Rob Umstead August 2016 Rider of the Month

rob at DC

Sitting along the shore of the Columbia River, waiting for the wind to pick up for a windsurfing session, he watched a guy on a kite having a blast on the swells at the Hatchery.  “Maybe there’s something to this Kite boarding thing.” He said to his friend.  From then on windsurfing was cancelled for Rob Umstead.

The following summer he taught himself how to kite.  “There were no established Kite Schools back in 2000.  We just got some gear and went to the river to figure it out.” Said Rob.  “This led to many long afternoons of swimming and rescue.”“The gear back then was not too user friendly and without any instruction we were struggling” remembers Rob. “Now I can teach people in 2 hours, what it took me a month to figure out.”


That is exactly what Rob does now.  Rob is an IKO level 2 instructor with 15 years of teaching experience. After teaching in the Columbia Gorge for many years, he opened Uinta Kiting in 2014.  This School operates on the Deer Creek reservoir in the Heber Valley, Utah.

Deer Creek serves up reliable thermal winds most afternoons and is one of Utah’s top kite spots.  The cool mountain nights and the morning valley heating create a SW flow up thru Provo Canyon and by mid day the wind is on.

uinta student

Uinta Kiting’s goal is to make riders save and independent.  “No one wants an accident to happen at the launch site.”  Says Rob “My job is to teach them safe kite practices so that they can go out by themselves and have fun. I always smile when I see a former student out riding and having a blast.  That’s the most rewarding part”


Rob grew up on the ocean in Massachusetts and has always had a love for being on the water.  When skiing brought him west he was feeling a little land locked.  Kite boarding on the waters of Utah has helped fill that water void.  Running the Kite School has allowed him the flexibility to purse his other passion, skiing and ski racing.

In the winter months Rob and his wife Danelle, ski on the US Paralympic Alpine Team.  Danelle is a visually impaired athlete and Rob races with her as a guide.  Together they have been to 2 Paralympic games and won 3 Paralympic medals and numerous World Cup titles.  They are currently training for the 2018 games in South Korea.

When heading to Europe in the winter months, Rob keeps a kite in with his ski gear just incase the wind kicks up for a Snow kite session.  After a long winter of travel and racing he always looks forward to spring and getting back out on the water at Deer Creek.

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