Kinsley testing a board at the 2010 Pismo Beach KiteXpo. Photo courtesy Epic Kites/Dimitri Maramenides

Support Website Set Up for Local Extreme Sportsman Involved in Kiteboarding Incident

On Thursday, July 15, 2010, Kinsley ThomasWong of Xtreme Big Air in San Luis Obispo County, CA, was enjoying one of his favorite sports, kiteboarding. A wind gust carried him out of the water and onto some nearby rocks where he suffered head and neck injuries, the most serious of which was to his 5th and 6th vertebrate. ThomasWong was airlifted to Twin Cities Community Hospital where he was stabilized, then later transferred to Sierra Vista Hospital where a team of highly regarded Neurosurgeons took over his care.  He had surgery on his neck on Saturday, July 18, 2010, where support rods were placed to strengthen his 3rd–7th vertebrate which allowed him to begin rehabilitation efforts within days of his operation.

ThomasWong has been approved to be admitted to a top Rehabilitation Facility in Santa Clara that specializes in Spine Injuries. Doctors are waiting until he is fully stabilized before transferring him to the facility. The typical length of stay at this center is 30 days. His family expects him to then return to the Central Coast to complete his rehabilitation efforts.

To be proactive on behalf of the ThomasWong family, several of his friends have taken the initiative to reach out to the local, as well as global kiteboarding and paragliding communities for help by creating a website dedicated to ThomasWong. The website will track ThomasWong’s progress, allow a central place for friends and well wishers to post their thoughts, photos, electronic greetings and stories, and give people information on how they can help financially support the couple, whose medical bills will be highly challenging.

Kip Lytel, a former student of ThomasWong’s and now an avid kiteboarder is leading the outreach effort, along with Steve Davies, ThomasWong’s best friend from college who Kinsley introduced to kiteboarding, and Marina Chang, who also started kiteboarding because of ThomasWong in 2000 and now publishes The Kiteboarder Magazine. They joined forces as they all said that Kinsley and his wife Jamie, are selfless people — givers, not takers, and would never ask for help, even if they needed it.

A mortgage broker by day when he’s not on the water, Lytel said, “So many people around the world have been graced by Kinsley’s selflessness, kiteboarding and paragliding advocacy, passion for the ocean and air, and unique jovial spirit. Kinsley has elevated so many lives, especially ours. I, and the many people he has touched, would like to give back so we created this outreach effort to help his health and recovery costs. We don’t know what they are at this time, except they will be huge and ongoing.”

For more information on ThomasWong, as well as donation information for the outreach effort, see . The three friends will keep people posted on Kinsley’s recovery progress on the Kinsley Condition Log and Blog links on the website’s menu, and have also created a new Facebook page, Friends of Kinsley ThomasWong. Those wishing to make donations through the US mail can make checks payable to Kinsley ThomasWong Donation Fund and send to:

Melinda Thomas
26 El Viento
Pismo Beach, CA  93449

About Thomas Wong:

Kinsley ThomasWong started Xtreme Big Air, an extreme sports company offering instruction and sales in paragliding in 1994. An USHGA Advanced Tandem Paragliding Instructor, he was one of the early kiteboarders in the United States and in 1999, became the first IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) Certified Kiteboarding School in the nation with an Advanced Kiteboarding Instructor rating. Before Stand Up Paddle Boarding took off, he also quickly became an expert in this sport and added this element to his business in 2009. On windless days, ThomasWong loved to teach people to surf and share his fishing techniques at his secret ‘honey hole.’

His early activism and community involvement in both paragliding and kiteboarding has been instrumental in advancing these sports.  A sponsored rider by many leading brands, ThomasWong has also been featured in numerous local and action sports publications worldwide.

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