Erin Swain has been writing about her experiences learning to kiteboard. We will continue to bring you updates from Erin about her experiences throughout the season. You can follow Erin’s blog at

Planet of the Apes…

After my day of light wind and a lesson with Kite Club Hatteras, I was able to go on a downwinder known as Planet of the Apes. I started at MP 46 and was going to the Kitty Hawk Kites location in Waves.

I was riding my Epic 9M renegade and it was blowing a solid 20 knots. I was up and riding and started really focusing on my toeside while I was tacking back and forth upwind waiting for three friends to get out in the water.  I had a very easy time hopping over to toeside but it was hard to keep the kite in the air.

I had met a kite chick on the beach earlier and she told me to turn my hips away from the kite. I tried this and was able to keep my edge in much better.  I was actually riding toeside!  I t was an amazing to do a downwinder and actually work on something as opposed to just riding downwind to get from point A to point B.

Hristo, from Kite Club Hatteras, came up next to me and explained how to park my kite on the water and let go of the bar so the kite would stay still and he could ride up to me and give me advice.  This was great. He saw I could go toeside and demonstrated how to transition turn back to heel side by letting the kite pull you around.

I started doing these transitions and it was amazing how easily I got  it.  It felt a lot like snowboarding.  It was pretty cool to have something finally CLICK with this sport.  I was going from heel side to toeside while riding and back to heel with a turn.  I was able to connect my turns and increase my riding time.

Don’t  get me wrong…I still caught plenty of edges and wiped out a ton too, but it was the most progressive session I ever had.  During the downwinder, one guy’s kite became deflated and he told me to keep going.  I figured one person would stay with him, and one would finish with me.  The sun was getting closer to the horizon and I was nervous that I wouldn’t make it to KHK before dark.

I decided my best bet would be to come in at Real Watersports.  The only issue with this is that I was on the outside of the Real slick, so I had to walk across this island and go into the slick.  There were about 10 other kites up here.  How am I going to get around all these people doing tricks???   I decided not to panic.  My first thought was to walk through with my kite at 12 o’clock to everyone would know I was a beginner.  I quickly decided not to be a total kook.

I put my board on, and cruised as quickly as I could across the slick towards the landing area.  I had never landed there, so I watched a young boy land and just did exactly what he did.  It was a successful downwinder and I was very proud of myself for deciding to land there when I did.  I got my kite wrapped up just before dark and even managed to hitch a ride back to my car from a fellow kiter.  The session was so good, I actually dreamt about it all night!

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