Sunday, January 2, 2011

Up, Up, and Away!

One of the cool things about Fort DeSoto is there is a beach that often has favorable winds for kiteboarding or as some people call it, kitesurfing. It's the East Beach, and on Saturday afternoon, the winds were perfect as evidenced by the 30+ kiteboarders that were there, trying out their soaring kites over the beach. It's really amazing to watch them harness themselves and get pulled along at speeds that appear pretty darn fast to the bystander! The kites are in beautiful colors, the guys and gals wear wetsuits as the water is a chilly 54 degrees right now, and some of the surfers or kiteboarders do some amazing stunts some 10-20 feet in the air. They zipped back and forth all afternoon in "lanes". I don't know how they kept their lines from getting tangled with each other, as many as were out there. After watching for a little while, you could see which guys were the "hot shots"...
It ain't heavy.....

This guy below definitely thought he was "hot stuff"...he would surf with his butt just hanging horizontal to the top of the water, digging in with his board, coming right into the beach where a few bystanders, myself included, were standing with cameras or just watching. At the last minute, he would careen sideways and send a huge SWOOSH! of water right at us, like a speedboat wake. I really think he was trying to get us wet. But he was THE hotshot of the moment, as he flipped and turned higher than anyone else out there, and got some appreciative whistles and comments from his fellow kiteboarders on the beach. God only knows how high he is in the air!

Here he is, coming into the beach about to give us THE WAVE! Back up everybody!
I guess this sport would qualify as an extreme water's extremely expensive by the time you take lessons so you don't kill yourself, then buy the equipment, then travel to find the wind and water. It's anywhere from $1200 - 3500 to outfit yourself with a board, kite, harness, etc. Sure looks like fun to me! (Oh,oh! says Eldy) Not to worry, honey, I'm getting too old to try that. If I was younger, I do think I would give it a go....The training for this sport can start on the ground with "trainer" learn to use the harness and straps in a field, learn the pulling and maneuvering of the equipment and then you head for the water if you don't manage to break any body parts in the learning process. The sport can be quite dangerous with a hard fall on the water, getting your lines tangled up and various other accidents that can happen. It was truly amazing to see the controlled flights of these guys, so many of them out on the water at a time, zipping and turning in their established "lanes", yet following the wind at the same time. I counted at least 30 out there at the same time and nobody got tangled certainly was very cool to watch! But I think I will settle for disc golf, a little more down to earth sport for aging boomers like us.....

And here's one that is a more traditional type of kite surfing....I think I could learn to do that! Eldy says, time for a more "genteel" sport...disc golf. He's got his own discs, now, it's serious! We're in competition, friendly competition, heh, heh, heh....see you tomorrow at the golf course!

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