Simon, who runs the Pro Kite Surfing School and Club, has big plans and a vision to make Rhyl the home of UK kitesurfing, bringing visitors and international competitors to participate on the waters of the Irish sea. And when the wind drops, he’ll just redirect them to an inflatable wake park, or the land side training facilities he believes will make Rhyl a must-visit destination.
“We have a great opportunity here. I want this to be a unique facility – the flagship for the whole of the UK. It’s a spectacular sight when you have maybe 18 or 20 kites out on the water.
“Rhyl could become a place where people begin their adventure holiday. They come here, stay, maybe use our facility, go out for something to eat and drink, enjoy the beach, then decide where else they want to go – but using the town as their base.”
Kitesurfing is already attracting people to Rhyl, but Simon believes it can be much more of a driver to boost visitor numbers.
“We have people coming from all over. We can start teaching people from 12 years old upwards and we even have someone with us who is 78. It’s very accessible. And next year we’ll have the first inflatable wake park in the country, so when there’s no wind I can take people out on the wake park behind a jet ski. We could easily bring the Pro Kite Tour here for events and that then really puts us on the map.”
Simon believes a purpose-built facility with a dedicated shop and incorporating other attractions such as a climbing wall, trampolines for skills training and a café overlooking the water would prove a major draw.
“We’d have kit and equipment suppliers in competition with each other, a place for people to go to relax and look out over our best asset – the beach, which I think is the best in the country – and the ability to train on trampolines to perfect rotations and freestyle moves would attract even pro kitesurfers as well as those just starting in the sport.”