Dan (PhatDan) Vaughan
Leicestershire (as far from the sea as you can get)
Where will we find you flying in your free time?
On my local beach which is two hours away. Or in the park, only if its dry though.
Favourite Location and why?
mmmmmmm! I’d like to keep that under my hat. Wetsward Ho! is one of my favourites and I’ve checked Talacre a few times already this year. Talacre is a beautiful big beach with mainly hard packed sand and the lighthouse gives the beach a real atmosphere. I will definitely be going back.
Cygnus sails. Jonny, Richard and Rob have always been good to me right from when I started. Good advice, friendly service and after care which got better the more I shopped (shameless plug). Im hoping for more Sponsors alongside Cygnus in 2005
At the moment I’m flying flexifoil blades which give the speed lift and power needed for freestyle. My ride is a standard flexifoil buggy. This buggy is strong enough to take the serious pounding it recieves. Having said that because of the speed of development within the sport im always trying new kit so who knows for 2005?
What harness do you use generally and what are the advantages?
I use a Petzl climbing harness. Larger seat harnesses seem to restrict you when in the buggy. To attach the strop I use a Wichard shackle onto a pulley. This gives a permanent attachment to the kite for security whilst jumping, but allows quick release under load for those emergency situations. Helmets pads are a must. I have a Cebe snowboard helmet which is light weight and lets your head breath. My pads are Armourdillos (crunchy on the outside smooth in the middle!!!) for flexible protection.
What is there in the way of equipment that you think could be advanced? Buggies that could be stronger but lighter would be nice. Handles and pulleys could be improved, although I know another top rider has some developments underway so I’m hoping to get in on that. Depower seems like it could work for bigger airs as you could ride powered up pull that bar and be overpowered. As I said earlier, the whole sports moving forward fast so lets see what this year brings.
What attracted you to the sport of Kite Buggying and how long is it now you’ve been doing it?
I kinda went like this a mate phoned me up asking if id help him with his new kite “yeah why not ” so one windy autumn I meat him on field he pulls out a 3.2m C-quad it was the biggest kite id seen but I thought hey lets give it a go. we spend an hour untangling lines the lines an eventually we are ready he tell me to go first as I’ve flown a kite before “yeah right!!!” “go on chuck it up then”. The kite goes up and in a rush of power rips me forward into a superman position before dumping me face first in the mud knocking all the wind out of me. That was it hooked. Things just seemed to develop from there really.
What events have you been to and what sort of atmosphere and reception was there to you and buggy jumping in general?
Last year Wallop, X-zone and some smaller events. The highlight of the year was comin second to rob in the freestyle on the Saturday at x-zone. The Ozone beanie hat I won is still my fav. The General public usually love to come and watch, often in the most dangerous place until you explain things. The most regular comment is “that looks like fun” and from all age groups as well.
Have you ever considered racing in a buggy or have you always just been into freestyle?
Racing Naaaaaaaaaaaa too tame.
What sort of tricks are you pulling off? Is there anything you class as your trademark move?
I suppose my trademark trick is a foot out reverse aerial 360 as it appeared in the “totally stoked” Air xtreme vid quite a few times. Some kite loops with rotations, But I’m mainly into trying to string tricks smoothly together with varying degrees of success.
So what advice would you give to new buggy freestylers?
Learn to walk before you run. Get familiar with the basics Backward, forwards and rotations on the ground are essential because when you begin jumping any of these things can happen when you land. The easier you find them the more likely you’ll recover if the unexpected happens.
What goals have you got for the future?
I have a couple o French trips organised already that’s gonna be sweet. More festivals and comps. Generally pushin myself developing new tricks tryin to keep up with the rest.
How do you see the freestyle side of the sport progressing?
With the introduction of a freestyle comp I think the standard will increase quickly. We get to share ideas, see what everyone’s pullin and copy them then add in that next element takin the trick to the next level. Hopefully with competitions will come media coverage takin this the coolest of sports to a wider general public.
Like Boarding do you think that Buggying will go a lot more offroad soon or will it stick on the flat of the beach?
Definitely. I keep driving past terrain and thinking about pullin big sick airs like the snowboarders but all the best fields seem to have electricity pylons in them.
And the Rest
Any other comments?
Unfortunately bans are now common place so it falls to us all to fly safely and responsibly. Also when your on the beach bring just one piece of litter back with you. If we all do this people will see a positive impact from kiters and the beaches will be cleaner too. Most of all just get out there and do it.