Andy Yates Interview – From Issue 1

From Issue 1 – you can buy it here!

Interview by OLLIE J

Upon having the idea of starting a fresh new mag in Australia one of the first guys I rang for some stoke support was Andy. A local here on the Sunny Coast I’ve personally watched him progress from an amped grom to a world champion. It was super cool to get his thumbs up. Chatting with him further, I got the lowdown on whats been happening since the hype from his 2010 PKRA world title died down.

Andy Yates, Kitesurf, tail grab, kiteboard


OJ:So whats been happening in the life of Andy Yates? Are you still competing in comps?

The last serious events I competed in were back in 2011 and just after that I did a serious shoulder injury that took me out. Two full shoulder reconstructions, lots of rehab, the works you know.

It really made me re-evaluate what I want to do; I always wanted to go to university so it gave me sometime. I think in the future I would like to get back in to competitions but we will see.

OJ:How is the shoulder now?

The first operation failed; I never really felt comfortable with it. A screw they put in came out so they had to do a salvage operation which luckily went well. Now my shoulder is really good again so I’m stoked. I think I’m quite lucky to have only blown my shoulder and that it’s healed so well. I think your knees are possibly the worst things you could injure, but yeah I’m all good now, just have a massive scar.

OJ:Injuries really seem to plague our sport. What is your take on this?

Yeah man, if you look at all the top guys in the year I won the PKRA (2010), the points leader Kevin Langeree did his knee real bad halfway through the year which opened the door for me. Then I got injured and that opened the door for Youri… who got injured and opened the door for Alex… then Alex did his knee… Aaron Hadlow did his knee, everyone was blowing up their knees, shoulders, ankles – it’s just a matter of time in kiting.

OJ:Yes, it’s definitely a topic for discussion – how we can stop our top riders from physically burning out so quickly!

So now your shoulder is all healed, do you ride differently to avoid anymore injuries?

I haven’t really changed the way I ride, but I don’t really go out and try to land all my tricks in 30 knot conditions anymore. I used to be really determined to land all my tricks in all conditions, but now if it doesn’t feel right I’m happy just cruising. Up here in Townsville it’s generally a nice 15-20 knots, so with a 14m kite it’s definitely a lot safer and easier on the body. I guess on a smaller kite in high winds there is so much less room for error so injuries happen very easily.

OJ:OK, some good pointers there. So you’re still riding and for Ozone now?

Yeah I’m having a really good time just shooting and making videos with Ozone and getting good grades at uni, so despite the injury it’s all working out good. Got a pretty rad deal with Ozone; just went to Mauritius which was pretty sweet.

Andy rides the Ozone C4, Click here for more information on his power source...

Andy rides the Ozone C4, Click here for more information on his power source…


OJ:I’ve noticed in the pic’s we have of you some you are riding in footstraps. Can you tell us some info on this transition, i.e. what made you want to change from footstraps to bindings?

Well I’m not normally one to follow the crowd and as bad as it sounds, on this occasion that is what I did. I thought if everyone else is doing it there must be some advantages. Before I changed I didn’t like the idea of them; I thought they would limit you a fair bit and that they were heavy etc. Even when I first tried them I still didn’t like them but everyone said to stick with it. The first few weeks on them were so sh*t as they are so different, but I hung in there and eventually you realise how many more positives there are riding in bindings. You can ride with more power, land harder and faster and there’s less chance of the board hitting you and injuring you. It also looks more stylish, cleaner, more powered.

Andy Yates, Ozone Kiteboarding

Riding in bindings can increase the power of your tricks as seen above, but it can also increase the consequences!

OJ:What are the negatives or harder aspects of riding with the bindings?

It makes learning a new trick arguably harder and definitely a lot more painful when you mess up. Hundred percent you’re going to catch a rail when learning a new trick and you get some serious whiplash when you crash. What I advise, is to learn your tricks and basics in footstraps, get them stomped and then switch to bindings. In the long run you will save yourself a lot of headaches if you do it this way.

OJ:What about the safety side of riding in bindings any points here?

Obviously it’s harder to eject from your board quickly if you need to so you need to be careful doing tricks near obstacles or the shoreline. It can be quite dangerous when you are overpowered so take it easy. Also, bindings are dangerous if you wipeout in waves too of course!

OJ:But I don’t understand? How can you do big board-offs when you’re in bindings?

AY:Ha ha I’ve never actually been able to do those but I’ve always wanted to! That’s the good thing about riding in bindings; when someone asks me to do a board-off I don’t have to say I can’t do them, it’s just because I’m in bindings so it’s impossible for me ha ha!

OJ:So can you just use wakeboard bindings on a kiteboard?

AY:You can but the ones made for kiting are a lot lighter.

OJ:Thanks for all the info Andy!