Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quitting Kiteboarding

I learned how to kiteboard about a year and a half ago when I was living in Florida. Although I often had gear failures and frustrations, I mostly avoided injury, and I found kiteboarding to be easy, fun, and well-suited to Florida's prevalent, light seabreezes. Windsurfing remained my preferred sport for winds over 15 knots, but a 12 meter squared kite and a few kiteboards took care of most of my "light wind planing" needs. I figured I'd be a two-watersport guy for the rest of my life, but things changed.

One thing that changed was that I moved to Massachusetts, where the wind is gusty and the water is cold. I've kited a bit here, but it's sketchy. In these conditions I prefer the security of a board that floats and a sail that I know will stop pulling when I let go. It's also windier overall in Massachusetts than in Florida, and I don't seem to need anything more powerful than a 7 or 8 msq windsurf sail and a slalom board to get plenty of fully-powered sessions.

Another thing was realizing that I simply like windsurfing better than kiting. It's not that I don't like kiteboarding- I do. I think it's cool to be effortlessly powered in "tweener" wind strengths with a kite, and the soaring, Peter Pan jumps are a rush. But the basic riding sensation is more satisfying to me on a windsurf. I like the direct feedback from the board, the fin, and the sail, and I feel more like the whole assembly is an extension of myself. On a windsurf I can sail along not doing anything special, just appreciating the feeling of motion and forces in balance. I get a little of that kiting, too, but it's not as nice.

The final thing was my limited storage space, time, and financial resources. I started thinking about an extra $1500 in my pocket, a less cluttered van and board rack, and fewer "what to rig" decisions, and I decided to QUIT KITEBOARDING AND SELL MY GEAR. If I someday find myself idle rich and living in a warm, light-wind place like Florida or San Diego then I may take it up again. We'll see.

Anyway, here's a video from yesterday afternoon of what may have been my last kiteboarding session ever. Below the video I've listed the kite gear I have for sale.

Last Kite Sesh, 30 Nov 10 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

2008 Flysurfer Speed 2 (closed-cell foil kite) 12 msq. Perfectly tuned with bar and lines included. $750 SOLD
Two-line trainer kite, 4 msq, with bar and lines. $60 SOLD
Michael Gebhardt - designed directional freeride / raceboard. Unique and extremely badass. $500 SOLD
2006 Litewave Freeride 179 cm Twintip. Best beginner kiteboard ever, and very comfy ride in chop. $180 SOLD
2009 Litewave Spirit 137 cm Twintip. Do-it-all kiteboard for medium and stronger wind. Nice footpads. $250



Checco said...

Hi Jame's,

fully agree with you, especially when you say "the basic riding sensation is more satisfying to me on a windsurf". I'm discovering this little by little... windsurfing is different. But as "heavy weight" guy I need more than 15kn to start planning on a windsurf board (using regular gear!)... so kite is still ok until it become dangerous (means, for me, >25kn).
I'll keep on riding with a kite when the wind is so weak I can't deal with even with a formula gear... ;)


Johnny Douglass said...

Good! Stick to windsurfing and your day job. That will keep you plenty busy enough.

Boris T said...

Sorry to hear that your giving up kiting, bummer. If I needed more gear (who am I kidding I can always use more) I'd take it off ya but the $$ just ain't there at the moment.

BLCS said...

Bad timing. There was just a big article in the Wall Street Journal, purporting that kiting is the sport du jour for the rich, megalomaniacal type A's. Powerful, dangerous, risky... blah blah. Just the types you want undermining the economy. Sir Richard Branson was highlighted as "typical" kiter.

Perhaps windsurfing is a more "democratic" activity? Socialist even??? (Cue John Kerry ad :)

James Douglass said...

Checco- I hear ya. For a big guy who wants to ride small boards, kiting is a good way to go.

Dad- I reckon.

Boris- No worries, it may be a while before the stuff sells. Folks probably aren't thinking too much about kiting in the cold winter.

BLCS- Well, I'm definitely more of a socialist than a megalomaniac, so I reckon windsurfing is for me.

scooper said...

Sorry to hear you're leaving kiting but I understand. I'm still undecided about which I like better. My windsurfing hasn't improved much over the last 10 to 15 years whereas my kiting improves every couple of weeks. I have to wait until my learning curve levels off a little before I can have any perspective.

I'll take the old Litwave 179 off of your hands. I need a light wind board that is good in chop and waves.

Unknown said...

Hi James!

This is Melinda Clayton from Maple Ridge, BC Canada...and I'd love to buy your speed 2 & raceboard - sweet ride(s)! Assuming you sell the 179, what's the most obnoxious steal of a deal that you could live with accepting from your sister from Canada in exchange for the sp2 12m & raceboard combo? I know it's already a great buy, and at the same time I'm counting pennies for necessities just like everyone and will also have to factor both shipping plus customs fees into my budget. I hope we can swing the deal of a lifetime here :) Could you please tell a little about the condition of the kite? Is the raceboard appropriate for riding waves too? I'm relatively new to kiting (surfing is my primary, and this would be my biggest foil kite - have 6m & 10m inflatables) very excited about possibilities! Take Care - M

Unknown said...

oh - if you'd prefer to email a reply - livearichlife @ gmail . com -

James Douglass said...

Scooper- The Litewave 179 is yours. Let me know how you want to get it.

Melinda- I'm pretty stingy, but I might be able to give slight discount since you would be buying both the big-ticket items at once.

James Douglass said...

Melinda- I just emailed you.

PeconicPuffin said...

I feel the same way about the windsurfing vs kiting basic sensation (to be fair I have kited twice, but still). Both windsurfing and stand up surfing I had the immediate "I LOVE THIS".

Anyhow I hope your drysuit is in good condition so you're ready to enjoy the great NE winter windsurfing!

Unknown said...

James - I just sent you an email since I couldn't find the one you sent me (it's not in my spam folder - I checked). I forgot to mention that you'd need to take out the spaces that I added, to keep the spam-bots at bay, for it to work. Yay! I'm excited for us to talk! Bless - m

James Douglass said...

Puffin- Hmm, that's interesting. I liked the feeling of windsurfing, kiting, and sup'ing, in that order. Maybe since my sup'ing has only been in bad conditions with the Kona ONE and a homemade paddle I haven't gotten the full experience.

Melinda- I'm positive that I emailed the correct address with no spaces. Maybe your spam filter caught it?

Unknown said...

Gracias, mi amor! Yo estoy STOKED! Big love from Canada :D

Brian said...

Hey James,

I wonder if we're going to see a resurgance of windsurfing and a decline in kiting?

Personally, I think windsurfing is too much fun to switch to something else.


BLCS said...

So are you wearing the nitrile gloves OVER a pair of neoprene gloves?


"Folks probably aren't thinking too much about kiting in the cold winter."

Sorry, A friend linked sent me your blog and when I read that I laughed a little.

I hear what you're saying about the riding conditions here. I'm not a water rider and though I'd like to try I'll stick to ice and snow. It may be cold but it's dry!

Welcome to New England!


JSW225 said...

I laughed pretty hard when this post made it to the front page of the Windsurfing Mag website. It's like they are cheering to the world, "Ha! WE WON!"

Mary said...

Hi James. I heard you. I am a 110 pounds female who started windsurfing a few years ago and switched to Kiteboarding. I never felt the same sensation of freedom on a kite board than on a Ws board. After almost killed myself and saw a bunch of friends going to the hospital ( my BF almost died drowning stuck in his lines under the water), I gave up Kiteboarding and went back WSing. It is a very difficult and challenging sport to learn that asks for a big commitment and a lot of stubbornness! That is why so little people learn to windsurf those days.

Unknown said...

Great job.... I want share a kitesurfing school website were kitesurfing lover lern how to launch kite wih proper instruction. http://www.kitesurfingnovascotia.com

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Cool Boardrack, i been trying to figure out how to store all my boards and a boardrack could be a good alternativ.

Best Regards

Unknown said...

Well as long as you are having fun in the water it doesn't matter what you ride. Now you have the experience of having learned how to kitesurf too. Great article :)

Chris said...

I got some of the very first kitesurfing kit ever that arrived in South Africa (1999 - 2000?). Taught myself how to kitesurf (that involved a lot of "kitemares"!), even did some kite instructing, but also decided I just prefer the sensation of windsurfing...


anne9021 said...

Good. Stay out of MA where a steady ban is inevitable, and will be forcing you out. New York state and others are crimping your space, as well. Yesterday, I saw 30 + on a MA beach, high tide, very close to one another and people on the beach. Some really had no legitimate reason to be there -- sparse and questionable knowledge and command of the sport. They'll close it down permanently after a couple of serious injuries/fatalities. Hope MA isn't that unfortuante to wait for that to happen to make it happen.