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2013-7

Chasing the Wind By Paul Pastorini • Photography by Allison Potter There are competitions for these types of activities on kiteboards, as well as distance and speed records to be broken, but the adrenaline rush when accomplishing these feats on the water is enough for most boarders to improve their skills for their own personal thrill. Blaine Daniel has been kitesurfing for five summers, maybe six. “You lose track,” he says, laughing. Daniel took lessons first, learning the kite mechanics and how to harness the wind. He trained for an entire summer before purchasing any of the gear required to hit the water. Daniel and his friends check surfing sites and local beach cams. They watch the Weather Channel and wait for the right time to strike. That, along with the challenges and adrenaline rushes that come with the sport, keep Daniel and his crew returning to the water. “We chase wind,” he says. A clean source of wind for Wrightsville Beach is south/south-eastern winds of 15 to 20 mph. This wind pattern is part of what improves the safety aspect for the kiters: It keeps them near shore and eliminates the possibility of being dragged out to sea. “Everyone is texting each other over the weekend,” Daniel says. “We like to ride together.” What’s ideal about good kitesurfing conditions is that they make for poor surfing conditions, he says. This way, the water is never too crowded. Daniel’s group can easily be seen from the shore, either riding for speed or riding for air, but the tricks are hidden in the mechanics of the sport. A kiter is attached to a kite with a harness that has a handlebar. The handlebar operates like a steering wheel. Some kiteboards have foot attachments, while other boards are strapless. “Like any adventure sport, people wanting to give it a try will have a much better experience if they take a lesson with a qualified instructional service,” Daniel says. The difference between kitesurfing and other water sports like surfing and standup paddleboarding is that the equipment must be bor-rowed, or purchased at a cost of about $1,500. It cannot be rented due to safety and liability issues. 51 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


2013-7
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