James Ropner February Rider of the Month 2014

JMOnePhoto credit: Alli Pareti

James grew up in Yorkshire, Northern England, a small town of 194 people called Patrick Brompton.  During his childhood he was dragged to the beach constantly to watch his dad windsurf and to walk their dog.  This led to his strong aversion towards the beach because James tells how he was always cold and unhappy whenever he went to the coast.  He got into wakeboarding and skateboarding at the time because he jokingly said that he could finally stay warm.  James can remember seeing some pictures of his dad’s friend on a wakeboard doing flips. He remembers thinking, “This guy’s like 50, throwing flips!!”.  That’s when he decided he needed to kite.  He bought a kite the next day, and went to the beach, this time in California.  He pumped the kite up and fastened it to his belt, with no harness at the time.  James flew it for a few months everyday he could, and then he ventured into the water with a wakeboard.  James stayed on the wakeboard for about 4 years, but then, about 2 years ago, he saw my buddy Patrick Rebstock shredding a surfboard.James knew then that was where he wanted to take his riding and has since ridden for a few companies such as Caution, Slingshot, and now is signed with Best kiteboarding.


He is riding with a group of elite kids on the coast of California, Ian, Pat, Bear, Teddy, Pike, Bax, Cody, Matt, Reed, Josh, Sean, and Vic to name a few.  James remarks, “We are all riding surfboards pushing each other to ride better daily, and we have a few video channels you should check out. TDZ (The Dredge Zone), Living the Dream, and BIP (Barneys in paradise).  By filming each other we can see what we are doing right, and wrong, and better our riding”.  There are so many branches now with racing, foiling, surf, wake, and snow that James is so stoked to see more and more people doing what they want in kiting and even more stoked to see what is to come!  James goes on to say, “Nowadays you can do what you want where you want!”.  Currently James is making commercial videos for a living and teaches kite lessons whenever someone really wants to learn.  James teaches for Xtremebigair.com.  Kinsley is the owner and is recently paralyzed.  Half of the money he makes in giving lessons goes directly to Kinsley’s benefit fund.  James currently just returned from a trip to Maui, and next James will be off to Utah to do some snow kiting.  Then his plans extend to Europe for the summer and then who knows where James will continue to follow his exciting journey into Kiting.  James says, “Kiting has given me so much.  My best friends, business partners, and many other important people in my life, I met them all at the beach, and owe all that to kiteboarding.”.  James hopes that our sport keeps growing in the right direction and that the surf scene can gain more funding and sponsors.  He strongly believes that we have huge potential to attain mainstream sporting events, and that we definitely will in a matter of time.
Stay tuned people! I can see awesomeness in our near future!

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