Competitive Kiteboarding in Cabarete
I’ve been in Cabarete for a year and a half. Before I moved to the Dominican Republic, I had never heard of kiteboarding. The moment I saw it, I knew I would want to learn. I also knew that once I learned, I would want to be really good at it. I’m like that. My competitive nature (some call it ego) doesn’t let me be just ok at anything.
That being said, I swore I would never compete. First of all, I’m too old to just be hopping into a sport and competing (36 years old), especially one as extreme as kiting. It’s not like playing bingo, you see. It’s more like strap your waist to a 9meter kite and get ready to fly (literally) in winds that some would consider storm strength (20 knots). Secondly, my past life in the auto racing industry taught me that it is easy to ruin a hobby if you start taking it too seriously. Been there, done that.
In order to feed my competitive spirit/ego, I find myself secretly pitting myself against some of the local kiter chicks and have a daily competition with them in my own head. I know how long all of them have been kiting, I know all of their tricks—and I watch to see how often they actually land them. I calculate how much time I have been kiting, then I think about the tricks I know—how often I actually land them—and I compare statistics to theirs. Crazy, I know!
Anyhow, despite my efforts to control the beast within me, I have somehow agreed to enter my first competition this weekend in Puerto Plata. One of my secret rivalries asked if I would please enter (I think she must have spotted my weakness), and I found that I couldn’t turn down her “challenge.” Of course she didn’t really challenge me, rather just asked nicely. BUT, I can’t just NOT enter now that she has straight up asked me. That would make me look like a punk—and I ain’t no friggin’ punk.
Which brings us to the best part. I only know 2 tricks. Let me spell that out for you so you understand the gravity of the situation—TWO TRICKS. Those 2 tricks consist of a backroll and, you guessed it, a front roll. Don’t get me wrong; some of my rolls are pretty baller and on occasion I can pull off a cute little board grab in the process. Then again, a lot of them end in some sort of accidental kiteloop onto my back. Most of the local Dominican kiters would say that until I am unhooking, I don’t really know ANY tricks. You can probably guess that I choose to live by the macho Dominican standards…which means, I don’t know any tricks. The one time I tried to unhook, I “landed” my first ever unhooked railey to face-plant. I looked it up. Not a trick.
Now, here I am. Entering my first kite competition against my secret nemesis, and I don’t even know a single trick. So, wish me luck! The best thing I have going for me is I am the underdog and everyone always cheers for the underdog.
Article By Tracy Shayhorn