As its name would suggest, kiteboarding is best described as extreme kite flying with a board.
Kiteboarding’s origins can be traced back to the 1800s when a man named George Pocock used kites to help move carts on land and boats in the water. Since that time, kiteboarding has evolved into an extreme sport for those looking for an adrenaline fix that normal kite flying doesn’t provide.
Kiteboarding is done in any open space, such as a body of water, a snow plain or just an open grass field. The area needs to be large enough to be able to move around and not collide or get a kite’s lines tangled with another rider.
“Kiteboarding is the greenest sport on the planet…” said Salt Lake Community College aerospace engineering student Sean Kelleher. “People just need a trainer kite and to watch some videos and get used to flying.” Kelleher has been kiteboarding for about five years. Trainer kites cost between 100 and 300 dollars.
The Salt Lake valley is a great place for kiteboarding, especially along the east side, according to SLCC student Dave Cline. With the wind that comes down from the canyons and the strong winds on the south end of the valley near the point of the mountain in Draper, it is easy to find a place to kiteboard.
“Draper and Cottonwood Heights and Sandy is where all the kiteboarders are,” Cline said. “Most people just see your kite and if they have a kite they come fly with you.”
While kiteboarding can be a dangerous sport, Cline says that the thrill of flying off of the ground and being in the air is worth it.
“We are adrenaline junkies,” Cline said. “When we were like 70 pounds and 12 years old, these things would really lift us off the ground.”
As the temperatures rise, so do the kites around the valley, so now is an ideal time to get out and try kiteboarding if an interest is there.
“If they like the outdoors and they like adrenaline then they will definitely invest a couple hundred dollars to get a learner kite,” Cline said. “Now that it is spring time and it is gorgeous outside, there is no better way to have fun.”
Students interested in getting into kiteboarding can look to the sky for kites on a windy day or go to www.ukbinc.com, a website dedicated to kiteboarding in Utah.