Pete and Hannah Whiteley, father and daughter kitesurfing champions from Stockport

PUBLISHED: 10:38 17 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:55 20 February 2013

Hannah Whiteley

Hannah Whiteley

A kite-surfing father and daughter from Stockport are making big waves and setting new records

Hannah Whiteley didnt have the best start to her kite-surfing career. As a ten year old she was lifted clear of the water, narrowly avoided crashing into a pier and smashed face first onto a beach.

Nine years later Hannah has been crowned UK champion for a record breaking third year running and is determined her little sister, Polly, has a better introduction to the sport than she had.

It put me off for a while, Hannah said. But when I had another go I realised Id been missing out. Id like to do more teaching, helping other people get into kite-surfing. Polly is just starting now and I know shes going to love it.

Hannah took to the water in the wake of her father Pete, who is also a record breaker, having won the senior mens British Freestyle Championship five times.

Impressive stuff, and even more so given that the Whiteleys live 50 miles from the coast at Stockport.

Living where we do means we can get just about anywhere pretty quickly, so we can go where the weather is right, Hannah said. If we lived right on the beach I think wed get lazy and only use that beach.

That helps with competing, too because it means we are used to the conditions all around the coast and the championship heats are held all round the coast.

Heats are held in the UK and the third round was held at Kimnel Bay, North Wales, in June last year.

Pete, 47, formerly a keen windsurfer at West Kirby and Rhosneigr, said: When I first taught Hannah to kite-surf I never thought we would be in this position, it was just something we could do together. We only really entered the championships as a bit of fun and now look where we are.

Spurred on by a last place finish in her debut competition, Hannah dedicated herself to training and the practice paid off when she won the amateur womens title a year later as a 15-year-old. She moved up the ranks to compete in the pro womens championship and has held that title since 2009.

Im always pushing myself to learn new tricks, Hannah said. There is so much I havent learned yet and I work on my style and technique a lot as well. The tricks you can do depend on the conditions, so the more you know, the more you can adapt your routine. The more complex the trick, the higher the mark.

And Hannah, who is currently third in the European rankings, added: The really hard competition for me is international and I know I am capable of doing a lot better in European competitions.

The standard in the UK is constantly improving though and I am always trying to keep ahead of the other girls. There are more girls getting into it now, although there are still far more boys than girls kite-surfing. I think there is a fear factor for a lot of girls, they worry about getting hurt and I dont think that enters boys heads. It doesnt enter my head, either.

But it has crossed mum Jills mind. You do worry when you see them doing these dangerous things, she said. But worrying could stop you doing everything if you let it. I just trust that they know what theyre doing and that theyre being as safe as they can be.

Pete and Jills other children - Joseph, aged 15, and Max, 14 - are causes for concern too. They are also keen on BMXing, snow boarding and skating while Jill prefers more sedate pursuits such as walking and yoga.

Its important that one of us is on the beach ready with a warm towel when they come out of the water, she said.

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