For most of my life, I have been obsessed with two things: going fast using any natural force possible (i.e. the wind and gravity) and sliding across any form of dihydrogen monoxide (aka water) I can find...whether in liquid form or not.
Growing up in a small town in southern Ontario (Canada REPRESENT!!), I entertained myself by sailing on a nearby lake in the summer months, and ski racing in the winter months at the local mountain (okay fine, 300-ft high hill). While sailing was an incredible summer activity, my true passion was skiing, where I could fly down a hill and trim off every hundredth of a second I could while competing. The combination of wind in my face and pure concentration trying to go as fast as possible was simply exhilarating!
This need for speed led me from sailing to my current favourite sport... kiteboarding! I remember being a kid at a sailing race on Lake Ontario when I first saw these crazy guys getting pulled around by kites, absolutely soaring past my boat. The thought of using wind to achieve that kind of speed blew my mind. While I’ll always love sailing, I would trade in a $15,000 boat any day for a $2,000 kite set-up, for reasons far beyond the dollar figures.
Over the past three years, the sport of kiteboarding has combined my passions of both going fast and being on the water. While initially intrigued by the speed and potential of racing, I have since become fascinated by the ability to launch off the water, hang in the air for a little while, maybe do a spin or two, and then return, sometimes gracefully, to my favourite surface.
Beyond the time spent on the water, I have found tremendous camaraderie and inspiration among the kiteboarding community. Returning to the beach at the end of a day to talk with others who share the same passion…well that is truly what validates it all!!
As for my future with this sport, I hope to never give it up (one of the locals at my beach is 75 years old, and launches higher than anyone else!). I will continue to push myself each and every day, Given’r to my fullest potential. My skiing idol Shane McConkey once said, “There’s nothing better than sliding down snow and flying through the air.” I would expand that to say, “There’s nothing better than sliding across any form of H2O, and flying through the air!”