Exciting Plans Announced Today on the Future of the Kitesurfing Armada Festival

Following an amazing summer of events, the Armada Events team are delighted to announce that a new Managing Director will be joining the team to support the future growth and development of the Kitesurfing Armada Festivals. This has been made possible with backing from Epsilon who are investing in the events going forward.

Founder Dan Charlish said, ‘This is fantastic news and this support has come in the nick of time – and will now help sustain the festivals going forward and bring new positive developments as well.’

The first Kitesurfing Armada event took place back in 2013, and Dan and colleague Julia Feess have seen the annual festival grow to become the biggest kitesurfing and live music festival in Europe. Hosted by Lewis Crathern, the flagship event has always been on Hayling Island, but the team have also run International events in Cape Town and Tarifa as well as SUP Armada events across the UK. This summer also saw the launch of a new Kitesurfing Armada event taking place in Skegness.

Over recent years, Dan and Julia’s capacity to manage the growing workload in their evenings and weekends has become increasingly stretched. Both have full time jobs at youth charity Snow-Camp where Dan is CEO and Julia is Events Manager.

Dan said, ‘I love kitesurfing, and the Armada started off as simple charity kitesurfing event with Lewis, and I’m proud that we have maintained that focus and raised over £200,000 for good causes to date. As the event has grown, with the addition of brands, live music, food, bars, camping, and all the rest, Julia and I have basically had to work out how to run a growing festival alongside our proper jobs. It has been brilliant fun, but has taken more and more time and at this year’s event we definitely reached the limit of what we can possibly manage between the two of us.  

We had 8,000 people attend the Hayling Island event in June. We both knew then that we had to get some support or we were going to have to stop doing the festivals altogether.

The guys from Epsilon have experience in other large events and enjoy helping them grow and improve. They will be bringing in a new Managing Director, Mark Cole, who will be taking over the day to day management of Armada Events from September 2019 onwards. 

Julia and I will still be involved of course – we have both put our heart and soul into the Armada over the last 7 years and we want to see it continue and succeed! We are so pleased that having Epsilon onboard means the Armada can continue, but with help from others to take things forward,  and with Julia and I playing more supporting roles.

It’s also the right time for us as Jules has just got married and I want to see more of my family. I might even get to go kitesurfing again - the last time I got out at Lancing was over 3 years ago - the Armada just became all-consuming time wise!’

Mark Cole said, “I am excited to be getting involved with the Armada at this key time in the festival’s growth. Dan and Julia have clearly done an unbelievable job in getting it this far – and I believe we can help to ensure future Armada events continue to grow and prosper. I’ve already enjoyed meeting loads of great people in the kitesurfing industry and one thing I am sure of is that keeping the kitesurfing community and industry at the heart of this event will be essential as we go forward.  I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and helping the Armada become bigger and better”. 

Lewis Crathern said, ‘I love being involved in the Armada and I’m proud of the way the event has grown and what has been achieved so far – clearly it has now got to the size where more support is needed and this is a great opportunity. I am looking forward to working with Mark and others to ensure the event continues to go from strength to strength.’

Havant Borough Council’s Cabinet lead for Planning, Regeneration and Communities, Councillor Tim Pike added, ‘The Armada has been a huge success and has grown immensely over the past seven years which is the result of Dan and Julia’s hard work.  The Armada is a wonderful event for residents, visitors and watersports enthusiasts.  We are looking forward to working with the new Managing Director to ensure the continued success of this expanding event on Hayling Island, that everyone enjoys’

The 2020 Kitesurfing Armada Festival will take place on Hayling Island from the 19-21 June 2020. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Crowd at the Kitesurfing Armada Festival Outdoor Stage
Kites in the Air at Hayling Island