Passion. Positivity. Wind power. Ant Hadleigh lives wild and free, off the grid. Nature powers his lifestyle, his passion and his business. This is a man who followed his dreams to a remote beach in the far north and set up camp. A camp he now shares with his family and visitors from around the world, who come to enjoy an Australian Kite Surfari.
His message to anyone who will listen is to follow your dreams. Today, we follow Ant’s dreams as he shares his amazing piece of paradise.
WHAT WAS THE VISION BEHIND AUSTRALIAN KITE SURFARI?
‘I love kite surfing. It’s not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. Here in Tropical North Queensland we’ve got some of Australia’s best and most constant trade winds ripping across the Coral Sea and blowing ashore. My inspiration was to live and ride, wild and free, and share what we do and how we live, with people from all over the world,’ Ant says.
WHAT IS A KITE SUFARI?
For kite surfers, it’s the ultimate adventure holiday! It’s four or seven days in a secret kite surfing location where the wind always blows, the waters are warm and clear and the beach is your own. Run for experienced kite surfers, the Australian Kite Sufari season runs from May to October and with only a handful of non-kiteable days, this has fast become the kite destination of choice.
WHERE IS AUSTRALIAN KITE SUFARI?
Its exclusive location is on traditional Aboriginal grounds, on an isloated beach between Cape Bedford and Cape Flattery, about an hour north of Cooktown. What started out as tents on the beach, has grown into its own self-sustaining community, a lovely little place Ant likes to call Tank Town.
GOING OFF GRID – FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS
Ant’s dream is for Tank Town and Australian Kite Surfari to become fully self-sustainble. The eco-style cabins and recreational facilities are powered and watered by nature. Solar panels and a wind generator provide energy, while a sand spear, run off solar pumping, delivers 25 litres per minute of fresh water, which can be complemented by the solar desalination plant if necessary.
Australian Kite Sufari also has a ‘you catch it, we cook it philosophy’ and there’s plenty of time for guests to wet a line at the end of the day. Tank Town has an objective of supplying 50% of its fresh produce needs from camp. To this end, they’ve planted several organic vegetable patches and are currently harvesting tomato, capsicum, eggplant, lettuce, Bok choi, kale, basil, chilli and more. Even recycling is clean and green, with a pet pig to clean up the scraps.
AUSTRALIA’S BEST KITE SURFING DESTINATION IS IN TNQ
They come for the wind and they aren’t disappointed! Ant has run over 100 tours since he first started Australian Kite Surfari 8 years ago. Why the success? It’s Ant’s passion, his service and this amazing destination.
‘I love kite surfing! There is no feeling like launching your kite, feeling that pure power at your fingertips. You are trying to harness nature’s power, almost like riding an invisible beast,’ he enthuses.
While these trips are aimed at experienced kite surfers, Ant is more than happy to share any tips or advice to anyone that requires a hand.
‘After all the years in the sport I am still learning. My main goal is to instil some simple safety tips that will hopefully stop someone from having a kitemare. Nearly all accidents I have been involved in, or witnessed, 99% are human error and avoidable. Even in an extreme sport, changing practises will reduce your risk of injury,’ he says.
‘It’s all about making life as simple as possible for our customers and exceeding the level of service we would expect to receive. We can accommodate 10, but we try and keep the maximum at 8, unless it’s a group. It’s about getting to appreciate the remoteness and bonding back with nature. Showcasing an alternative, healthy lifestyle.’
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE DAY ON A KITE SURFARI INCLUDE?
Action, adventure, thrills and spills. Our location and destination has it all! There’s a few things we can guarantee. No crowds. Strong winds. Warm waters, like-minded people and plenty of ‘toys’. There’s kilometres of flat water lagoons. We’ve got two kite buggys, with a recorded top speed of 76 KPH. You can fish, kitesurf, chill out in the hammock. Whatever you like.
LIVING WILD AND FREE – JUST AS THEY WANT IT TO BE
Ant runs Australian Kite Surfari with partner Paully. In 2015, they made the big decision to move to Tank Town permanently.
‘The Traditional Owner has granted us authority to live on his tribal land. It is an honour to be accepted to live on Thithaarr-Warra land. We have a responsibility to respect our surroundings and the true owners of the land. We pay rent to the traditional owners for every customer we bring to this location. I have had an over 30 year relationship with their family and feel it is my duty to help this family,’ Ant says.
‘The Traditional Elder Eddie has a camp at Elim beach. This is a perfect family camp or Fishermans Paradise (pictured below). We hope to set up a tourism venture with the locals at some point in the future, to create some new jobs in the area.”