The Sunshine Coast Qld has born and bred some of the world’s best kitesurfers, with the likes of 2010 Freestyle world champ Andy Yates; wave world champ Keahi De-Aboitiz; is home to wave kiting legend Ben Wilson, and is also the head office location for Freedom Kitesurfing! 🙂
We have it all here from waves, ponds, minimal crowds and sunny, warm conditions for a good six months of the year! One of the regulars you will spot if you visit Cotton Tree river mouth on any day over 20 knots (rain, hail or shine) is Ocean Addict’s head instructor Ben Strowger. Ben hailing from the UK has fallen in love with this place and now bases himself here, and spends his time teaching locally through Summer and travelling with Zephyr Kite tours in the winter. We had a chat with him to see how it all ties together, and how you can also get involved and taste a piece of this exciting tropical lifestyle.
BEN: Yes I’m usually there teaching or riding… It’s an incredible location- I love it. The Great thing about the Sunshine Coast is the fact that we have a very long wind season. We get NE to SE winds September through to April. Sometimes on a good winter, we will get a lot of Southerly to South South East winds which make prime conditions for downwinders. Ocean Addicts is located on the Maroochy River, Cotton Tree. An epic spot for both butter flat water for freestyle and dredging lefts and rights for wave riding at the back of the river mouth. Cotton Tree can work on several wind directions, anything from Northerlies to Southerlies and anything with east in it. In my opinion, it is one of the best spots in Australia, come into Ocean Addicts and lets go for a kite!.
FKM: Ok so you’re the head instructor at Ocean Addicts, but also on the Kite Trips with Zephyr Tours? I have seen plenty of photos from Cocos, and it looks incredible! But I also see you’re doing Tours in the Torres Strait as well? Tell us a bit about those?
BEN: The Torres Strait Islands are between the top of Far North Qld and Papa New Guinea. We charter a plane for our clients to one of the most remote islands, called Masig where we kite the incredible ‘Magic Mile.’ It’s the most amazing flat water spot you’ve ever seen, there is ZERO tourism on the island other than us, so it’s a really unique experience… you’re one of very few that are permitted to kite there.
FKM: Wow, so it’s really off the grid, what’s that like?
BEN: Well its got all the things you’d expect to find in a small country town, there are just 200 islanders, who are fantastic by the way! There’s a school, shop, medical center, etc. The Masig people are very inviting- you’ll meet and spend time with the whole community. When we’re not kiting, we are immersed in their way of life, which makes you feel welcomed and relaxed. You’ll learn about and experience their way of life, like how to fish their waters and why it’s a privilege to share the catch with the community.
FKM: Sounds pretty special! What’s the accommodation there like? Is it a good place to take the Missis?
BEN: We all stay at the lodge with multiple cabins and base our days out of the Aupsirrium Eco Resort. We are working with the local community, creating jobs and resources, and help develop the resort. Its where we relax when we are not kiting the Magic Mile. It’s in such a beautiful spot, overlooking sandy beaches, coral reef, offering fantastic fishing and snorkeling! Its a great place for anyone that loves to enjoy the sunshine, beach, and water. So bring the missis if she’s up for a little adventure. FKM: What’s this Magic Mile your talking about?
BEN: The Magic Mile is a just that, a mile long sandbar, offering endless amounts of super flat water, even when the trade winds are honking 30knots, it’s still butter flat! It’s by far the best spot I’ve ever kited. It has perfect conditions to fuel progression in your riding, whatever your level. We are the only people allowed to kite there, so it’s magic, its never crowded and it delivers super consistent wind, pumping 24/7.
FKM: Sounds amazing! What can your guests expect from the tour?
BEN: Zephyr Tours are fully catered! All you need to think about is how much you’re enjoying it. No stress, nothing to organise, everything’s taken care of. There is free instruction, progression clinics, filming, photos, entertainment and heaps of non-kiting activities. We have our own chef serving breakfast lunch and dinner. Plus a large team, support boats and extra kite gear on hand if needed.
FKM: Sounds pretty lush. So how do you tie in your own coaching and clinics into all this? You teach locally on the Sunshine Coast with Ocean Addicts, but then can also help your customers book the ideal getaway to further their training in pristine conditions and environments throughout the colder months?
BEN: It kind of works both ways. A few customers, who I’ve taught to kite with Ocean Addicts have then joined me on Zephyr tours, and vice verse! I’ve had clients from Cocos visit me here on the coast, who want to pick up from where they left off, learn new tricks, demo the lastest kites or learn how to foil. So there’s a big crossover, I bring elements from both Ocean Addicts and Zephyr Tours together. I’m really quite passionate about providing the best experience I can for our customers. It’s important to me that I leave people a little better off, whether that’s progressing or learning something new, having a great day together on the water, or it might be getting them kitted out with the perfect gear to take them to the next level.
BEN: The shops looking awesome hey! I think it’s essential to have a range of equipment, so we have the right products to suit each individual’s needs. Depending on their level and where they want to go with the sport, it can really help fuel progression with the right set-up. We stock the biggest and best brands in the industry, Naish, and Duotone, so it’s not too difficult to find the right gear for them, and getting people on the right equipment is what Ocean Addicts is all about.
FKM: So, if someone looking for advice on gear or wanted to book a spot on one of your tours, can they do all that through the shop?
BEN: We are always happy to help out with sound advice, and they can book tours through both the Ocean Addicts and Zephyr Tours websites! If anyone wants to find out more about our kite tours, the website has heaps of info and videos to watch. Or, contact me directly, I’m always super stoked to chat about our the destinations. Yew!
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?MEET THE TEAM? @sam_chapman___ – IKO Level 2 Instructor & Physio ? “El Chappo’ is our top female coach with the stamina, enthusasim and drive to match Ben! She is always happy, bubbly and keen to help everyone she meets progress their kitesurfing. ? Earning many trophies across the Nation in competitive freestyle kitesurfing, she rocks on the Vegas, hooked in or out, kiting looping and sliding where ever she can. ?? When Sam is not coaching on the Cocos Islands, she works for @Oceanaddicts and is busy finishing her Physiotherapy degree. ? Scott Robinson? #duotone @duotone.kiteboarding #zephyrteam
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