The Other Side

We’ve had a quiet few days here. Erin’s not feeling well, so we’ve stayed close to the apartment, swimming, reading (and knitting, though that’s just me. I did take Hank to town yesterday, and brought him home on a motoconcho – a guy on a motorbike, just for a bit of a thrill.) I took the camera down to the beach in the afternoon so that I could show you the transformation. Every day, the wind is down in the morning, and the beach belongs to walkers and swimmers, but just after noon the wind comes up, and the beach is transformed – the name "Kitebeach" makes total sense.   (Very infrequently, there is no wind – or not enough, although it always seems windy to me, and on those days the beach is full of kiteboarders lying around dejectedly – staring to the East and watching the flags.  It’s sad for them, but those days the beach is ours from morning til night.)

Kiteboarding has boards like snowboards, with straps for your feet on them. You put on a big corset that attaches to the kite, and then control the direction of the kite by pulling on a bar that has lots of strings going to the kite above.

The kites are huge, and they can lift a person way, way up in the air, especially if they get boosted by a wave.  I can tell kiteboarding isn’t for me, because this is one of the worst things I can think of.  I keep thinking I’d be in Haiti before I got down. 

They go back and forth along the waves, ripping out to sea, then turning (somehow… I think you do it the way you would tacking on a sailboat, but I’m unsure. See previous concern about ending up in Haiti.)

They do a mysterious something with the kite, launch into the air, change direction mid-air, and rip back again, repeating the maneouver.

All day the beach is full of instructors and students, newbies and experts, and if you really want to see something, look for the young Dominican guys who were practically born on boards. 

I assume I’d be killed in about 4 minutes, having apparently lingered in the fine motor control line far longer than the one that would give you the skills to do this,  but man… is it amazing to watch.
It’s like a poem. 

85 thoughts on “The Other Side

  1. That looks absolutely thrilling!! I’m with you though, I don’t think I’d last more than 4 minutes either. I bet my husband and kids would LOVE it though.

  2. I understand you’re afraid of not being able to control the kite and steer yourself back to the beach with your family on it, but aren’t you curious? I mean, to fly for just a few seconds, held up by a kite…
    C’mon, do it for those of us who will likely never get to Kite Beach!

  3. Perfectly reasonable to stay on the beach and enjoy the view! I do a number of physical activities but THIS would not be one of them. I can assure you that it’s harder than it looks…. So glad you are having fun and hopefully your sister will feel better tomorrow or sooner if possible. Thanks so much for the pictures and updates. Enjoy! The pics are great.

  4. Amazing! Makes me wish I was 25 again, and willing to try things like that. My son would love it.

  5. You’d last 3 minutes longer than I would on one of those things. Coordinated & athletic, I’m not. Looks like fun to watch, though!

  6. Thanks for blogging from your vacation. I’m getting sunshine vicariously through you, even while bracing for blizzard in Rhode Island!

  7. I would think that turning the bar wouldn’t be all that different than steering a bicycle. And we all know you can do that!
    I think you should try it. I think I would, if I were there…

  8. I think you’d do fine. Though you might be more likely to touch down in the Bermuda Triangle than Haiti to touch off even more paranoia.

  9. It looks like a blast. I, however, can neither fly nor swim, plus I’m 62 years old. I’ll watch and admire, thanks.

  10. Are you SURE you won’t try it? Hank could take pictures and we could collectively enjoy fruity rum drinks with little umbrellas in them and banana chips (instead of popcorn and wine).

  11. I’ve been interested in the Dominican Republic for a while and your beautiful pictures are really tempting me with a vacation there!

  12. Something I noticed when we first moved to California was the number of people doing kiteboarding (when the weather is nice). I’ve not gone to watch them yet because I’m scared that I, too, would wind up somewhere I didn’t really want to be.

  13. Delurking to say — gorgeous! It’s like they’re dancing on the sky. It really is beautiful to watch, but I think that, given the choice, I’d keep my feet on the ground, too.

  14. Beautiful!! I especially love how all the kites look like colorful birds from far off.

  15. There are gross motor skills and fine motor skills. I was busy knitting (fine motor skill) when they handed out the gross motor skills required for kite boarding, baseball, etc. It sounds like you took the same detour!! No worries… when you are too old for knitting you just quit but when you are too old for kite boarding you end up in hospital (learning how to knit?)

  16. I’m pretty sure that’s the same sport I see on the lake here in Kingston, ON, although right now you’d be more likely to see ice sailing. Biggest storm in five years about to hit Ontario, you’re going to miss it!

  17. Your pictures are so lovely. I think I’ve forgotten what warm sun on skin feels like. We’re about to get a huge snowstorm here in the GTA; it’s already looking blizzardy out there but it will get much worse before it’s over. You are in the right place right now. I’m not sure if I would want to try kiteboarding but since you’ve got instructors there–why not give it a whirl?

  18. So glad you are taking time to enjoy the weather and beautiful scenery. Everyone needs off time to recharge. My husband and I are at a Toronto airport hotel watching the snow swirl and blow. Enjoy your blue sky and water.

  19. Wow. Amazing. Great photos – thanks for sharing. I don’t think I’d ever try it, either – seems too close to parachuting to me! But it looks fun to watch. Glad you are enjoying your vacation, and sharing the tidbits with us as well.

  20. I undersstand, you’d be kinda like that Flying Nun of a few (!!) years back — too light to land!
    But take up a ball of yarn tied off to a palm; it’s be like Hansel & Gretel’s breadcrumbs so you’d find your way back….

  21. Where i live is a giant frozen lake (Lake Champlain for the curious) and we have people who do this all year round in Northern Vermont. Yes, you heard me right. All year round! In the winter they do actually strap a snowboard to their feet and can be seen zipping across the ice at ridiculous speeds pulled along by their kites. I imagine it’s much better to have not frozen water to land on than hard, hard ice! I’m with you. I have no desire or ability to be a kite person.

  22. What a transformation – it’s amazing none of them get tangled up in each other’s lines – but beautiful to watch.

  23. I am forever astonished by the color of the ocean in the Caribbean. I’ve seen it time and time again but I am always surprised. Looks like someone put blue food coloring in the sea!

  24. I’m glad you’re having a nice holiday in the sunny south. Everyone at home is bracing themselves for Winter Storm Nemo (since when have they been naming winter storms?). It must suck to be them. (I’ve escaped Canada to Florida for the worst of the winter).

  25. They do this in Utah only on skis and snowboards. They fly over the snow and into the air. Always at the mercy of the wind as well. I love your vacation photos. We are bracing for a storm now.

  26. I find the sight of kite-surfers mesmerizing. I watched them on the windward side of Maui and San Francisco. Theoretically, it could be fun–but not in the giant waves and winds where I watched these experts.

  27. Although all I can see is palm trees from your picture, I’m sure if I tried it, I’d find a kite-eating tree a la Charlie Brown!

  28. It’s sobering to think it’s the same island. If you have read the book, “Collapse”, the aerial view is just shocking. Good fun reading about the beach athletes.

  29. After your last tropical vacation, zip lining went on my bucket list. Did it this year on my birthday. Now Kite boarding goes on the list. Looks like so much fun!!!

  30. I am glad that your kiteboarders can tack.
    I watched some on the West Coast of Florida one year who flew north down the beach…and then had either a very loooooong walk south or, if they came in a group, rode south to start over again.

  31. I feel warmer just looking at your photos (while waiting for BLIZZARD CHARLOTTE to bury us in snow here in CT). Enjoy the the sun and sand for all of us

  32. Come on, Steph! Take one for the team… Let us live through you and go kite sailing. I bet Hank would love to go with you!

  33. As Toronto is about to be hit with 10-15cm of snow and more tomorrow, its calming to see your vacation photo’s and be transported to someplace warm. Thanks for blogging from your vacation…enjoy!

  34. My husband has kindly suggested, if you are planning to take up kiteboarding, that you tuck your passport into your bathing suit so as to prepared for whatever country you land in.

  35. I imagine this conversation has already occurred. . .
    Hank: “Wow!!! Neat!!! I wanna…”
    Erin, Steph and Grandmom: “NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!!!”

  36. Yes, I agree with your plan to stay on the ground for now. We still want to read your blog. It would be awful if you ended up in some country with limited Internet access. You might have to drive miles and miles to some cafe in order to get WiFi………

  37. Having spent most of the last two months in hospital (even Christmas!) it’s lovely to enjoy your holiday with you Steph. It’s hot here in Tasmania, but we have been having bad fire weather and a few small communities have suffered greatly. Love reading your blog-as much as I love knitting! Think I’d leave the kite boards to the experts, just think ,you might break your arms and not be able to knit at all? Aargh 🙂

  38. I do love the winds and breezes, trees, beach etc., However, I’m with you – not ever, not once would I want to ‘lift off’. Are you getting tan? Is your hair wonderfully wild? Maybe you have it in those trippy twisted braids with beads? 🙂

  39. I am with you 100%. Flying straight up in the air (having control or not having control doesn’t matter). I think I would rather have all my teeth pulled out. LOL There is something really wrong with me! It’s probably a height thing I guess. Love all those colors on the beach. Wonder if a knitting project will come out of this trip using all the colors? Glad you are having fun!

  40. You’ll be interested to know, as you bask in the sun, that it took well over an hour to get from Riverdale to Liberty Village this morning. Worst snow storm in 4 years.

  41. Thanks for taking us on vacation with you. As Massachusetts braces for a historic winter storm, it is nice to be flying along the waves. Enjoy!

  42. Nice sea pics–big contrast to Maine beach this morning with the blizzard just ramping up.
    Know thyself girl, pick your thrills–you’re smart re giving kiteboarding a pass.

  43. I think I’m more in your camp, Stephanie… great to watch, fantastic to photograph. Strap one on? um…. no thanks. I’ll stay right here on solid ground.

  44. Gee, don’t they have “trainer” kites? Itty bitty ones that can’t lift you up (OK, maybe onto your toes)? It also occurs to me that my family could get rid of me permanently and have it classified as “death by misadventure”.

  45. I love Haiti, I wouldn’t mind being blown there. I would however be deathly afraid of being blown into the ocean and drowning. So I do see your point. 🙂 By the way considering the storm that is coming our way, I’m feeling more than a little jealous of your lovely vacation. Looks like you are having a wonderful time.

  46. So, here I am, looking at this kid in the last photo that you posted thinking “Does he know he’s in a blog? Oh, they’re in a place that has a heavy tourism industry. I’m sure they are kind of used to it.”
    Then I realize that my little city of Saint John, NB, has a fairly heavy tourist industry in the summer. And I wonder how many pictures and stories I’ve ended up in. Mind-boggling.

  47. loving the vacation pix & posts, especially since we are under winter weather advisory here in erie.
    taking pix of feet on the beach is a woman thing; husband thought i was nuts when i did that in florida. enjoy yourself

  48. I am looking out my picture windows in Shelton CT and all I see is….white…..snow and lots of it; with much more to come.
    I like your picture window a lot better! Have a good time.
    bjr

  49. It makes me just grin to think of you at the ocean, relaxing and being surrounded by family.
    You certainly deserve the break with your schedule.

  50. Nope. No no no no. No way. Na-Uh. Never going to happen. Say it with me now…. Live vicariously in this instance I say 🙂

  51. Have any of them gotten tangled? If there were that many regular kites soaring you can bet there would be tangling, either deliberate or just a quirk of wind. Maybe because they have finer control and are “driving” with the kites, they work hard to avoid tangling.

  52. That looks so amazing! I think it would be wonderful to watch, although actually trying it is probably beyond my abilities (not to mention I’d be terrified of accidentally flying out to sea). Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

  53. I agree, I’ll stay on the shore and watch for whales. No kite boarding for me. I might go for a swim if I was there with you. Warm sun and ocean breeze how delightful just to think about sitting on the beach and being warm…ahhhhh!

  54. You have become such a wonderful photographer over the last several years! I don’t always notice because how could yarn not look good, but these are really beautiful pictures. Good job, you.

  55. We’re about to move to a kiteboarding beach, and I love to watch them. And I’m terrified and excited in equal parts to think my boy might grow up able to master the winds and the waves with his very own core. It’s so foreign to as-graceful-as-a-camel me, that he might as well grow rockets and fly to mars. (Mostly excited, though, I think.)

  56. My friend was walking on that exact same beach, and was viciously attacked by one of those kites. She had to be taken into a helicopter to hospital! Scary indeed.
    But, on the positive side, I would love to have a go with one of those kites, it looks so much fun!

  57. Catching up with the entries, I recall that the Japanese fight their kites, the idea being to cut through another kite’s string. These don’t look like fighters, though. But with a beach full of guys you have to wonder if the occasional altercation doesn’t take place over entanglements.

  58. The other day I saw someone here in Ottawa doing the same type of wind surfing – on snow (in a field). Never seen that before but I laughed at how you were seeing it on a beach in the sun while I was driving through a snowstorm.

  59. Have you been to see la tortuga this year? Can’t believe I’ve been reading you for a year, and I don’t even knit.

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