The Kite Park League has just completed its second season and although it doesn’t has a live stream yet, its day-by-day media output is impressive, keeping spectators across the globe well in the loop with what’s been going down over the course of the day and throughout the entire event. From YouTube clips and social media content, the formula that they’ve got going on certainly creates the right kind of buzz around the riders and locations, as well as ensures that the KPL is one of the industry’s most followed tours.
Tom Court has been the main man behind the cuts and edits, so the guys at North Kiteboarding wanted to find out whether there was a magic formula for capturing and delivering what we watch on our screens.
How did you end up with the grand task of doing the videos for the KPL?
I was involved in the initial discussion about developing the KPL. Along with a few of the key riders, we formed a council of five people to be tasked with jobs that would establish the League. Since my strength and passion has always been filming and editing, as well as riding, I was in the right place to support the tour with video content as I traveled and helped make the events happen. My role has been media manager for the first two years of the tour’s existence. It is something that I have always been passionate about and definitely something I am excited to develop into the future.
How have you juggled media responsibilities and competition in past events?
It’s worked really well being a rider in the events because it made it possible to be at the events as well as produce the video media at a minimum cost. Also being passionate about the discipline and having a lot of experience in making kite videos has made it a lot easier for me than for most videographers at the time.
However, it did mean a lot of work for me at events; filming, organizing other people to film, riding in my heats and then editing late into the night to complete the daily updates was tough. As hard as it has been though, it has also been my saving grace. I got injured on the first year that the KPL started, so the filming kept me going throughout my recovery. That being said, I have yet to have a good KPL ranking as I haven’t completed a season without injury yet.
What have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned how to cover an event. I know what elements are needed to make it interesting and I now have the ability to produce content very fast whilst on the road. Its given me some invaluable experience both as a videographer and an editor in some of the hardest conditions out there. In the future, it would be great to be able to assemble a media team for each event and work together with others in order to produce more content for each stop. I know that Vincent Bergeron is first-in-line for that position as he has covered several events that I couldn’t be at due to injury. Luckily the discipline of park riding is great to film because know where the action is going to be. This enables a level of creativity within the film work that is difficult to achieve when filming events like the Red Bull King of the Air for example, because the action is happening everywhere you look.
Tell us about your filming style and why it works so well for kiteboarding?
Although I now film many different things, my background is in kiteboarding. Being a pro rider, competitor and freerider has given me so much experience within the sport. From knowing exactly when a rider will do a trick to the best angles to capture it from, it’s almost second nature to me now. There are only a handful of other videographers that I could name that know the sport that well and I think that is a massive advantage when filming a sport. Not needing to learn about the sport itself leaves you to experiment with the filming, framing and opens the door to being creative.
What has been your favorite event to film and why?
I think Blue Palawan was a very interesting event to film. I have shot it now for two years in a row and each time it has been a different, challenging experience. In 2017 we produced daily updates for the event as well as filming for a Filipino TV channel to produce a feature series about the sport and the location. After all of that I cut the main event edit for online distribution. Getting the opportunity to push myself and think outside of the box is something that makes me excited to film and deliver content as well as display the sport that I love in the way that I would like it to be seen. That is the real pleasure!
Check out the daily edits from the final event in Rhosneigr. Challenging conditions, epic riding and good vibes made it the ultimate send-off for the 2017 season.
At a time when some have become disillusioned with the established competitive institutions in our sport, the underdog of competitive park style riding rallies a homegrown tour pushing rails and kickers to the next competitive level. Learn more about the KPL in The Kite Park Republic, a feature in the Kiteboarder Magazine’s Fall 2017 issue. Available here: https://www.thekiteboarder.com/product/the-kiteboarder-magazine-vol-14-no-3/