The Bridge Family: Meet the Family of Champions

#RUGGEDSTORIES

It’s fair to say the Bridges are not your average family. Between Mom, Olly, 18, Guy, 16 and Tom, 15, the kiteboarding family have notched up five world championship titles, 8 youth world titles, 6 European championships and 4 national championships. And then there’s dad, who runs the kiteboarding school, Edge Watersports. At the center of the operation is Steph – and her Cat® S40 outdoor smartphone.

 

Job title: Kiteboarders

Ages: 43, 45, 18, 16, 15

Working Locations: England, Egypt, China, US, Qatar, Australia

Hazards of the job: Sand, salt water, wind, humidity, cold and hot temperatures

Favourite app: None

Current Cat phone: Cat S40

Wow, what do you guys eat for breakfast?

Home-made porridge with chia seeds and fruit, eggs, home-made green spinach, beetroot and ginger smoothie (mom only). And coffee!

Feeding a family of athletes – that has to be a challenge!

Yes it is. But from May to October we have many fruits and vegetables which we grow ourselves – it’s so good to eat from the garden. I spend many hours making compost, collecting seaweed from the sea for the soil and watering the crops. That way we get a good yield. Guy also catches Sea Bass and Mackerel so we eat this most of the summer then a fisherman friend catches us fish the rest of the year. We have local mussels and other shell fish which we can collect from the shores at Low Tide.

What’s the best part of being a mom to champions?

Sharing the same passion with the kids is amazing. We do not really think about the boys as champions: they are individuals who love the ocean and kitesurfing. They all have special talents and as long as they continue to enjoy the sport and have fun, that’s what’s important.

The worst?

We have to make sacrifices, probably not spending enough time with family and friends. We are a pretty close unit and intense in what we do. When it’s our time to train and play then everything else stops!

Is it hard to still compete yourself?

I have just lowered the bar, mostly because I do not have the hours to put in on the water at the moment. I would need to spend five times the hours the boys need to get to their level – their footwork and kite skills are phenomenal! That is fine and I am happy with that. It is not about me any longer. So long as I can still ride and give them a bit of a training session then that’s perfect.

What strengths do you need for the sport?

For racing it’s legs, back and endurance. For freestyle it’s agility, upper body, good joint range of motion, decent leg strength for the hard landings and big abdominal muscle strength. Other assets and skills include mental preparation for racing and strategy on the water which is like a game of chess.

Busy year ahead?

We have the British Nationals which we are organising in June then we’re trying to break the Kitesurf world sailing record around the Isle Of Wight end of June. Then it’s the Youth World freestyle championships in Egypt in July, the San Francisco Kite Race Foil in August, the Kite Race Foil Worlds in China in September, Qatar Kite foil finals in November and then the season ends in Perth Australia for the Red Bull speed event which we have won in previous years.

Guess your Cat Phone is pretty useful?

We use it for tracking, coaching, video, photos, all social media, Google calendar, all Gmail accounts – in fact everything! The boys also use it to fly their drones!

Yours must get a hammering?

The phone gets dropped in sand, water, and gets beat about on the RIB while I am coaching. I take it in my wetsuit while training. It seems to survive hot and cold temperatures also. It’s not having the most easy life with salt, water and sand but it’s doing a great job. I also love that it doesn’t run out of battery on me and also love the torch which is so useful.

Survived any close calls?

While snow kiting in Norway I dropped the phone while jumping high trying to get a video sequence. It landed in the snow and took a while to find. I really thought it was gone but the vibrate and ringtone are so loud I was re-united quickly!

What would you add to it?

I need an attachment for a lanyard when at sea so I can put a float on it.

Phone for the job

The Bridge family use a Cat S40. The smartphone is rugged enough to withstand the salt and surf and can be used with wet hands, whether for calls, checking emails or for staying organised. The family also find the ultra bright sunlight readable screen useful when on the beach.

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