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Name: Tommy Fields
Height: 5’ 9”
Years kiting: 3
Favorite Spots: Taiba Lagoon, Tigertail Beach, Hood River
Favorite Conditions: Warm flat water and 10m wind
Favorite Moves: Front Mobe to Blind and Switch Back Mobe to Wrapped
Sponsors: North Kiteboarding, Anarchy Optics, Ion Essentials, Backdrop Wake, and Sharkless Boardsports
Boards: North 131 Team Series
Kites: North Vegas
Lines: 25m for everyday freestyle and 20m for kiteloops
Harness: North Styler
1. Always make sure that the water’s deep enough and there aren’t any hidden rocks or other things underwater before doing tricks.
2. The key to improving is not only just riding everyday. Doing things outside of kiteboarding such as wakeboarding and working out will make everything much easier.
3. Always fully commit when you are learning new tricks. If you visualize how to do the trick in your head and then fully go for it, you will progress a lot faster.
4. Remember that kiteboarding is about having fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, take a break and come back later.
Formerly a competitive wakeboarder, Tommy Fields began kiteboarding just three years ago, moving from Indiana to Islamorada in 2008 to train. Last fall, he spent three months training in Brazil and competed in his first KPWT event, finishing 17th.
Now a student at the University of Miami, Tommy has been spending his time pushing his freestyle riding.
When, where, and why did you start kiteboarding?
Before I started kiteboarding, I wakeboarded for seven years and competed on the INT tour. One summer when I was learning more difficult moves, I got hurt a lot, and kept having to go to the doctor for my ankles and wrists.
Then, I saw people kiteboarding on Lake Superior in Michigan, and decided that it was the sport for me.
Have any other sports or disciplines helped influence your kiteboarding?
I get a lot of influence from my wakeboarding background, but I also get a lot of new ideas from watching snowboarding videos too.
Sure, it may not be exactly the same, but watching wakeboarding and snowboarding videos gives me new ideas that I can start with and then add my own style to.
What do most wakeboarders think about kiteboarding?
A lot of my friends think that it’s really cool because of all of the different possibilities. Instead of being stuck in a pond you can go out in the ocean and ride all sorts of conditions, from butter-flat lagoons to big waves.
Almost everyone that I’ve talked to has said that they really want to learn.
What standout features do you most appreciate about your current gear?
I really like the fifth-line set-up on the new bar. The fifth-line is attached to a ring that is through the chicken loop, so when you are trying handle passes and crashing, the leash acts like a suicide leash.
If you need to release to the fifth-line to completely depower the kite, all you have to do is pull the quick release on the chicken loop. It can also be set up to depower to the fifth-line straight away if you feel safer doing so.
I also really like the way the new Vegas feels on the freestyle setting.
What do you think can be done to draw more young riders into kiteboarding?
I think to draw more riders into the sport we need to push more contests for younger riders. The CKA contest tour has done a great job in promoting kiteboarding to college kids in Florida and now California, and hopefully one day it will expand to other states as well and the contests will become more organized.
Also, putting on demos that have support from out-of-industry sponsors will also help generate interest. If we have a demo/beach party sponsored by Red Bull or some major non-kiteboarding company, tons of people will come and be introduced to our sport that otherwise wouldn’t know about kiteboarding.
What do you think about competitions?
I really like doing competitions because of the atmosphere and getting to ride with and meet new people. I competed on my first KPWT stop when I was in Brazil last fall and had a lot of fun.
I definitely want to do more KPWT or PKRA events in the next few months.
What is something about you that you do outside of kiteboarding that most people wouldn’t know?
I just started college at the University of Miami in the Business program, and it’s been a really fun experience so far. Miami is unlike anywhere else in the world, and I’ve met a ton of really cool people from all over the world.
There’ve been a lot of crazy nights down here in Miami as well.
What is your worst wipe out/scariest kiteboarding experience?
When I was learning slim chances in the Florida Keys, I broke my nose and ended up having to fly home to Indiana to get it fixed. The wind was pretty light and I was underpowered on a 13m, and I came down and hit my nose with my knee.
I rode in covered in blood and went to the hospital in Miami, where they did nothing but tell me that my nose was broken, and that it needed to be fixed. My advice when learning new moves is to stay within your comfort zone and once you get the movement down you can start adding power and style.
What is your most memorable kiteboarding experience?
My most memorable experience was riding in the Taiba lagoon for the first time last September. When I first heard about kiteboarding, I watched tons of videos of riders from Brazil that got me hooked.
I knew that I had to go and ride the lagoons for myself. Spending three months in Brazil last fall was an amazing experience that was full of great times with friends. I progressed a lot, and had some crazy experiences along the way.
Some nights were spent chasing donkeys, another with our buggy going up in flames, and one that involved our car being impounded by the military police. Every day in Brazil brought fun new experiences.
What are your must-haves that you can’t live without?
Without my Macbook Pro I’d be dead. No Internet, Dreamweaver, or Photoshop, and life would be over. I’m not very good with cold weather either, so I count on my wetsuits to keep me warm.
Any words of wisdom you want to share with our readers?
Anything can become a reality. You can do whatever you set your mind to, so don’t let doubts or things that other people say hold you back.
You can achieve anything as long as you set your mind to it, and just because it’s not the accepted path of life or the common thing to do doesn’t matter as long as you know that that’s what you want to do with your life.