At the moment I am in Tarifa and I can tell you without a doubt that the kiteboarding scene here is huge. I mean like 1000% bigger than any scene in the U.S.A. It seems like there are hundreds of shops here selling kite gear and the Tarifa party element attracts the type of folks we tend to aspire to.
There’s a real loose attitude here and everyone kites together like clowns in a VW. It’s awesome everywhere you look. New kite shops are popping up like Starbucks. Now I’m not sure the sport looks cool enough in the U.S. Someone asked me what advice I’d give an aspiring pro rider, so I came up with a list:
- Don’t talk about kite tech at the nightclub.
- Don’t complain about anything even if you’re totally right. People will notice and respect it. Life isn’t fair from day one and you are like a red headed circus midget compared to the real issue which is selling cloth and foam.
- Learn the tricks of how to travel. Invest in good looking travel clothes, techy electronics, and make sure you have a good look at anything put in front of you to sign.
- Commit to tricks like you’re robbing a bank. If you get caught in the middle, go out like Scarface. Do not hesitate. Not with the handle pass or the girl at the bar who keeps looking at you.
- If you get to a point where you’ve slapped your nuts on the water one too many times grab your surfboard and learn something new so you keep the stoke. Incidentally, the Europeans are way behind the U.S. in strapless riding. Go Jason Stone!
- Think before you speak, eat before you drink, always have an exit, don’t eat the yellow snow, and learn things that can save your life.
- Pay for your magazines and videos and always bring enough stuff for your friends too. Share whatever you have.
- If you’re invited to a Red Bull party try not to lose your mind, or at lease wait until all hell breaks loose to get crazy.
- Only drink Red Bull at 33° F.
- Rig your lines downwind, always deflate your kite, and don’t sell your used gear with a sponsor’s logo still on the thing.
- Lick your pump nozzle, it will save your valves.
- Slow down to speed up and remember everybody is watching.
- Get a girlfriend or boyfriend who already kites.
- Have a credit card and health insurance.
- Visit Maui at least once in your life as well as Leucate, Tarifa, etc. Hell, visit all the spots.
- Find your own shaper if you don’t shape and remember those guys are really into it so don’t mention numbers or what you think works. If you have to advise your shaper you are paying too much.
- Smile when you ride. It’s impossible to be angry if you smile, scientifically.
- Learn to type fast.
- Answer all your emails.
- Don’t wear rings unless they are designed to work with your bar.
- Remember that once you get off the beach you are truly free, but on the beach anybody can approach you.
Have fun and stay safe out there! Aloha!