Harness the Power of the Wind Through Kiteboarding

Mar 23, 2018

If you’re interested in a water sport than can give you a powerful adrenaline rush and make you feel like you’re living on the edge, you might want to take up kiteboarding. It is an action sport combining aspects of numerous other sports, such as wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and sailing. A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large, controllable power kite to be propelled across the water, land or snow.

On water, a kiteboard, similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard with or without footstraps or bindings, is used. Kitesurfing is a style of kiteboarding specific to wave riding, which uses standard surfboards or boards shaped specifically for the purpose. On land, a mountain board or foot-steered buggy is used, while skis or snowboards can be used in snow.

There are also different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle, freeride, speed, course racing, wakestyle, big air, park and surfing.

“There are so many possibilities,” said Vadim Polonsky, owner of Green Hat Kiteboarding in Forked River. “In some surfing spots, surfers will use kiteboarding to help them get out to catch the waves. Skiers will kiteboard to go up to the top of the mountain instead of using a ski lift.”

While Forked River is Green Hat’s home base, much of the work takes place at Baker’s Marina in Waretown, where over the summer the company offers kiteboarding lessons.

“We had between 200 and 300 customers,” said Polonsky. “Once you learn the basics, there are so many different aspects of the sport. It definitely appeals to the more adventurous.”

Polonsky learned how to kiteboard in 2002, and founded Green Hat three years later.

“I was one of the first kiteboarders in this area,” he said.

Next month, kiteboarding will take center stage when Green Hat will host KiteFest 2018 on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29. The event will be at two Monmouth County locations: Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club in Atlantic Highlands, and Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright.

Kiteboarding has become a huge part of the business at Island Surf and Sail, located in Brant Beach.  Today, the business is one of the largest kiteboard dealers on the East Coast. The store has kites and kiteboards, along with numerous accessories such as pumps, harnesses, bars and lines and bindings.

It also offers lessons, using premier equipment from North Kiteboarding, Cabrinha Kites, SlingShot Sports, Body Glove Impact Vests, Dakine Harnesses & Jetski Assist to get you back upwind. All lessons are taught by CPR certified instructors. If you don’t need help and already have a handle on kiteboarding, you can also rent boards (no kites) and gear at Island Surf & Sail.

Where are the top 10 kiteboard locations in the world? Two of them are in the United States: Maui, Hawaii, and Jupiter, Fla. The best place? Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands. The wind tends to be steady and warm, and the protected bays situated all over the islands offer lots of room for experienced riders to cruise around and for beginners to build their skills.

For more information, call Polonsky at 646-388-1481 or call Island Surf at 609-494-5553.

— Eric Englund

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