Search Our Site



Action, lifestyle, travel, shoots, projects, info; unique articles direct from the ExPix Crew.

IKSA Competition Tour 2006 Tramore

The Irish Kitesurfing Association began life back in 2004 when a group of kitesurfers, namely; James Phelan, Alexis Ledoux, Oisin Ryan, Conor Lillis and Kieran Sammon got together to form the organisation. After a meeting in a pub in Dublin which over 25 people attended, the IKSA was born.

The driving force behind setting up the organisation was the need to maintain access to beaches for kite activities, especially during the summer months. A trend was developing in the UK, USA and Australia of closing beaches to kitesurfers and whilst no beaches had actually been closed in Ireland, the IKSA took pre-emptive action to maintain the status quo.

Soon the IKSA became involved in organisation events and by 2005 Ireland’s first official kitesurfing tour was launched.

The tour went on to be a huge success and was soon attracting major sponsorship such as Coca Cola and Rowntree’s. In 2006, at the request of the IKSA, ExPix went over to Ireland to documenting the tour and to help raise the profile of the IKSA. Back in the days before Facebook and Twitter we were reliant on articles on the ExPix website and posts on kite forums. But word soon spread and in September 2006 when the BKSA joined with the IKSA to hold a round of the British Kitesurf Championships at Brandon Bay, a number of top UK riders including; Lewis Crathern, Dave Ibby, Denzil Williams, Helen Thompson, Johara Sykes Davies and Martyn Hogg went to Ireland to take part.

Insurance cover for events was a prerequisite of the councils who provided the permits and from the offset the IKSA were covered with 3rd party liability up to 6 million pounds, more than double the standard requirement of 3 million Euros. All riders competing in the tour also had to have their own personal public liability cover and this was often provided via BKSA membership. However over time and to minimise the time spent validating individual riders insurance the IKSA offered their own insurance cover to members. As the IKSA had initially been funded out of the pockets of James, Alexis, Oisin, Conor and Kieran; it was decided to set up a membership scheme with the money generated being used to run the IKSA. Personal insurance cover was included in the membership and was offered as standard to all signed up members of the IKSA.

Unfortunately over the years the IKSA tour was affected by the economic situation in Ireland. Sponsorship was hard to find, making it more difficult to cover the costs of running a tour. 

As time went on some of the original founders of the IKSA stepped down but Sean Web carried it forward. Initially there was an annual change of committee members, however the current committee made up of; Warren Vance, Niall Roche, Nicola Murphy, Aisling Daly, Warren Polly, Kris Goodbody, Brian Pelly, have now served for a number of years putting in Trojan work to maintain the good reputation and solid relationships built up by the original committees in the early years. The current committee together with a number of regional representatives and volunteers have built upon the early work to greatly benefit the kitesurfing community.


To this day the IKSA is run entirely by volunteers and their mission is to further develop kite sports across the whole of Ireland and by doing so educate the public in all aspects of kite safety.

As the representative body for kite surfing in Ireland, the IKSA’s paramount responsibility is to promote safe and responsible kite surfing in Ireland. Whilst not yet recognised as a National Governing Body, the IKSA aims are to become so; a significant change for the association and one which if successful will allow them access to funding streams currently denied them.

On a recent trip to Ireland, ExPix caught up with IKSA President, Warren Vance, and asked him the following questions:  

ExPix - What developments have been made in the IKSA since its original set up in 2004?
IKSA – The biggest thing the IKSA are working on is to become the NGB, (National Governing Body) for all of the islands of Ireland, including Northern Ireland; this is a big step for IKSA. As you know Kitesurfing as a sport has become more and more popular every year.  To keep active in all corners of Ireland, we have nominated local beach reps to help organize informal events aimed at promoting safe and responsible kitesurfing, which in turn, helps to keep beach access open to all.  During that time we have also become a Limited Company, governed by the same rules and regulations that all companies have to abide by including auditing of our accounts, ensuring that we can account for every penny of membership money.

ExPix - How have these affected the work that the IKSA does?
IKSA - Since we have become a limited company it has certainly taken up more time from the volunteers to manage the paperwork alone.  However, it has also presented us with more funding opportunities and certainly opens up more doors when working with local councils around event insurance and beach access.

ExPix - Have there been any significant hurdles or barriers that the committee has come across whilst trying to set up and run the IKSA?
IKSA – Our biggest challenge is time.  As we are an organisation run by volunteers, dispersed around four corners of Ireland with busy family lives and careers to manage, it can result in certain things running slower than expected.  It also makes committee meetings challenging! But, as a group we get together often and try to fairly allocate our existing workload while also trying to make plans for our members in the future.  Our membership figures have increased year on year since 2011 but they are still a small percentage representing the overall kiting community in Ireland.  Some of the work we do, particularly pertaining to maintaining beach / lake access benefits every kite surfer.  It can be disheartening when people actively chose not to support us.

ExPix - Does the IKSA represent the whole of Ireland including Northern Ireland?
IKSA – Yes the IKSA represents all of the island of Ireland

ExPix - How is the IKSA funded?
IKSA – Currently we are funded solely by membership funding however we are looking to explore other funding opportunities

ExPix - Does the IKSA receive any sponsorship? 
IKSA – Not at the moment

ExPix - How many members does the IKSA have?   
IKSA – Registered members - 900
            Fully paid members - 260

ExPix - Is this representative of the number of kitesurfers in Ireland and can you elaborate on this?
IKSA – No… estimate is that there are around 2000 kiters in the island of Ireland.  As I mentioned earlier our work benefits all kite surfers in Ireland but our work is only possible because of a small percentage of kiters who care enough about the kite surfing community to become members of the IKSA.  The balance is very unequal.
ExPix - Why should kitesurfers join the IKSA, how much does it cost, what do kitesurfers get for joining, what are the membership benefits and how do these affect kitesurfers?
IKSA – Full Membership costs 45€ for adults and 20€ for junior members and includes:
•    Insurance cover whilst participating in kite surfing, power kiting, kite buggying, land kite boarding, kite skiing and snow kite boarding.
•    Insurance cover abroad for a maximum of 180 consecutive days (subject to excluded territories)
•    Public Liability Cover
By becoming a member of the IKSA, first and foremost you are covering yourself in the event that you injure yourself and importantly, in the event that you injure someone else. Secondly you are supporting the IKSA and the work that we to develop and promote kite sports and to maintain beach access throughout the islands of Ireland. The more members we have, the more resources we have. More information about membership is available on the IKSA website:

ExPix - Are there consequences to kiting whilst not being insured?   
IKSA – You can’t afford to take the risk. It’s very foolish not having insurance and you could end up losing all you have if you cause and accident and are then sued. It’s really not worth doing it. If you can afford the gear, then you should be able to afford the insurance. You also run the risk of having beaches closed if you cause and accident. Kiting responsibly and being covered should be every kiter’s duty.

ExPix - What are the main priorities for the IKSA over the coming years?  
IKSA – The IKSA have 3 main priorities:
•    To pursue NGB status for the IKSA  
•    To continue to develop kitesurfing by providing ‘Coaching Clinics’   
•    To continue to encourage participation in kite sports via our ‘Sandy Burger’ events

ExPix - What part do events play in the IKSA plans for the coming years; will the IKSA be hosting a national championship event tour, and, or what other events do the IKSA plan to host?    
IKSA – The IKSA have some exciting plans for 2015. We’re keeping quiet about these for now but all will be revealed in the not too distant future via the IKSA website and our social media channels.

ExPix - The IKSA holds Sandy Burgers and Fun Day events; can you explain what these are about?
IKSA – These are social events aimed at getting local kiters together with the emphasis on having fun and getting to know each other. They are much less serious than the national competitions and are finished off with a BBQ.

ExPix - What if any are the barriers to holding events; i.e. funding, licensing of beaches, insurance, lack of participation, etc?
IKSA – The major problem is time and man power needed to organise and run events correctly. We would also require funding to make the events more attractive to potential sponsors.  Because we have maintained a great relationship with our insurer over the last couple of years we would rarely have problems securing access to beaches for our events. 
ExPix - You’ve recently hosted a coaching clinic with Jo Wilson, how did that go, were you pleased with the numbers who took part and with how the weekend went?   
IKSA – V.V.V.V.V.Very good! There is a full round up on the IKSA
ExPix - Do you plan to host any more in the future? 
IKSA – Hopefully we’ll hold a wave clinic before the year is out. We’re also planning another Jo Wilson Coaching Clinic for 2015 together with lots of sandy burger / social events.

ExPix - The IKSA is run by a committee of volunteers, what specific responsibilities do they have and what is the role of the Regional Representatives?
IKSA – The IKSA is made up entirely of volunteers; we have no paid staff. Each of the roles and responsibilities are defined on the website but the truth is we all pitch in everywhere we can.
On the committee we have:
President: Responsible for the general day to day running of the IKSA, overseeing the organising of events, forging relationships with industry and outside agencies and has the final decision as and when needed.
Vice President: Supports the President and is the first point of call for media enquiries and is responsible for PR for the IKSA. The Vice President is also tasked with ensuring that all IKSA and related events are run in accordance with IKSA guidelines and laisse with the relevant bodies to ensure beach access is maintained for kite sports.
Treasurer: Responsible for all things financial within the IKSA
Secretary: Deals with all membership issues together with general secretarial duties for the IKSA and producing the IKSA newsletters.
Safety Officer: Responsible for the logging of all safety issues, accidents, incidents etc.
Youth Development Officer: Organises all youth development activities and is the first point of call for junior members.
Regional Representatives: The Regional Representatives play an important role; they are the ears and eyes on the ground in your local area. Any and all issues or queries about your area need to be directed to them in the first instance and they in turn will contact the relevant committee member. The IKSA need more Regional Representatives; if you think this is for you check out the IKSA website to 
Webmaster: Responsible for maintaining the IKSA website and social media channels

ExPix - What position would you say the IKSA in now; would you say it’s in a strong or weaker position?
IKSA – The IKSA is in a much stronger position now and is growing. Our membership has grown year on year since 2011 and our limited company status has created opportunities for us where previously there were none.

ExPix - What else could be done or is needed to help the IKSA?
IKSA – The IKSA needs more manpower and more volunteers. The more people we have on board the less each volunteer has to do. And the more people we have the more we can achieve which can only be a good thing for kitesurfing and kitesurfers in Ireland.

For more information about the IKSA check out their website:

Sign up to the ExPix Newsletter to get the latest news, articles, images, event info & exclusive offers!