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Erin Swain: My Session with Dimitri Maramenides

Erin Swain has been writing about her experiences learning to snowkite and is now transitioning to the water. We will continue to bring you updates from Erin about her experiences throughout the season. You can follow Erin’s blog at http://www.thekiteboarder.com/tag/erin-swain/

It’s a pretty cool experience when you live on the Outer Banks and get to watch Dimitri Miramenides kite on his home turf.  As Scott and I arrived to JR, it was blowing almost 20 knots!  YEY! 7M time!  While I was pumping my kite, Dimitri shows up and is pumping right next to me.  Scott says, “There’s Dimitri sneaking in.  He’ll be up and riding before you even have your lines on.”  He was right.  I had just run my lines out and was attaching the first one when Dimitri yells ‘Can I get a launch?”

I launched him, and thought, wow, I am so lucky to live here and get to watch one of the best guys in this sport kite right here.  He is incredible.  He is so fun to watch, I had to get my phone out and try and get pics of his huge airs before I even finished setting up my gear.  He will bust maneuvers you only see in videos!  He finished some killer tricks, then he came closer to shore and said ‘Erin, come try this kite!’

With slight apprehension I went over to Dimitri and said ‘you know I am just a beginner, right?’ He assured me it would be fine.  He had a 10M screamer with a much smaller board than I had ever been on.  Scott was running back to the parking lot to get another kite, so I couldn’t ask if this was too big for me.  Before I knew it, Dimitri had me clipped in and was showing me the depower straps.  I depowered all the way and was still powered up.

I dove the kite the smallest dive and was up and riding instantly.  I was overpowered for sure, but I wasn’t scared.  It was actually really fun!  I had never gone that fast before.  I was cruising so fast, and I actually found proper body position with my hips out and was able to edge the board better than ever.  I  went to tack back to shore and did ok.  I think I caught my heel edge and took a crash, but managed to recover quickly and get the board back on with no struggle. The Screamer was a super fun kite, and its amazing how much better I was doing with newer EPIC gear.

As I looked near the shore, I saw these three guys with a trainer kite taking up a huge water area right where I wanted to head back to.  This was not good.  I tacked back out hoping to try and avoid these guys on the next tack.  No luck.  I got closer to shore and saw Dimitri running down the beach.  He took the kite from me so I didn’t hae to walk upwind  and told me that someone was pumping up the 7M Epic Renegade for me.  How cool is that!  I feel like I have some kite caddies on the beach.  A girl could get used to that!

I jogged down the beach and  I saw my friend Billy.  He was stoked to see me on Dimitri’s 10M.  He said I did really good, and I was super excited because of how fun those tacks were.  I got over to Scott who told me he’d launch me on the 7M Epic he had ready to go.  I really liked the bar system.  Even though I had just tried it, it was cool to check out the equipment before I launched.

I got the 7M Renegade up and really liked the way it felt.  I was still powered pretty good and was up and riding on my board this time.  I wasn’t holding my edge very well and felt like I was skimming across the water in stead of establishing my edge. I have felt this before, but usually on a downwinder so I didn’t have to worry about staying upwind.

I still had trouble staying upwind, but wow…what a difference newer, better kites and a board make!  Dimitri was great at giving me advice too.  He told me I definitely had a board that was too big for me.  I noticed how much easier it was to hold my edge in the water on the smaller board, so I am definitely going to make the switch.  I’ll let ya’ll know how that goes…

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