i’m not exactly the cool kid…

If you’re just tuning in, you should get to know me a little better before we continue, I’m not exactly destined to be a pro-kiteboarder….

So, I quickly discovered that Kiteboarders have very selective memories…despite the sand in my teeth and other places that we won’t go into detail on, I was off to complete a 2-Day Kite Camp!

By now you know the odds weren’t exactly in my favor…the Michael Phelps of Kiteboarding, I am not.

We met about 15 minutes north of the Board Sports Center at MACkite’s school location on Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, Michigan. I rolled into the camp like a boss–nothing says future-of-kiteboarding like a 1995 Ford Escort Station Wagon…(like I said, the deck isn’t exactly stacked in my favor). I am seriously lacking the cool-factor gene that every other MACkite employee seems to have been endowed with. I got my scrawny butt out of the car and prepared for the worst.

Colin was my instructor, and there was one other student in the camp with me. We started by talking about the wind window and choosing good riding conditions. I was so grateful that Colin went over these details before sending us out! Choosing the right weather conditions & learning to read the wind makes all the difference later on! My simple brain was processing things like this:

off-shore winds=bad

on-shore winds=bad

waterspouts=bad

stupid=bad

me= incompetent

My caveman like approach to learning didn’t exactly bode well for the duration of the camp, but Colin continued to beat the information into my thick skull, and we headed out to set up and rig a pair of kites!

We started by rigging a pair of 2012 Cabrinha Vectors. The winds were light, so I rigged a 12 M and Chris, the other student, rigged a 14 M. We each went through connecting out lines, running our lines, and pumping up our kites several times. My chicken-wing arms were flapping around like wet-noodles after pumping the kite up several times. It seemed repetitive and boring at the time, but knowing how to properly run my lines and set up my kite became my foundation and gave me confidence.

Chris and I had both flown trainer kites prior to the camp, so we were familiar with the wind window and how to move the kite across it. Next, Colin taught us how to launch our kites. This is a key part of kiting and one of the reasons that I love it! You need a launch buddy! Be it other riders, your friend, spouse, or significant other, you need someone to launch and land your kite! I’ve tried training Finn, but he hasn’t quite caught on yet…

My Kite-Launcher-in-Training

Kite Launching/Landing encourages community. I loved that there was some sort of need for other people and to relate! This is the same reason that I enjoy rock climbing; you need a partner. Kiting was the same way.

We continued through kite skills; looping, figure-8’s, power-strokes, and more. We practiced with the safety systems, learning to depower and flag out the kites. I was so glad that I actually go to try the safety system and learn what it would be like to release the kite. Eventually, we got up to the point of body drags…here’s where things get interesting….

Remember last week when I said something about a wet cat? Oh yeah, it was about to happen. Colin marched us down to lake with wetsuits and helmets, I looked like I was about to ride my bike without training wheels for the first time.

Brain Bucket Bree

To say the water was cold doesn’t quite cover it; It was Spring and Lake Michigan was still freezing! I launched the Vector and got into the water…OH MY GOSH.

If my body could have flipped inside out, it would have. Now, its commonly known that my thermostat is broken…my body doesn’t regulate temperature well. I may have been a touch dramatic about the water, but I couldn’t be viewed as a sally in front of the guys, so I continued on, practicing my body drags while my appendages slowly became frostbitten and fell off, floating along behind me cold.

Finally, I could’t take the cold Spring water any longer, and I handed off the kite and ran up to the MACshack for some booties! As far as I’m concerned, booties are God’s gift to the Midwest. I love them. In fact, I would actually consider wearing them around the house, in the shower, everywhere. The possibilities for booties are endless!

With booties strapped on, I proceeded down to the shoreline like I was marching to my own funeral….and into the water I went! We began to practice the body drags and I thought that I was getting the hang of it until, woosh! A gust threw me forward, water forced up my nostrils (I swear I felt it drain down my spinal cord…)!

I came up spitting and coughing, like a wet cat…really, an attractive look, I assure you. Once I had drained the water out of my skull I proceeded to do a couple really solid body drags, and when we had finished practicing we called it a day!

Although I was chilled to the bone and quite likely looked like a cat with tape on its paws, I had successfully completed my first day of Kite Camp!

Tune in this Friday for more adventures from my 2-Day Camp

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