“This is the worst kiting in the world, but welcome nonetheless.”

This was the greeting Blake Olsen received from the first kiter he met in his new home of New Orleans. Having recently explored the far reaches of the kiteboarding world in the Philippines, Thailand, Qatar and Oman, the local beaches of Louisiana’s largest city, although not as exotic as his previous excursions, presented just another adventure, an unknown series of spots to discover and explore. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and although he was more excited for the kiting opportunities than for the acclaimed nightlife of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Blake couldn’t shake the stranger’s honest yet disgruntled resignation; it wasn’t exactly the welcome wagon he was expecting.

Blake got his start in high school when he taught himself how to kite in secrecy, pushing past his windsurfing parents’ initial reluctance. Having worked as an instructor in a number of outfits, he landed a gig as Mac Kiteboarding’s roving ambassador, traveling around the world, filming instructional trick tips and publishing kiteboarding blogs, with the occasional odd job thrown in to pad his international travel budget. Blake’s girlfriend, Hilary Huffman, grew up in New Orleans, so when they recently moved back to establish home base in the Big Easy, it was a far cry from the kiteboarding paradise of Key West where they’d first met and he’d taught her how to kite.