Eastern Courier : January 10th 2014
6 EASTERN COURIER, JANUARY 10, 2014 NEWS www.easterncourier.co.nz Up, up and away Summer ready: Reporter Sarah Argyle gears up to get down to business and try her hand at kite-boarding under the watchful eye of Steve Hooper. Gracefully gliding: Left, Steve glides through the water at Mission Bay making kiteboarding look almost effortless. Reporter Sarah Argyle steps out of her comfort zone I rocked up to the West Tamaki estuary and immediately thought: ‘‘What have I got myself into?’’ The sky was grey, the water a murky uninviting brown and the wind looked chilling and powerful. Such a shame it was vital to my chosen new sport – kiteboarding. I’ve always been someone who likes to think I’m spontaneous and at ease with getting out of my comfort zone. But in reality, when push comes to shove, I’m a nervous wreck. Kite-boarding or kitesurfing is defined as an extreme surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics. All sports I have never attempted so it might come as a surprise I put my hand up to give kiteboarding a go. My instructor was an expert on all things kiteboarding and stand-up paddling – Steve Hooper director of RIPD, a name that to him encapsulates fitness by way of lifestyle. I’m sure he thought ‘‘who is this princess’’ when I arrived in a beach dress but he never passed any comment or made me feel like nailing kite-boarding was out of my reach. I was armed with confi- dence following his reassurance that one of the biggest myths about kite-boarding is that girls can’t do it. First we went through basic safety procedures before getting into the mechanics of how it all works – most of which went way over my head because I was itching to get into the water and fly the kite. After assembling all the gear it was time to step into a wetsuit (or two – it was cold), a harness and some of those shoes that separate the toes – the ones I vowed to Life savers: Despite the fact that I always vowed I would never, ever be seen dead in any kind of footwear that separates the toes, I was stoked to be wearing these odd shoes as we waded through sludge and goodness knows what other sea creatures. never wear. We hit the water with Steve explaining what we were doing and why every step of the way. After wading through some sludge in the estuary, we launched the kite. Steve was attached to it to begin with and then he unclipped himself. Immediately I was blown away, in all senses of the word, by the sheer power that piece of fabric in the sky had. I had no choice but to quickly and without complaint become accustomed to face-planting – something I tried to do as gracefully as possible. I was amazed at how much co-ordination it takes to keep the kite in the sky and how quickly things can change. One moment you’re happily flying it and almost getting confident but then suddenly Photo: SARAH ARGYLE Encouraging instructor: Steve Hooper from RIPD was an expert on all things kite-boarding and never mademefeel like nailing the sport was out ofmyreach. a gust of wind hits and you are hurtling through the water on all fours. Admittedly a few times I just sat down in the water. But my patient and everencouraging instructor assured me that I was not the most-unco-ordinated person he had taught. We ended up being out on the water for well over three hours. Steve says we will take it to the next level in my next lesson and add a board into the mix. I have no idea how this will pan out. Kite-boarding looks deceptively easy. But I’m glad I gave it a go, even if I was overjoyed when it came time to swap the toe shoes for my wedges again. ❚ Call Steve 022 2444 456, email email@example.com or visit ripd.co.nz for information. Waverider: Polina Belykh rides the waves. Photo: SARAH ARGYLE Show-off: Instructor Steve Hooper shows how it’s done.
January 8th 2014
January 15th 2014