A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to score an interview with BEST rider Sam Medysky and Liquid Force rider Craig Cunningham, over skype. Think about the logistic: we needed to find a good time for both of us, the interviewed being in Cambodia (at that point) and the interviewer in Antigua. Time was hence #1 problem (13 hours time difference doesn't make it easy) and problem #2 was the internet connection, that is not always the greatest at either place.
After a few missed dates, we finally got together and chatted for about half an hour! Here's what I got of them!
Stance: How are you guys doing?
Craig: Doing good!
Sam: Doing real good!
Stance: Where are you guys at now?
C: We’re in Cambodia! No we were just [in Vietnam] for 2 days, and then we left all our board bags in the Capital city there, and we’re doing a bit of sight seeing in Cambodia. Tomorrow we head back to Viet Nam and then to the KTA event down there.
Stance: Pretty cool! So How long have you guys been gone as of now? You’ve been gone for a while! Did you go straigth from Brazil to Asia?
C: No, we went home for 2 and a half-day literally, then jumped on a flight to Japan. So we went from Fortaleza home, home for less than 3 days, then on a flight to Asia. It’s pretty crazy!
S: Yeah, it was a little hectic.
Stance: So how many countries have you guys visited yet?
S: We were in Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia.
Stance: Pretty good! I guess you guys try to stick with kiting or wakeboarding places? How did you decide of your next destination?
S: Just kind of following the wind. The trade winds here started out of the North East, so we were in Thailand for that, in Chumphon. And then once it went to the South West then we went to a spot called Hua Hin, Pranburi, and then from there, we kind of have been following the events more.
C: We started in the Philippines for the Wind or no Wind, then the trade winds started working in Thailand so we went there to a spot called Chumphon and rode there for a little bit. The winds tend to switch to South East at this time of the year, so we move to another spot which is really popular, and that’s where the Asian Champion, this Yo kid we’ve been riding with, he trains there. We were in Pranburi, there we did just a little bit of sight seeing, then we’re heading to Viet Nam to the KTA event. Vietnam is supposed to be pumping this time of year.
Stance: You guys have had good conditions and everything?
C: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of good conditions, lots of different spots to ride
S: It’s been good. I mean, the wind in Thailand this time of year is a bit lighter, their season is more in March. We’ve definitely kited a bunch there, but on big kites, usually, like 11 or 13m. But for Vietnam right now, they say 7 or 9m every day.
Stance: Have you guys been meeting with a lot of people? Have you found some people you know already?
C: Yeah, we went to this place in Thailand called Pranburi and it’s a pretty cool place. There was this guy we met last year at wind or no wind, Willy Kerr, and he’s got a school there. We didn’t have any wind for a couple days so we went to work and built a 52 ft slider with him.
Stance: Nice! Did you ride it?
C: We rode it behind the Jetski, the one day but there hasn’t been any wind. After VietNam, we’re heading straight back to his place for our last week and a half to go shoot some stuff on that.
Stance: How much gear are you guys traveling with? How is THAT?
S: I have 2 board bags, which sucks!! Haha… I have 4 boards, 3 kites 2 bars and a harness. No wetsuit.
C: I just got 2 kites, and a kiteboard and a wakeboard. That has pretty much been perfect. I haven’t needed any more.
C: But you know what’s crazy? You know how in North America and Europe you get away with having “Golf” written on the side of your bag, and a lot of that stuff flies for free?? Well here if you get caught with “Golf” on the side of your bag, they try to jack you so high!
S: But kiteboarding gear they accept, but golf they don’t. So we came in and we’re like “Oh yeah it’s golf gear in there” and they’re like “ok. It’s $100”. And then we’re like “No way! It’s golf gear!” and they say “Yeah, it’s $100 for golf gear” and we say ” Well then it’s kiteboarding gear” and they’re like “ oh, ok! It’s free then!”.
It’s kind of the opposite of the western world.
Stance: Have you guys made it to places where it’s completely foreign to kiting? Where people don’t know anything about it, where they’re like “What in the world are you doing? What’s going on?”
C: There were a couple places in Thailand, where we didn’t stray super far from the main spot where everyone was riding, but may be 30-45 min away, and people were just gathering around, they have never seen anything like that before so… that’s’ pretty cool. Dave and Miguel did some stuff in this one little town and people were just going crazy!
Stance: And what’s the best riding spot that you found as of now? Which has been your favorite?
C: My favorite has probably been this place called Tung Wa Laen beach, in Chumphon. It just has like nice Maui style kickers, with quite a good separation between them so you can have some nice flat water.
S: At the same spot, you can rent a scooter, that does like 70 miles per hours, (C: for like $3!) which is wicked, then you can drive to this little lagoon, with the mangrove, and it’s really really good. Almost like Brazil. Super flat, the water is very dirty but the riding is really good.
C: The scene as a whole is actually bigger than we thought it would be.
S: It’s not super crowded beaches. You’re gonna get like 12-15 kites in the sky.
And once you get over here, it’s really inexpensive. You can live on $20 a day, including accommodation, bike rental, food, everything.
If you flew in and just went to one of the spots, and you didn’t travel around or anything, you could do it super super cheap.
C: Some of the spots you can do easily for under $10 a day. The only tourists there were kiteboarders, and it was really cheap. But if you go somewhere else where it’s more backpacking, the prices go to almost double. But if you budget about $20 a day, you’re living pretty well.
Stance: That means you guys can stay for a long time without being completely broke at the end… Well may be you will be, but oh well.
C: We’re broke!
S: We’ve done some really cool stuff, we partied a lot… May be too much.
Stance: Yeah, I heard of Asia that it’s pretty easy to party a lot, and too much.
C: The islands in Thailand are just insane.You can get caught up in those pretty easily!
S: We went to this one called Ko Phi Phi island where they shot the movie “The Beach”
C: We were there for like 7 days, 6 nights, and it was just insane. Partying all day, sleeping all night.We met people that were supposed to be there for 2 days, and they had been there for 3 months…
S: Or a year…
Stance: That’s crazy! So Sam: I remember that you really like Pad Thai. You must be in Heaven!
S: Oh I LOVE Pad Thai! You have no idea right now. You have to tell all the boys in Hatteras that they need to come to Thailand for some PAD THAIIIII!
C: I’m on the Pad Thai train now too! It’s all I want to eat!
S: When we were in Thailand, basically one meal out of the day you’re gonna eat pad thai. Breakfast, Lunch or dinner you’re gonna have a pad thai. And they’re all different! Each little vendor you go to, they’re all pad thai, but they’re all a little different here and there, you know!
C: And they’re A Dollar!
Stance: One last question for you guys: What is the sickest thing you have seen or done?
C: For me… There are so many good things that we’ve done really. So much good riding, all the different cable parks, sightseeing… but I think it’s when we went to these ancient ruins of Kimora temple today in Cambodia, and that’s probably the craziest thing I’ve seen on this trip. It’s 11 centuries old, and just enormous. I can’t imagine the amount of time and effort that went into building these places. If you have the chance, google it: Ankor Wat
What was your favorite thing so far this trip Sam?
S: I don’t know! I think just experiencing the culture and the people. In Brazil, when I’m traveling around, I’m a little bit scared, you know, like of getting kidnapped or something… because you do hear horror stories and it does happen there. But here, everybody is SO friendly; they go out of their way for you. They will give you their shirt off their back. Everybody here is wicked. I think that the religion has a lot to do with it.
C: And there are cable parks everywhere, good riding. It’s not windy like Brazil every day, but the season is good.
S: Yeah., places like Brazil you almost get burnt down at the end. Here you can take days off when there’s not wind, go sight seeing, go to the cable park, etc. When the wind is back, you have that stoke.
C: Oh I forgot to tell you too! One of my favorite things I did was feed like 100 monkeys!
Stance: You fed monkeys??!
S: Oh no, they attacked Craig!
C: We went to this place called Monkey Island, and for fifty cents you can buy a big bucket of bananas and nuts and stuff. The second the lady gives you the bucket they just swarm around you. The big ones are pulling at your shorts for you to give them fruit… it’s crazy!
Stance: Well thanks a lot guys, and have a safe end of your trip! I’ll see you this spring!