Possibility! – Early Days on A Kite Board Part Two
As I embarked on my second day of water kite boarding with Alan and Xantos from 4elementskiteboarding, this time the wind was right in the stunning La Ventana bay. I was told by Alan (my instructor) that La Ventana was named the best kite boarding location in the world. At the top of the top 10 for consistent wind and conditions of the location (the beach orientation is perfect for downwind kiting). As I looked out to the bay, I couldn’t help but think, they might be right. It was gorgeous. Now, let Battle Day 2 begin!!
A fellow kiter in the bar in La Ventana taught me the saying ‘KBWOW’. It means ‘Kite-Board-Wind-Obstacles-Water’. And that means, these are ALL of the variables that you must continuously, consistently and eloquently manage as part of your kite boarding experience. They should have added ‘AF’- arms-feet. I.e. What I’ve become aware of in kite boarding is that, unlike skiing in which you manage activity mainly from the waist down, kiting is a four limb activity, to help you manage KBWOW. It’s like wake boarding, only you’re driving the boat as well! Really intense and I can only imagine satisfying once you can master this. No wonder so many Type-A tech executives do this sport I thought.
Today we were launching upwind near El Sargento, from a picturesque beach and going to gradually kite downwind to the town of La Ventana.
To recap on yesterday, I had managed to get up on the board, but flop over and lose it, pretty consistently, necessitating a boat rescue of my board each attempt. Today, Alan wanted to make me practise more kite skills from the water without the board, so this didn’t happen anymore.
Ugggghhhhhh I was so frustrated. I just wanted to get up and out of the damn neck deep water. I complied but after a while, I begged him to let me get back on the board! I told him I was losing the will to live at this point and I needed to get out of the water or else I was going to hate this sport forever!!!
He must have pitied me because he replied ‘Ok girl, we’re gonna get back on the board!’ Music to my ears.
And so, he let me have the board back. Like a Pavlovian dog, a switch must have flicked on, because all of a sudden, I seemed to be able to eloquently control the kite when I got up on the board, and even though I fell over, I stopped losing the board. Eureka! I could carry on, and keep getting up without board rescue. And so I tried- again, and again, and again. I must have tried 20-30 times over the next couple of hours both directions. Only I favoured practising one over the other owing to the sun dangerously being in my eyes as I constantly had to look skyward to manage the kite.
As I would sit in the water, readying my kite and putting my board back on my feet, I would often look outwards at the other kiters nearby- they seemed to effortlessly drive their kite and board here, there and every where. They never fell in. They looked tranquil and stress-free. I felt determined that this was where I was going to end up, I just had no idea of the time frame. I began to think it might be a five-year project rather than a few months as I’d originally planned.
I eventually did get up and ‘boarding’ several metres. I think in total up to about forty metres I once went without falling. They were cheering and clapping me from the boat, I could hear on the radio. They got some GoPro footage even they told me. ‘One small step for man, one large leap for mankind’- I felt invincible, I thought I was Neil Armstrong!
However, when we came in I felt almost hypothermic from the cold wind, my eyes were bloodshot and painful from staring into the sun and the sea water, once again I’d drunk several cups, maybe litres of water and my chin skin was badly chafed from my life jacket rubbing on my neck as it rode up. I’d won a small battle, but at what cost? There was still the war, I was thinking. That evening, I really understood the meaning ‘Baja Time’, by 9pm despite a lovely dinner of Chiles Relleno’s with some of the tastiest seafood known to man, and congenial conversation amongst my friends, I could barely keep my eyes open, and my body was aching. Would I be able to last another (my final) day?