kiteboarding is hard.
I’ve been in DR for about a week now. My main goal in coming here was to learn to kiteboard… in the water. I already kite on land (not very well) back in Chicago.
I took my kite out for the first time on Tuesday. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve learned a thing or two over the past few days.
1. I can barely swim.
I knew this was going to be a problem, so I prepared appropriately: I tried not to think about it until I was in the water with a ten meter kite strapped to my waist dragging me half way to Puerto Rico. Then I promptly freaked out.
2. Oh shit, I’m terrified of the ocean! Is that going to make this ocean sport more difficult?
It’s hard to control your kite when you’re clung to your kite instructor’s head like a spider monkey. As soon as the water was waist deep I was anxiously looking around for sharks, jelly fish, and other sea creatures that are certain to cause death. I am oh so scared of the violent sea. I blame the El Salvador incident for this ocean-phobia. I’ll tell you about it later.
3. There are way too many skills to learn before I actually get on the damn board.
Rigging the kite. Kite control. Downwind body drag. Upwind freakin’ body drag. Do you know how hard it is to learn how to upwind body drag? I hope you never find out. It is hard. Particularly when you don’t know how to swim. Did I mention I don’t know how to swim?
People keep telling me “it’s just like the side stroke!” I don’t know what the freakin’ side stroke is, people. I do know how to doggie paddle. Is there any skill in kiteboarding for which doggie paddling would be relevant? No? Well, shit.
4. Ten-year-old Dominican boys are really good at kiteboarding.
It tends to bruise one’s confidence when one is struggling with a very large kite in the water, simply trying to NOT die, whilst a ten-year old zips by on his board jumping twenty feet in the air, with a few acrobatic flips thrown in, with complete ease.
Shit. I was watching that ten-year-old do those badass jumps and now I crashed my kite into the ocean. Fuck. STAY AFLOAT! RE-LAUNCH THE KITE! KEEP YOUR BOARD ON YOUR FEET! Which brings me to #5…
5. Good God, there is a shit ton of gear to control, and I’m STILL just trying to fucking swim.
So much gear. So much swimming. Would be a lot better without the swimming.