Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kiteboarding Maui 2006

A group of friends and I just returned from an annual 'pre memorial day trip' to Maui. Light winds and drizzle forced us to surf and travel around the island for 3 days. This was followed by 2 days of super gusty wind.
Jumping at lower Kanaha, Maui When we got on the water at lower kanaha, I picked a small kite (Naish Torch 8) and added really short lines (20 meter) to handle gusts to 35 Mph.

Variable conditions as always in beautiful Maui.

More pictures below!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Kiting Seal Beach in Southern California

I had a chance to kite in the L.A. area. Very mellow, very fun - kiting around oil derricks disguised as palm covered islands on the open ocean. The rigging and launch areas are sandy and really wide, unlike the beaches in northern California and Hawaii. Here's a handful of pics.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kiteboarding with Shannon Best

The early years of kiteboarding were dominated by athletes who crossed over primarily from windsurfing & surfing - these were the people that best understood the riding techniques and innovation in board and 'sail' design required to do something that mattered in the beginning - to be able to get upwind enough to finish a session at the same place one started.

Once this seminal milestone was accomplished, along with better kite design, the sport added subtle elements of 'paragliding' and the sport took on the term "BOOST" - big jumps on both waves and flat water.

Shannon Best at Kite Beach, Maui showing off the Waroo Pro - due out later this year I was honored to meet and kite with Shannon Best on this recent visit to Maui's Kite Beach. When Shannon crossed over into kiting in 2002, he represented a BIG new influence from a new breed of waterman.

As a professional wakeboarder for 18 years, Shannon and others like him brought a new style of riding to the sport - edgy, aggressive spinning jumps and tricks, combined with big jumps and wave riding.

He is a man who pushes the sport - the riders (he spent many years as a pro wakeboarding coach), the equipment, the technology (he holds a number of patents on innovations that have hit, and are still to hit the market), and the industry - in the process, he has earned a reputation as The most LOVED HATED man in Kiteboarding. I think he is great, and great for the sport. My wife and I have both been using his DVD's as instructional guides since they were introduced by in 2003.

Shannon Best and Natasha at Kite Beach, MauiNatasha, Chris and I hooked up with him at Kite Beach, Maui to talk about his new line of gear. His line of gear includes kites, bars and boards. I'm convinced that I need to try out his new line of bow kites - the WAROO 9 in particular - in decent kiting conditions.

The kiting in Maui this week has been up and down - too light (12 - 15 nominal) early in the week, and super windy and gusty (25 gusting 35) at the end. While we were able to put Rob on a WAROO 7 to body drag in extremely high and gusty wind (it handled well) I did not get to try the 9.

Shannon Best and Bill Tai at Kite Beach, Maui I'm definitley looking forward to trying it out -- Shannon believes the 9 in particular is in the "sweet spot" of his line. I've been told that the reviews on the Waroo have been positive and that it has both the stability of the Cabrina Crossbow (really stable, high bar pressure required all the time) as well as the responsiveness and light bar pressure of the GK Sonic (light and responsive, but a bit 'touchy').

Really looking forward to trying it out.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kite Surfing Ranks as Top Extreme Sport

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:39 PM

Tampa, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/16/2006 -- In a national survey commissioned by the American Kite Surfing Association (AKSA), kite surfing, a relatively new sport in North America, is ranked as the top Extreme Sport. Among the sixteen hundred athletes participating in the study, 71% listed kite surfing as the most exciting and dynamic extreme sport. Only a third had actually attempted the sport yet nearly all indicated that intended to “give it a try” before the end the year.

Cathi Long, Executive VP
American Kite Surfing Association

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Visit With the KING of KITEBOARDs - Jimmy Lewis

Today we (Aaron, Chris, Natasha, Julia, and Bill) made a pilgrimage to visit the KING - The King of kiteboards -- Jimmy Lewis. We drove on up to Haiku where Jimmy gave us a tutorial on his custom board designs and a tour of his shop.
Bill, Jimmy and Chris at the Jimmy Lewis workshop Aaron led the charge this time as it was finally his turn to order his own custom 'Bitch Witch' (a board) - designed for wave riding.

Compared to the Jimmy that I ride (a Model III), the Bitch Witch has a narrower (7" wide BW vs. 8" wide Model III) tail which allows it to sink a bit in bottom turns to edge through the waves.

Arron and Julia picking up thier new baby from Dr. Jimmy
Aaron and Julia discussing the finer points of Aaron's new baby with doctor Jimmy... - contact me in the Dominican for lessons, or info on Jimmy Lewis boards After a tour of the shop, Natasha, (who I brought into the sport in 2001 -- and who now is an IKO certified instructor teaching primarily in the Dominican Republic) decided that she wanted this special Jimmy board...