This is more of a personal adventure however the opportunities it opens up may very well lead to some fun adventures worth sharing. For the last few years I have been entertaining the idea of becoming a kiteboarding instructor. Actually now that I think about it, it’s been almost 5 years that I have been thinking about it. The biggest issue that kept me from jumping right in was finding a class that lined up with my rotational work schedule AND that was being offered in a location I could get to without too much hassle or time.
Panama, the Philippines, North Carolina, Brazil, Florida, Texas, California, The Dominican Republic, and Oregon had courses yearly but none of them lined up with work. It took three years for the stars to align and the course in Oregon to match up with with work. I signed up for the IKO Assistant Instructor and Instructor Level I class that was being offered in Hood River through Cascade Kiteboarding. The instructor / examiner for these courses was Jeffro Rothenberg who owns the kiteboarding school at Urban Surf in Seattle.
When did all this start? I was living in the Aleutians when a buddy (Reid) sent me a video of people kiteboarding in Bonaire. That was the first time I had ever seen the sport and it sparked an interest that remains as strong as ever. We talked each other up in to getting a bunch of mist-fitting/matching and incorrectly sized gear from eBay in the hopes we could self teach the sport. I don’t know if I’ve ever been closer to death in my life than when I was hooked in to my first kite, a 5 line – way over powered 14m C shaped kite while body drag(ing) racing-skipping along Summers Bay Lake.
Enjoy this video – One of my first attempts at flying a kite with no instruction. This was a long time ago. No experience, no training except youtube. uuugh.
Ever since those early days self teaching on the edges of the Bering Sea I’ve been traveling and kiting year round. Whether it’s on the water, ice, snow or land – it’s all still amazing and exciting to me just as it was being raggedy ann-ed across the sand with my friends around laughing at me while I tried to figured the sport out! Yes I eventually took some lessons which helped put it all together.
Last month I met up with seven other Instructor Candidates in Hood River for day one of our two week intensive Instructor courses. What really made it worth the time and money was our instructor Jeffro – His many years of instruction and kiting in general was a solid foundation of experience that filled in all the gaps and questions the course material brought up. There was a lot of material to know. It wasn’t just about kiting. It was people, interactions, understanding, coaching, supporting, mentoring, safety, good practices and measuring success along with acknowledging and complementing it. After two weeks of book work, studying, tests, exams, practical skills assessments and working with real students I had a new appreciation for the sport and people who teach it.
So what now? I have a few internship hours to complete in order to make it official and arrangements have been made. What can I do with; or where can I go with this certification? How about teaching in Egypt, Costa Rica, Thailand, The Netherlands, Spain, Brazil or perhaps Africa? All these places and more have a high demand for certified instructors and come on, you have to admit there is something exciting about having a skill in demand that can take you to some amazing places. Heck – who knows.. maybe I’ll start a small grass roots kiteboarding school somewhere.