WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG?
By Marina Chang, Publisher The Kiteboarder | Photos Charles Ash/goprovideo
You don’t have to be kiteboarding for very long to hear about the epic conditions that Cape Hatteras in North Carolina offers. I’m not sure why it took me 10 years to make the trip there but when I finally did this past Memorial Day weekend to help coordinate the first Annual Cape Hatteras KiteXpo Demo event with Kitty Hawk Kites, I kicked myself for not experiencing this kiteboarding mecca sooner.
From flat water to waves with miles of riding in the sound or ocean, as long as the wind is blowing, there is always some place to ride in the Outer Banks.
After a 2.5 hour drive from the Norfolk, VA, airport, emcee Kevin Murray and I arrived at Kitty Hawk Kites and Waves Village a few days early to get ready for the event. I had made a trip to the area three months previously as I just didn’t get how we were going to pull the event off with what I perceived as their challenging launch area.
Although I’ve ridden at places with limited launch/land space, I’m mostly used to wide sandy beaches, especially for events like what we have at the Pismo Beach and La Ventana Classic KiteXpos. After seeing the facility and KHK Kiteboarding center manager Chris Moore’s explanation of how things worked, I felt fairly confident that the Expo concept would be fine at this location, even though I hadn’t seen the launch/land area in action.
Kevin and I woke up enveloped in complete luxury in our soundfront condo at Waves Village complete with a dream kitchen, multi-media ready living room, and private hot tub on our deck. The wind was blowing at 6:30 am when we got up and was still going when we went to bed around 10 pm. We saw firsthand how the launch/land area worked and any concerns we had were immediately erased.
I also got to see and experience for the first time what it’s like to ride in flat water that is ankle to knee deep. As a former partner at Kitexcite in Cabarete for three years, I was never sold on the concept that these type of conditions were truly ideal for beginners to learn in.
My thought was that it would be that much harder for newbies to dial in their skills once they returned to their home turf where conditions are typically not so easy. I was dead wrong. With no shorebreak to deal with and the ability to ride in any wind direction along with miles of open water, these conditions are both ideal for beginner to advanced kiters alike to dial in their skills or try new moves.
Over the next few days of the Hatteras KiteXpo, Kevin and I met many amazing kiters who came from all over to check out the new gear and take part in the three-day event. Two lucky beginners won a 2010 Best Nemesis and 2011 RRD Vision. One beginner and one intermediate kiter won a 2011 Ocean Rodeo board of their choice and a new 2011 Star Kites Edge board. Another lucky advanced kiter won the Flysurfer water relaunchable/auto relaunch Viron, perfect for practicing new moves or showing friends what the power of a kite feels like.
One of the most ironic things that struck Kevin and I on our trip to the island was that we never saw the beach from the road! Although Cape Hatteras is only a few miles across, it is flat, flat, flat, and multi-level houses on stilts line the oceanfront blocking the view.
This was something new to us Californians as we are used to mountains, hills, and cliffs and being able to check out the wind and swell conditions as we drive looking for wind. We never got to ride the ocean side either which is something we both definitely want to experience along with downwinders in the sound, especially after viewing some of Dimitri’s (Epic Kites) latest videos on his home turf. I encourage you to experience Cape Hatteras and all that is has to offer for yourself sooner than later. Don’t wait 10 years like me!
Thanks to Kitty Hawk Kites, Waves Village, and Charles Ash for partnering with The Kiteboarder and bringing KiteXpo to the East Coast. Special thanks to Handlepass Event sponsors Cabrinha, RRD, Mystic, Underground, Pure Kiteboarding, Spleen, and Flysurfer for their support along with F-One, Best, Epic, Ocean Rodeo, SU-2 Boards, Kitty Hawk Surf Co., Star Kites, HQ Kites, Hatteras Realty, and Outer Banks Realty for their participation.