Years Kiting: 8
Favorite Spots: Sherman Island, Camas Prairie, Ocean Beach
Sponsors: Live2kite, RRD, Mystic, Decosse Customs, Zeal Optics
Boards: RRD Poison 133
Kites: RRD Obsessions
Harness: Mystic Warrior
- Being safe is priceless. You should be able to trust your gear and look out for others out on the water.
- Master your current tricks before trying the next thing. This gives you a solid base and makes you more confident to try something new. It also helps define your style.
- Don’t forget that at the end of the day kiting is something that should make you happy. Try to be an ambassador and not just a user. Getting other people stoked might be more rewarding than landing a new trick.
One of the fixtures at Sherman Island, Slawek “Suave” Krauze is usually the easiest guy to pick out on the water due to the fact that he always seems to be able to find the brightest colored gear to ride. He’s also one of the friendliest guys on the island and has done more than his share of the work keeping the place going.
How did you get your nickname?
I used to kite buggy a lot on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. After landing a kiteloop in the buggy one of my friends told me, “from now on we will call you Suave.” It was probably easier for him to pronounce too.
Where did you first see kiteboarding?
I was introduced to power kiting in 2003 at the Berkeley Kite Festival. Soon after, I found myself doing 40 mph on rollerblades behind a 3m kite.
The next day I ordered my first kite and I’ve been hooked since then. I spent the first three years land kiting and then I started snowkiting. My first season in the water was in 2008.
What’s unique about the kiteboarding crowd at Sherman Island?
One weekend I pulled into Sherman and it just blew my mind. It reminded me of when I was windsurfing as a kid in Poland. Soon after I had more friends than I could ever imagine and decided to move in full time for the summer.
Sherman is a very special place not only because of the unique smooth warm thermal winds but also because of the people that keep the island vibe super chill. In a way we are all one big family of kiters there.
I was fortunate enough to make friends with the coolest people that were there for a long time before my arrival like Maui Mike, Nat, Chris; the list goes on and on. It’s hard to find a place you can kite all day and then hang out afterwards with your friends, camp, and do it all over again the next day.
What are some of the problems at Sherman?
We have quite a big crowd of people there every weekend during the summer and it can get a little dangerous with 40+ kites in the small launch area.
The launch is not big enough to fit everyone at once and it’s important that we all understand that putting our toys away leaves space for others. Staying safe and being polite are key to keeping this place as cool as it is. Let’s remember that it should be a community effort rather than one man’s good will to keep everything going.
Talk a little about your involvement in the snowkiting scene. When can we expect to see your snowkiting film?
A few months a year I ride with the some of the best snowkiters in the US. Snowkiting is just as addictive as riding on the water. It’s like riding frozen powder waves and hitting a park at the same time. Every year we go to a few events where we gather to compete and party.
Two years ago I started my company www.snowkitecinema.com and I’ve been working on my upcoming snowkite film Widerland that will be available this winter.
What’s your ideal day on the water like?
18-23 mph with my 9m Obsession, a strong ebb tide, and a few friends does the trick.