As Matt Sexton’s roommate at Eckerd College, Oli Berlac helped found the Collegiate Kiteboarding Association (CKA) after first trying to learn with a 12m kite and no harness. After finishing school, Oli moved to Brazil for a few years and is now the resident coach living onboard Meercat, the Zenith Ocean Voyages catamaran.
When she was just 13 she tried kiteboarding for the first time with her dad, who attached her to a rope so she wouldn’t fly away. Now Karolina is 20 and travels the globe on the PKRA circuit, finishing the 2010 season in second place in freestyle.
At the beginning of the sport I became completely absorbed in kiteboarding. I had the opportunity to be a team rider for Flexifoil and to work closely with the international team and designers. Everything just sort of evolved from there.
We normally focus on North American riders for our profiles, but I met Jannicke at a recent KB4Girls clinic hosted by Kiteopia at Sherman Island in Northern California. At just 29 years old, this native Norweigan’s vibrant spirit and passion for kiteboarding so inspired me that I felt compelled to share her story with others in hopes of motivating you to pursue your own dreams, share the stoke of kiteboarding, and explore the world.
Growing up with windsports-addicted parents, free (and sometimes mandatory) rides to the beach whenever it was windy didn’t give Sean much of a choice. It was either learn to kite or be bored to tears.
Led by Chris Tronolone, the kiteboarding movies made by Tronolone Productions have been instrumental in inspiring people to learn to kiteboard and in exposing kiteboarding to a much wider audience than would otherwise know about the sport
Mention Naish Kiteboarding and most people immediately think of Robby Naish, the man who basically put windsurfing on the map and has been killing it as a kiteboarder since the beginning of the sport. Most have never heard of Andy Church, the brawn on the business side of the company, who has been working behind the scenes at Naish for years.
Slingshot was one of the first companies who was strictly a kiteboarding company in an emerging market of manufacturers who produced both windsurfing and kiteboarding gear. Their cool graphics and unique approach turned heads quickly.
Best Kiteboarding is one of the most controversial brands in the history of our sport. In their first year of business, they were blackballed from certain magazines, banned from a demo testing event and often criticized for their aggressive marketing strategies. Under mountains of opposition, Best has matured into a major player in our sport.
Like many kiteboarders out there, Bill Tai is passionate about the sport. He is just like the rest of us addicts, every possible opportunity and talking the sport enough that some know him the “Kite Guy” in Silicon Valley, but what seperates Bill from most of the rest of us kite bums is what he does for a living.
When I learned to kiteboard, my first board was a 171 cm Liquid Force Picklefork. It was big, heavy, and had four sharp corners that were always trying to murder you. I thought it was the coolest piece of equipment ever. We all laugh at the Pickleforks now, but the design helped kiteboarders shift from directional to twin tip boards.