Shinn team shoot in Egypt, 2021
J: What about the production and design side of your career. Any highlights? M: The whole Nobile period was obviously pretty hectic, but satisfying. When I joined Nobile they just had twin-tips, but not really a brand. I managed the brand until 2009 and there’s no doubt that in 2007 / 2008 we were the biggest supplier of twin-tips in the world. So that was fast and furious. In 2009 / 2010, I moved on from Nobile and took Shinn out on its own, which has been exciting ever since. J: You’ve written 90 columns for Kiteworld, there or thereabouts. I know we had a couple of issues where for some reason our numbers didn’t line up... M: It’s 97! J: Is it! Okay, 98. Even better. M: I was gonna say it’s 98 now, including this issue. Can’t you just do two more?
J: Ha, well, it’s always better to leave people wanting more, isn’t it? We’ve loved each one of them and we know that your column is often the first thing that our readers flick to. Have you enjoyed writing about the sport? M: Yeah, on and off! Sometimes it’s been hard to find inspiration and other times I have so many ideas and can’t get them down. But I’m going to miss it, actually. Who can turn down the opportunity to say what they think and no one can answer them? J: And you’d often proudly open your columns up with such a statement! M: Ha ha. Maybe I should send you the half written columns? Actually, that would probably be too controversial.
Flex to the deck
J: The unadulterated thought pieces, yeah! So, last thing: what does kiteboarding mean to you? M: That’s a deep question! Kiteboarding has been my life since 1999. I’ve done other things in that time, like the period that mountain biking was really important to me and for the last two years I’ve really enjoyed winging, but kiteboarding has been the focus of both my working life and my hobby since ‘99. I feel like I’m part of kiteboarding, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Even if I’m doing other sports, kiteboarding is running through my veins. If I try to think about my life without kiteboarding over the last 23 or 24 years, there’s a massive hole that I have no idea what I would have otherwise filled it with. J: Outside of the competitive and business aspects, whenever I contact you, you’re either getting ready for a session, have just been for a session, or are planning a kite trip. Your drive still massively comes from time on the water, doesn’t it? M: Absolutely. One of the things I have enjoyed about kiteboarding is that it’s constantly changing. It’s like the sport has grown with me and suddenly something else comes along to entertain me. I suspect with hydrofoils it’ll be a long time before I’m bored. I’m absolutely motivated by it and a real game changer for me was being able to stop looking at the forecast. If you have a big, light wind kite and a foil, nine out of ten days it’s windy enough to be on the water. I started being able to look at the calendar and say, ‘Next Wednesday I’m going kiteboarding all afternoon’, and that’s been great. As I get older, I’m less interested in the adrenaline aspects of the sport, but get more enjoyment from the technical aspects of riding. Foils have definitely delivered that. I ride a lot with the Olympic youth riders here in Poland, who are all flat out training for Paris. The level of technical perfection they achieve is inspiring. I’m nowhere near dedicated enough to race competitively on a foil, but I aspire to be as technically precise as they are. J: Excellent. That’s it. We’re all done. M: I’m gonna be really, really late with my column because I want to be the last contributor to Kiteworld. J: Well, you’ve got to keep with tradition, haven’t you? M: Even if it’s written I’m going to hold it until you tell me, “Mark, we really have to publish now.” Ha ha. I don’t fancy your chances of getting it this week... Thanks for your dedication, Mark!
Tally ho, sir