Get your ticket to ride with George ‘Brownie’ Brown from The Kite Bus.
After growing up wakeboarding on the beautiful Clyde River and surfing up and down the magnificent Eurobodalla coast, George ‘Brownie’ Brown found himself looking for a new aquatic adrenaline fix as he entered his twenties.
“Everyone kind of grew up and didn’t want to go wakeboarding anymore, but I didn’t like that idea,” he laughs. “I started getting into kiteboarding, and I’ve never really looked back.”
Finding his calling as a kitesurfing instructor, Brownie went on to teach internationally for a decade, following the trade winds everywhere from the East African island of Zanzibar to the wild beaches and mirror-flat lagoons of Portugal, and even the French winter resort of Chamonix, which has become a popular hub for snowkiting.
Leading up to the 2018 kiting season on the NSW South Coast (which typically runs from October to May, when ideal winds for kiting are more consistent), Brownie funnelled his experience teaching more than 1000 students at some of the world’s best kiting schools into The Kite Bus, a mobile kitesurfing school operating in the azure waterways of Batemans Bay Marine Park between Durras and Broulee.
Currently thought to be the only kitesurfing school between Wollongong and Melbourne, The Kite Bus offers classes (and gear rental) for absolute beginners through to advanced kiters looking to refine their technique. Lessons run for two hours, with three lessons (aka The Kite Bus’s ‘Your Ticket to Ride’ package) typically required for beginners to be up and riding.
“A lot of people think that if they can surf, they can kite, but it’s a very different sport – there’s a lot to learn,” says Brownie. “If you’re not ‘kite fit’ you’ll be exhausted after two hours, so the lessons are best spread out across different days.”
The commitment, Brownie says, pays off in spades when you learn the ropes of this rapidly growing sport – set to make its Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the form of kite foil racing.
“If you go surfing for two hours, you might stand on a board for 10 minutes. But if you go kitesurfing for two hours, you might only spend 10 minutes off your board,” Brownie says. “And there’s no paddling!”
Beginner lessons are typically hosted by Brownie or one of The Kite Bus’s seasonal instructors on the Batemans Bay sandbar – its flat, shallow waters making it easier to get back up if you fall off your board. And if you’re after some photos for your holiday album, The Kite Bus photographer Theresa Zurek has you covered.
“For more experienced kiters looking for waves, Durras is one of our favourite spots,” Brownie says.
Brownie also arranges kiteboarding trips to some of Australia’s top kitesurfing destinations, as well as snowkiting tours to Perisher and Falls Creek during the winter months, with lessons also available for kiters of various skill levels.
Surf lessons and paddle-boarding tours are also bookable through The Kite Bus, and when Eurobodalla Tourism caught up with Brownie, he was gearing up to launch wakeboarding lessons on the Clyde River – which will see The Kite Bus become the Eurobodalla Shire’s only wakeboarding school.
“It’s great to be able to offer more watersport opportunities for our town and tourists,” says Brownie.
Brownie’s top five top things to do in Eurobodalla
- Kitesurfing! Soak up the scenery of Eurobodalla National Park on a downwinder session from Bingie to Tuross Head.
- Wakeboarding on the Clyde River – or learning how to do it with The Kite Bus crew.
- Stopping by the Farm Gate & Oyster Shed on Wray St in Batemans Bay to feast on freshly-shucked oysters beside the Clyde River – you can opt to shuck them yourself if you like.
- Waterfront dining at Bateman’s Bay, including Ocean Grill on The Bay for this best fish and chips around, and Sandbar when you’re in the market for a fancier feed.
- Seeking out the region’s secret snorkelling spots, like Dark Beach in Murramarang National Park, reached via a short walking track off Dark Myrtle Road.