Archive for the ‘Steve Negen’ Category

Riding the Great Lakes in Spring and Fall: Cold Water Awareness

Demo of a drysuit for kiteboarding

Behold the warm spring air. Beware the cold water. Riders literally start hitting the water as soon as the ice is gone on Lake Michigan so it is a good time to remember, or learn, some basic cold water tips. Situational awareness is especially important in the spring when you may find yourself encouraged by the warm air and sight of other riders on the water. Ask yourself three questions. What is my level of conditioning? What is my ability level? Do I have the right gear? The first few rides of the season can really take a toll on your body; you will tire quicker, and may need a bit to get your muscle memory back. Additionally, if you are learning you are going to be down in the water a lot more. Lastly, be sure you have done all you can to make sure your gear is in good working order and condition.When considering cold water kiteboarding gear, your wetsuit or drysuit
is critical.


Some days you just get lucky. I turned 51 in January in Michigan. Generally it’s snow kite season, but I got a super nice kiteboarding session in Lake Michigan. Happy Birthday to me! The boys sold my Cabrinha Xcaliber from underneath me (pretty typical) so I had to rebuild a new board to ride. The new Best Kiteboarding Spark Plug kiteboard had rolled in a week early and I kept thinking how much I liked the look and the lines of that board. I put together a 142 which is a pretty good size for me at 200lbs. I have to confess, I did install my North Entity straps instead of the Best kiteboarding straps. Chasing a board in 40 degree water is cold and I know I am really locked in with the Entity when I wear my booties. I was reasonably powered on a 14 meter Cabrinha Switchblade with 3-4 waves on the outside. The Spark Plug is super lively, very easy to get on a line and keep running. The concave bottom kept the board smooth through the choppy areas. I didn’t jump much, (cold water, brrr…) but on the few I did land, the board had a nice soft landing and rode away smooth. The fins seemed a bit large when I installed them, but I like the amount of bite they provided for the riding I did. Not sure if they would have been too bitey if I were landing powered up. All in all this is the best kiteboard for the money I have ridden. Great shape, exceptional look, and a solid ride all for under $500. Nice job, Best Kiteboarding!

Reviewer: Steve Negen
MACkite Rider
200lbs, intermediate.

Ready to road tripI have been fortunate to travel with some real pros over the years. Thank you Brad and Skip for all the help. So the first thing I would recommend if you are heading out for a road trip would be to find a couple of veterans – they really will teach you so much and save your butt a few times too. Of course, always check your fins if they build your board. This article will focus on a kitesurfing “road trip”, literally one in which you drive, not fly.

Budget – oh yes, you have to pay for this trip.

At, we go on a big road trip with customers every spring to¬†Kiteboard the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our trip is a designed to be a bit higher end so that each individual or couple has their own room and our house isn’t too full. A full week with accommodations might be $1,000-$1,500 per person (excluding transportation). The first kiteboarding trip we went on 10 years ago was a super budget trip. Vans packed with gear and people, a house with every couch full, and lots of cheap beer. I think I spent about $600 for the week. Count your pennies and decide how much you want to spend before you do anything else.


2013 Cabrinha Switchblade kiteYou were at the beach and this kiteboarder came riding by, floating on the water like magic. Then–pow!–he was 20 feet in the air flying through the sky. The kiteboarding bug bit you. “I have to go learn how to kiteboard!” you say to yourself.

This article will focus on a new rider looking for the proper kiteboarding kite for their first couple of years of riding. After you are an established rider, you will understand what style you are looking for and be able to pick a kite designed for your riding style whether that is waves, wake, free ride or freestyle.

MACkiteboarding first started teaching kiteboarding in 2000. Our first kiteboarding instructor, James Otis, actually went to the Wipika school (you have to look that up in ancient history books). So we have seen the incredible progress of gear, giving almost anyone who wants to learn to kiteboard the proper equipment to do so. Our take on buying gear is to get you, the new rider, successfully riding in as short a period as possible.


Are we lucky or what? Talk to the old windsurf guys and hear the stories of standing on the beach for 8 hours hoping for a white cap.

Well, those days are gone. Now you just need a good internet connection and a little time to find some great sites, and you can score a great kitesurfing session about 80-90% of the time. Throughout this article are some great links to help you to dial in your sessions without driving so far. Of course, some of us are spoiled and can drive by the beach to check the wind. Right now as I type this, it’s blowing about 4-6 out of the southwest. Since I know the forecast and the local secrets, I am not planning on riding today. Maybe I will go paddleboarding with my son.

4 Areas of Coverage:

Local Knowledge, Forecasting Sites, Live Wind and Webcam Sites, Water Temperature Sites.

Local Knowledge

This can be one of the most important things to know in scoring kiteboarding sessions. The best way to get local knowledge is to take the locals out to a nice steak dinner with some good beer. Of course, hanging out at the beach, bringing some pizza and being polite also works well to learn those local wind secrets.