A few months back I was sitting in Jozo’s bar at Blue Mountain Resort after a long day of working events on the hill. We were catching up over a pitcher with a few of the staff and ended up talking about road tripping down to North Carolina, something I have always wanted to do. One of the guys I work with had mentioned he had a crew of kiteboarders that traveled down every year, so myself and two girlfriends jumped at the chance and invited ourselves on their trip. Best idea ever.
First stop was DC where we checked out the White House, Lincon Memorial, Monument, Air and Space Smithsonian, Natural History Museum and navigated the DC Subway line in an afternoon. Thank you goes to my Oma and Uncle Mike for a traditional German dinner and comfy beds to sleep in.
Friday morning we work up bright and early to head to Benson for a two hour set at Hexagon Wake Park. Hexagon is rad. It has a total backyard feel, unit features for all levels and friendly operators. Both Laura and Lindsay were looping the cable after their first try, and even sent it off the kicker. After a few laps we packed up our stuff to shred with Kara on her brand new G21.
Shred the Gnar wakeschool is in Wilmington Beach on an ocean inlet. The town has a retired beach-livin feel, totally relaxed with gorgeous sunsets and bright blue water. We spent a few hours riding and wakesurfing, then headed to Kara’s place aka the ‘Gnar Bar”. Laura took over the BBQ for dinner , one thing lead to another and we Ubered our way out to the Wilmington strip with our dancing shoes on.
The next day we crushed some Chick-fila and hit the road to Hatteras. The drive was over 4 hours, but it was through green backroads with real deep-south style homes dotting the way. The Outer Banks come at you almost as if you are traveling across the sea to another world far, far away. You take a long bridge over the Sound (a wide, shallow inlet off the Atlantic Ocean) where miles and miles of Sand Dunes come at you spotted by four-story houses on high stilts. Apparently they are built without foundations because every few years a storm sweeps in and causes the island to almost disappear.
Our house was one of these epic 4 story houses that closely resembled the house from Jim Carey’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. It had an elevator built into it, 7 bedrooms, a media room, outdoor pool, hot-tub and massive kitchen, with balconies off every room. Laura, Lindsay and I made ourselves cozy in our batchlorette pad (by far the best room in the house). Then headed over to Real Sports to pick up Kite Gear.
I honestly had no idea what to expect with Kiteboarding. I assumed it would be similar to wakeboarding and was grossly mistaken! It is 90% learning how to fly the kite, and 10% board skills. We decided it was a good idea to bite the bullet and pay for the $350 lesson. Let me tell you it was TOTALLY worth it. If the three of us tried to teach ourselves at least two of us would be walking back home to Canada, partially strangled by another from frustration. It is NOT easy to learn. Kiting has by far the hardest learning curve out of any other sport I have tried. You really need an instructor that can show you the sheer power of the kite, how far it can pull you and how to properly release if you get into trouble. Not to mention Chris from Real Sports following you around with a jetski so you dont have to worry about doing a 5 km walk of shame down the main road. He had Lindsay and I up and going for a few runs by the end of the lesson.
The rest of the week was spent trying to figure out how to stay up wind, fly the kite, and really just miles and miles of walking back up the beach to our house. A few times I lost my board and luckily had some nice guy rescue it for me. Another time I managed to smoke myself in the face with the bar and gave myself a bit of a shiner. All totally worth it in the end, as it is coolest sport I have ever done. Being pulled by the wind is like flying., flying across the water, flying into the air, all controlled by you. (Or not, which was me for 90% of the ride)
The only frustrating thing about kiting is waiting for mother nature to show her windy side. We had two days of no wind, but luckily I brought my surfboard with me. A crew if Canadians were down there at the same time as us so Laura and I linked up with Trevor Niblett, Sam Medesky, Jamie Reekie, Steve Martin and Andrew Murdison for a surf/ SUP session down in Buxton. The water was so calm and the waves were just the perfect size for our crew. We spent four solid hours playing the waves before we headed back home.
All in all, the trip was amazing. I met so many new friends, tried an incredible sport and now I am totally hooked. Next mission is the get myself some Liquid Force Kite gear and get out kiting here in Wasaga. I suggest you all do the same!