If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I have a passion for throwing myself into extremely expensive sports that require years of practice, tons of gear and very specific geographical conditions to master.
So, imagine my excitement when I discovered that just down the road from where we were in Luperon was one of the world’s Top 10 Kiteboarding (aka Kitesurfing) Spots.
You see, not only is Cabarete home to the most famous kiteboarding beach in the whole of the Caribbean, but it also hosts the World Kiteboarding Championships each year in June. So if there’s anywhere in the Dominican Republic to learn kiteboarding, Cabarete is the place.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t I a little old to start taking up new and complicated sports like kiteboarding? Maybe. But, hell, I figured the last five years have seen me learning to sail, slamming myself into slalom gates on skis, driving my butt into the ice learning to snowboard, swallowing oceans trying to surf, and breaking my collarbones playing roller derby. Why not kiteboarding? It seemed exactly like the kind of sport I could spend an obscene amount of time, energy and money on. So, I was in!
And after a week of hanging out in Wendy’s Bar in Luperon, Ryan, our friend Morgan, and I decided it was time for a change of scenery and a little adrenalin fix. So, we hopped in a taxi to Cabarete and booked ourselves a cheap hotel room overlooking Kite Beach, along with two days of kiteboarding lessons at Kitexcite.
And since there wasn’t much difference in price between group and individual lessons, Ryan and I decided to book our own private instructors so we could accelerate the learning process and hopefully be up and running in the water as soon as possible. After all, we’d had a heads up from Morgan, who was an experienced kiteboarder, that the first day of lessons is mostly spent on land just learning how to control your kite. The second day involves learning to drag your body through the water using your kite. And the third day is when you finally start to get up on your board in the water. So, like snowboarding, you really need a minimum of three days of lessons to get a real feel for the sport.
And, sure enough, the three-day minimum was no lie. I’d hoped I would be up on my board and cruising through the waves like a born surfer chick by the end of Day 2. But it seemed the only thing I was really good at by the end of Day 2 was launching myself into the air while shrieking, then promptly throwing myself head first into the water while my instructor laughed and said clever things like, “You see? You didn’t turn your body enough.” Or “Remember, do a figure eight with your kite, balance your board, then turn. But don’t forget to let go a little, and keep the kite at two o’clock…”
Right. I’d enthusiastically nod my head “yes,” then promptly forget what to do with my feet, hands and shoulders as soon as I was launched into the air by a kite that had a nasty habit of dive-bombing any time I took my eyes off it.
So, it would appear, from our Day 2 performance, that Ryan and I really did need that third day of lessons. Except when we woke up in the morning on Day 3, there was no wind. Nada. Which meant we’d have to postpone Day 3’s lesson in “How to launch yourself in the air with a board on your feet while turning your body, controlling the kite and staying upright when your brain is screaming, holy shit this is crazy!!!”
That lesson would have to wait for another day when we could get ourselves back to Cabarete to continue our adventures in kiteboarding with our amazing instructors from Kitexcite.
So, stay tuned for more lessons from Turf to Surf on How to drag yourself uncontrollably across the ocean while inhaling enough salt water to fill a fish tank…