Pretty Soon Everyone Will Be Doing It : Zeeko Spitfire Hydrofoil Review

I’ve been kitesurfing for a long time. Years before there was even water relaunchable tube kites, I was flying foil kites on land and in the snow. I remember how excited I was when I first discovered there were other people who flew kites in Ithaca one winter long ago on the ice shelf at Stewart Park. Together we worked to figure out how to ride on the lake and failed tragically to stay upwind until Wing Eng finally went out on a 4.9 non-water relaunchable Blade II buggy racing foil kite and a 6′ long piece of plywood strapped to his feet with chopped up mousepads. Oh, how the times have changed.

The Spitfire is designed for jumping and wave riding, but the best part about it is the way it feels to ride. Not me, this guy uses straps.

After thousands of hours riding over almost 2 decades the sport was starting to lose interest for me. At 44 I had reached the peak of what I was able to do without seriously injuring myself. I tried lots of harder powered tricks, including some kite looping tricks and always ended up hurting myself bad enough to wonder why I was trying them. For the most part, I wanted to just get out on the water and jump 30 feet in the air and do nice slow front rolls all day long. The kites got better and better until the kites I ride today are what I really wanted to ride when I started but had not been designed yet. The Flysurfer Speed and Sonic FR kites I fly today are what I wanted to by flying back when I first started to ride. I laugh when I think about the first water relaunchable tube kite I bought, a 13.5 AR5 Naish with a wrist leash attached to a rear line and no chicken loop release. If I ever had to dump the kite, I couldn’t and it probably would have ripped my arm out of it’s socket if I did. That kite was so bad that I didn’t even sell it, I just threw it away because it was so dangerous. $2000 down the toilet. Such is life.

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Denmark’s Super Secret Kiteboarding & Cycling Utopia

Love has taken me a lot of places in this world. You could add Denmark as another country that I’ve visited for love, and then afterwards fell in love with. So often in the US I feel that my life is so good and that I am so blessed that I find it hard to imagine that things could be even better. The two weeks I spent in Denmark with Thilde made me feel even better than that, which I didn’t really think was actually possible.

Thilde and her father Lars
Thilde and her father Lars on a typical Danish street

A year ago Thilde and I committed to each other in a beautiful ceremony in the middle of Cayuga Lake with 150 other kayakers and standup paddle boarders in attendance. It was an amazing ceremony which was attended by no less than 6 Danes who crossed the pond simply to support Thilde. They were great company and seemed to laugh and smile a lot more than your standard American. I was more than a little curious to find out if Denmark really was as great as people kept making it out to be. Free universal healthcare for all, 50% of the urban population bike commutes, you get paid $1000/mth to go to college and new mothers can get 3 years of paid vacation time to take care of their babies. It sounded like a fantastic fantasyland that was too good to be true. Although I was skeptical, after spending 2 weeks there I can confirm that it is a real place and the Danes really do live that way. No wonder they are consistently polled as the happiest people on the planet although they were recently surpassed by Costa Rica probably because they have unmolested rain-forests and Denmark doesn’t. Not liking to be 2nd in anything I’m sure the Danes will buckle down and redouble their happiness efforts to beat the Costa Ricans again.

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The Ocean Doesn’t Care Whether You Live Or Die – $666 Of Destroyed Gear

As the 8′ high waves came and crashed on my head the only thing I could think was “Get back in your kayak and get out of here or you will die”. I frantically splashed around in the water while the most powerful current I had ever experienced thrashed me around uncontrollably. The boat hit me in the face giving me a black eye, I tried time and again to get myself into the swamped sea kayak and roll it up but to no avail. Eventually I gave up and grabbed my 500lb sea kayak filled with water and started swimming toward the vacant beach.

hatteras

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10 Days Of Epic Kiting In Panama Followed By $1500 Of Damage To A Helicopter

bus
Public transportation.
I spent 9 days of kiting in very good conditions for 5-7 hours a day in 2007

I got to see over 30 stingrays flying through the water while kiting
I was stung by a couple of jellyfish
The stray dogs ate through my nice tent twice to eat my food
The same dog broke into the bathhouse and ate my soap twice, yuk!
On the last day I was there I broke the rear window of a very nice $500,000 helicopter and caused over $1500 in damage

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Went To Nassau And Wanted To Kite But Mostly Flailed Around And Lost My Kiteboard

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As I got off the plane in Nassau in 2005 and was going through a motorized revolving door it abruptly came to a halt and I walked right into it. It took me a minute to realize I was bleeding all over the place from a cut on my head. This was pretty indicative of how the entire trip was going to go. John and I arrived early enough to head out on the water, the winds were marginal so I took the 17 Speed and the Flydoor. The winds were so marginal I got blown downwind for about 3 miles. There was not enough wind to jump so I just rode as best I could. John tried to go out on his 9 foil but there was not enough power to get up. At one point he crashed the kite into the middle of the road and the cars honked at him. I walked for about an hour then caught a ride back the last mile or so with a pickup truck full of construction workers. The buffet dinner at Orange Hill was spectacular even though the breakfast and lunch was pretty nominal. It was all you can eat for $20 and John and I gorged ourselves and went to bed at 7:41PM.

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Watch As This Clueless American Tries To Learn To Kite In The Dominican Republic

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How many kids does it take to carry Kyle’s kite?

The following is an account of 12 days I spent in the DR in 2004 with Kyle where I was desperately trying to learn to kite.

What day is it, I can’t remember and I don’t care. One day blurs into another. Eat, sleep, kite that has become the routine. I can’t remember why I do the eating and sleeping anymore except that I can’t kite if I don’t do the other two. I feel like I’m in a movie, beautiful women everywhere, there is sun and sand and little local DR kids that grab your kite and walk it back up the beach for you for 50 pesos. I’m making these kids downright rich as I’ve been going up and down the beach 7 times a day for about the last 12 days.

Just how much abuse can a body take anyway? Every day I look in the mirror and see a handful of new bruises. It’s so exhausting learning Kiteboarding that all I’ve done for the last 3 days is eat, sleep and board and hardly anything else. It is so brutal that I am sleeping almost 12 hours a day and often have to lay down for a nap in the middle of the day. I feel like a lame old man (no offense mom, dad and President Bush all of which love their naps). I can get up on the board consistently now and can stay up for a pretty long time, my major problems in the past have been that I have been way under-powered. I am flying the 13.5 meter kite in about 20-25 knots of wind every day and that is about the right size kite for me. For Ithaca I’m going to need a 25 meter kite I think seeing as how most of the time the winds are low there (under 10mph).

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