction.  

Other than kitesurf, what do you do with your spare time?

What’s spare time?  Building towards, local events and Waterbourne. Grow my new family: Two mischievous boys, beautiful new step daughter and ride a motorbike with my stunning new partner.  I also teach English and Music at my boys College in Paraparaumu. I play Squash, chess and Fortnite.  I’m also not succeeding at finishing off Captain Corellies Mandolin.  Hang out with the mad Wellington Crew and host Whiskey parties.


What are you looking forward to most at Waterbourne?

Friends!! Can’t wait to catch up with friends. It’s a sweet excuse to hang out, ride and give competition a crack, even if you’ve never tried it before.

The food, the music.  I think Joshy (11 year old son) would like to bust out his flossing again.

What was your main memory for Waterbourne 2018?

MJ charging. Hanging out at the Ozone tent and talking kiting/sh#t. Matt (Mr Ozone) Taggart and Morgan enjoy what they do so it’s a great opportunity to not only demo gear but chat about what certain features in equipment offer. 


Have you ever supported Movember before?

I’ve supported Movember in the past. When my wife had cancer, I was most certainly a part of Movember.  I think it’s a brilliant light hearted, yet visual reminder of good causes.

Laurence Carey