Before Kiteboarding: Kiteskiing 1995

Before kitesurfing or kiteboarding made it big in the U.S., kiteskiing was a thing. Not skiing like they do in Norway but like Cypress Gardens, FL. In 1995, kiteskiers were invited to ESPN's Extreme Games (now X-Games).

Kiting 1995

Bill Herderich summoned up this gem of an article from the bowels of his basement, the American Kiter Fall 1995 issue with an article about the event. Unfortunately, it isn't the inspiring story of the early days but, in a tale we all recognize, how not enough wind not only kept the event from running as planned and gave them virtually no airtime but gave ESPN the excuse to underpay the competitors.

Strapping

For the beginning windsurfer, there are a number of milestones along the path of improvement. None of these steps are obligatory but their accomplishment means that you can windsurf longer, easier and in a broader range of conditions. It's no fun to be on the water struggling or the beach while your buds and budettes are having a good time.

After windsurfers start to become comfortable being out in planing strength winds and getting used to the harness, they begin to learn to put their feet into the footstraps. These same straps that seemed so illogically placed at the sinky tail of the board suddenly are now appearing underfoot. They've been told that footstraps are handy (footy?) things to use but, as soon as they pick up one foot or the other to put them into the straps, bad things seem to happen: catapaults, veering upwind, falling on the sail. While more experienced sailors will swear that they abhor the idea of planing without being in the straps, the newly-minted intermediate sees it oppositely. Footstraps seems to be the cause of problems, not a cure.

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Journal Entry: April 8

When I began seriously windsurfing, I began to keep a journal, notes in a little spiral bound notebook. It was quite helpful. I logged my sessions and noted sail trim settings - downhaul, outhaul, etc.
I ran across it the other day when cleaning out the garage and ran across this entry:


That was twenty three years ago. I'd had a good day windsurfing and then got in the car and turned on the radio.


I would have written that differently had I known that it would be posted for public consumption. Nirvana was a big deal as we transitioned from the synth New Wave and hair metal of the 80s to the grunge of the 90s and Kurt Cobain was, arguably, its biggest voice.

As is typical for me, the self-discipline petered out after a few more entries. That's probably for the best as a few of the other entries were horribly arrogant for a newbie. I'm not very good now, two decades later, so to read my self-assessment then is a bit cringey. Ah, the folly of youth.


Oh, and Amy is one my wife's good friends from med school. Just in case anybody was thinking, "What?"

You Are Not Average

Quote:

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
- George Carlin

Fortunately, we aren't talking about your intelligence but, rather, your body size. A lot of us aren't average. We are bigger, smaller, heavier and lighter than the "average" windsurfer. And, certainly, we don't windsurf in an average place.


Peter Hart has written a pair of articles about windsurfing when you aren't the average size. We can't recommend these enough. You should read both whether you are a larger or smaller than average person as there is a lot of wisdom to be gleaned.

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