Polly CrathorneAge : 1994
Country : England
Kitesurfing has become a Crathorne family "thing". All of us (younger sister, older sister, mum AND dad) love nothing more than a kiting adventure. My father was in the Special Forces, meaning family walking expeditions in Wales were not uncommon when we were growing up (actually, we are still growing up). Skiing has also been a part of our lives for many years, with all of us girls competing at some stage in slalom - although
freestyle in the moguls is where it's at! I started off as an artistic gymnast, after it was decided by my dance teacher that 'ballet wasn't for me'. After several years competing in floor and vault I became a gymnastics coach, aged 15. And I have been earning money from this for kite trips ever since!!!
We got into kiting when my older sister bought an Animal pencil case with a
photo of Kirsty Jones kitesurfing on it. It started off as a father-daughter bonding activity between them, but we all soon caught on and wanted a piece of the action.
I started competing on the British freestyle circuit in 2008, and had a disastrous first round in Brighton but I went on to gain three podium positions overall in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in the amateur division. In 2012 I competed in the pros for the first time and became British Champion -pretty surreal.
I see competing as an important way to get inspired and motivated to progress. And I keep pushing myself by using one of my dad's mottos - "pain is a sensation and a sensation is to be enjoyed"!
"Training" has taken our family to some pretty remote kiting locations all over the world, with mum as our tour guide and travel guru. The classic Crathorne trip is one with wind, sea, desert and a couple of tents. We also love to travel around the UK in our 'Kite RV' seeking out new spots and attending the BKSA events. My inherent taste for adventure means I am always thinking of the next challenge or expedition. In 2010 I became the youngest person to kitesurf across the English Channel, while my sister and I were the first women. With our only support being our friend driving my mum in his boat, and a compass glued (the wrong way around) to my dad's board. We made the crossing in less than perfect conditions, dodging ships in the Dover Straits - the busiest shipping lane in the world, and avoiding the French customs officials.
Accomplishments : British Kitesurfing Freestyle Champion 2012 First woman and youngest person to kitesurf across the English Channel 2010 Under 21 award of merit for gymnastics coaching