I am a professional kiteboarder, the current Slalom World Champion, and have been chosen Kitesurfer of the Year by the Association of Wind & Water Sports Industries.
I have been traveling the world, living a life that most people dream about. I have been able to compete all around the world and share this great sport with others for the past dozen years.
Setting down your board, you drop your harness on top, flip your kite-, bar-, and pump-filled backpack off your shoulders and toss them on the sand. Then grabbing the bar, you start unraveling the lines, laying them out in long ribbons over the furrows of sugar-white sand. As you work methodically, focusing your eager impatience, all your senses are still highly aware of the extreme surrounding beauty. You and your friends are about to experience the meaning of complete freedom.
Your laid-out lines drift gently in the wind, but you quickly ensure there are no twists. And then it’s time to lay out your kite so you can pump it up. Inflating it takes less than five minutes. Attaching the last few lines to the kite, you put on your harness, making sure it’s nice and snug, and mentally brace yourself for that first splash of cold ocean water as you launch the kite.
Walking backward with board in hand, you tighten your lines and position the kite so the wind grabs hold of it. It rolls over, lifting up into the air like a gigantic osprey. The wind instantly pulls against your grip on the bar. That first split second takes your breath away, reminiscent of an electrical surge traveling through your hands, and into your body.
The voice of the wind surrounds you, but you don’t hear it. It tugs, pushes, and pulls you at its whim, as if it’s never been tamed. But you know how to use it to your advantage. How to harness its power. And only you know just how exciting it will be once you conquer it. This is being alive.
Still gripping your board, with the kite tugging and lifting skyward, you hop, then float in huge, slow-motion steps, steadily making your way to the water’s edge. You are about to be free – about as free as one can be.
Then, it’s time. You carefully position your board in the water and slide your feet into its foot straps, one at a time. Bracing against the board, you dive the kite from high above into the power zone of the wind. You feel the clutch of the first big gale lift you up as you skip across the ocean’s glassy surface like a gravity-defying stone, alternating between floating in slow motion and hurtling at warp speed between each leap. Each time you take off, you imagine never again touching down. All stresses in life are forgotten. Your only thoughts are of just how in tune you are with Mother Nature’s elements.
Leaning back, you increase the edge pressure of your board against the water’s surface. As the kite pulls harder, your speed increases, and you move like a hovercraft across the surface of the water. You move the kite laterally overhead, creating an upward pull. As the pressure builds up against your board and your arms, you lock every muscle in your body. When you release your edge, the kite not only yanks you clean off the water, but propels you high into the air.
The quietness of flight rushes through you. You look down at the people on the shoreline and at the fish beneath the ocean’s clear surface. You are flying 40 feet above! This is what I live for, and there are no words to describe the rush.