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Rider Profile: Claire Lutz

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Name: Claire Lutz
Age: 23
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 120 lbs.
Years kiting: 2
Favorite Spots: The Slick in Cape Hatteras and the Sand Bar in Hood River
Favorite Conditions: SW at 18-22, it’s the perfect wind consistency and speed
Favorite Moves: Unhooked Raley
Sponsors: Mystic and Second Wind Sports

When Claire discovered kiteboarding, she moved halfway across the country to persue the life of a pro kiter. Photo Judith Schulz

GEAR SET-UP

Boards: LF Recoil 127 and a 134 custom hot pink wakestyle board made just for me
Bindings: Ronix Frank
Kites: Liquid Force, The Rev, and anything I can get my hands on!
Lines: Standard
Harness: Mystic Warrior II

TIPS

*Keep your kite low and make sure to edge really hard before you pop.
*If you are learning to unhook just practice unhooking and hooking back in while riding normally. This will help you get used to it.

Originally from a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan, when Claire first saw kiteboarding she decided that was what she wanted to do more than anything. She saved up all her money for more than a year and took a lesson at REAL kiteboarding and then decided to never leave. After spending two seasons in Hatteras, Claire recently moved to Hood River to work for Second Wind Sports.

When, where, and why did you start kiteboarding?
I started kiteboarding in March of 2008 after a long year of waiting for lessons. I took the Zero-2-Hero camp at REAL Watersports and never left! I had always dabbled in every board sport but never was able to focus on one.

I have always been a lover of the water and I was hooked from the first moment.

What was it about kiteboarding that made you pick up and move halfway across the country to do it?
I decided that if I was going to try and kiteboard for a living I might as well be somewhere I could do it almost everyday. I knew that Hatteras was a hot spot for kiting so I did my research and was on my way.

Have any other sports or disciplines helped influence your kiteboarding?
I love snowboarding; I do that in the winters while I’m at school and just focus on hitting rails and boxes so I can be better at that when I hit the water. I also wakeboard and skateboard on no-wind days.

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What standout features do you most appreciate about your current gear?
I love the comfort of both my Mystic harness and my Ronix Frank bindings. The bindings are super light so I can do all of my tricks a lot easier.

What do you do off the water to help you on the water?
I try and stay in shape! I work out every day and this helps me be able to stay on the water longer and keeps the stamina up. It’s good to be in shape when you’re an athlete.

What trick or style are you currently working on and what is the challenge?
Right now I am working on the raley to blind , unhooked front rolls, and always working on hitting sliders. I’m close with the raley to blind. Hopefully I’ll have it down by the time people are reading this.

What is your favorite style of riding and why?
I love wakestyle. I love the feeling of unhooking, and doing powerful raley’s with the kite low. Wakestyle is helping to make kiteboarding more appealing to the masses.

Like many have said before me, kiteboarding is like the rollerblading of the ocean, and we’re trying to change that.

You were named KiteScoop.com’s favorite kite girl. What do you think about the Scoop?
I love the Scoop! Those guys are crazy. I think it’s great what they are doing. People share their opinions and rant and rave. You name it, they do it. They also launched an updated version which has more kite news, videos, interviews, and pictures.

They are called the Scoop Troops because they are the ones really pushing wakestyle.

Do you think the direction that the Scoop is pushing the sport is the direction kiteboarding needs to go?
I think it is already catching on. More and more people are riding boots and keeping their kites lower. I’m not saying that everyone should ride wakestyle, because that’s not everyone’s thing, but if we are trying to appeal to more people we should try and seem more legit like wakeboarding and surfing.

Right now those people aren’t too convinced that kiteboarding is cool. They should be, because it is!

Claire was named kitescoop.com's favorite kite girl. Photo John Bilderback

Why do you think there is so much arguing and bitterness between the different aspects of kiteboarding? Can’t we all just get along?
I’m not too sure why there is so much arguing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I think the bitterness comes from the people trying to push the sport to new limits.

They are getting upset with the people who are holding it back. This should be about evolution of the sport. How can we make it grow and change for the better?

What was your scariest kiteboarding experience?
A few times when I began kiteboarding I would go out in any wind condition without understanding the wind patterns and a lot of times the wind would die. My friends would say don’t go out further than you want to swim back in, but I didn’t quite listen.

I would be stranded so far out in the Pamlico Sound or the ocean, try and self rescue, tangle my lines, and probably cried because I was afraid of sharks. OK, I did cry.

What is your most memorable kiteboarding experience?
When Lulu Vroman and Trevor Murchie taught me how to hit sliders! Lulu is my hero. She kills it on sliders.

What are your must-haves that you can’t live without?
Ipod! I cannot live without music. On the water or on the plane, it’s essential. Also a hair tie because my hair is wild and out of control and chapstick is a must!

Any words of wisdom you want to share with our readers?
Never give up. There will always be people who won’t believe in you and try and bring you down. Don’t let them!

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