If you told me when I was younger that I would be instructing the sport of kite boarding – I would have thought you were crazy. There was no such thing as kite boarding; wind surfing was a thing, but not this sport as we know it today. I never got too involved with wind surfing, even though it was around. Growing up in Connecticut, I was involved with organized sports – I was captain of the football team, track team, ski team. I also raced motocross and jet skis competitively. I don’t say this to brag – I say this so you can hear my background. I was essentially a connoisseur of sports. I eventually went on to play football for the University of Kentucky. Many years later, I picked up the kite – and suffice it to say, this has led me to live a life today that has been nothing short of my childhood dreams.
Who doesn’t dream about being able to fly when you were a little kid? I knew I could excel at football – the camaraderie and the heartache of winning, losing, putting in the hours every day to push yourself when you have nothing left in the tank (or so you think) – this mentality translated into my passion for the kite later on.
My dad (who passed away young, R.I.P.) told me that all the great business deals were made on the golf course. In my mind, many years ago, I truly thought I would play golf into my later years- a sport I could play as I grew into retirement. I mention golf because this is a question i always get asked: does age has any impact on picking up the kite and getting involved in this sporting community? My answer is a resounding no. Age does not matter, as long as the individual is willing and able to put in some hard work and have an open mind, this sport can accommodate nearly anyone, of any age.
Connecticut – my home state, and that was where I saw a kite like the ones we see today for the first time. There was a European guy who lived across from me, and I saw him drying his kite on the pavement in the early morning, as I was heading out to work. I had an idea about it – this kite, the sport itself – but I really had no idea what he was doing. Curiosity got the best of me, so deciding that work was going to take a backseat, I got to talking with my neighbor for about an hour. After that, it was on. I had this absolute drive to get involved with this sport. That is when I booked some lessons (thank you Mom) at Adventure Sports in Florida. I left Connecticut and moved to south Florida, with a little personal sadness over closing a chapter in my life, and a little apprehensive about starting a new one.
Kiting came to me when I needed a hobby the most. Moving here from the northeastern US, my friend circle was limited, to say the least. This sport essentially saved me. It has got me outside and meeting a whole new group of people. It has been a sort of spiritual journey – being in a lonely place, with the mind going full steam, I was searching for an oasis in a desert. The kite lessons my mom got me – like a lightbulb went off, and I turned my attention outward, back to the ocean, the surf, the water. I found it, that adrenaline kick – but the friends I started to make, they pushed me to get out and into the water on the days when I didn’t want to leave my bed. That was several years ago. Kiting aided me in turning a corner in my life.
I got certified to teach at Adventure Sports two years ago. Now, with the help of an unbelievable team, I have the privilege of running the school at Matheson Hammock. I have to pinch myself sometimes.
It’s the feeling of the air, the power of the forces of nature – this sensation of harnessing the wind over the open ocean is an incredible feeling. You are one with Mother Nature, being pulled by the wind, gliding on the ocean surface. You can feel like a real-life super hero. It’s amazing to watch people grow – to pass the stoke, it is a wonderful gift to give somebody. It dramatically can affect your life in a positive way; even bad days on the water are good days
I have been able to pass along the skills and knowledge behind this sport to literally (and figuratively) lift others up, so they can experience this feeling themselves. I can see the light in the eyes of my students suddenly switch on – the same thing happened to me. It’s unbelievable, it’s a feeling where words fall short.
My mom came down last year, and we headed to an event at the Coconut Grove Adventure Sports. She got to meet a huge number of active, engaged, and exciting people who are dedicated to kiting. She told me as we were driving back home that she has never seen a group of happier people in her life.
At the very least, this sport will give you a new hobby by getting you out on the water. For many others, myself included, your life will be uplifted to bring about a whole new purpose – to pass along the feeling, the freedom, of flying to your fellow human beings who want to share in this experience. It is transformative throughout your daily life – time moves a little slower, and you can truly find oneness in all, and bring a bounty of love into your relationships with family and friends.