We celebrated my 41st birthday by going to a new island (for us). Toau. Ah I love the fresh excitement of exploration.
My wonderful wife Sabrina made our crew a dinner of delicious tuna sushi rolls and chocolate mousse; and hid 41 strips of paper around the boat reminding me why I’m awesome. She’s the one who’s awesome!
My gift to myself? Fulfilling the dream of kite-foiling.
When our girls were born, we told friends: we would raise our twins on a boat while hosting people on trips through deserted islands. Many eyebrows were raised. Indeed, we can admit to being squeezed to the max.
It’s worth it. Guests say the babies are a highlight for them. And seeing the girls running like wild turkeys on the rocking boat, I know it’s amazing for them, too.
What about myself ? One of the unspoken challenges of parenting is that we lose ourselves, replaced by being the servant of our babies, of our family unit. We lose our time to recharge, we lose ready access to our passions, we are spread thin like the last dregs of a peanut butter jar. Which you know I love in abundance.
Sabrina and I always said, “Let’s have kids but not stop what we’re doing. They’ll go on our backs, we’ll take them with.” Ok we didn’t stop. But with twins, we had to sloooow down, stop playing as much, sadly neglect some friendships. Work-feed-clean, work-feed-clean. Repeat.
After one year of slaving, we said, we can do better. We hired nannies to help. We enrolled in Kite boarding classes. We’d kite while the girls napped.
So I’m really proud of this. It’s a dream that started in mid-2019, when we first found our new catamaran Selavi in the Fakarava lagoon, just a month before we discovered Sabrina was pregnant.
That’s when I saw Adrien, the instructor at Tuamotu Kite Camp, kite-foil easily between the sailboats, while everyone else was kiting 1/2 mile away (because they needed better wind on regular boards). He was floating on air like a genie on a magic carpet. I thought: “That’s it! I want to do that.”
So my dream became to kite-foil off the boat and back. In light wind. At a sheltered anchorage.
I could already kite board at a basic level. But kite-foiling is a different animal. We committed, and did a boat time – exchange for all the equipment with Murrays Marine in Carpenteria (thank you guys!)
We learned behind the dinghy, practiced, did kite-foil lessons, all while juggling the babies and guests on trips, which made it very sporadic.
The effort slowly paid off. Finally I could return to the boat on my own, which let me practice more regularly. Then nearly everyday.
For my birthday, we were anchored next to shore in 8 feet of turquoise water. Very light wind. I had a gorgeous session, finally dialing in the “kite loops” needed to power up, and sailed my way back to the swim step of Selavi. Two-and-a-half years in the making, I realized my dream!!
Sometimes you just see the end result, and think geez, I wish I could do that. The reality is that it’s a journey full of ups and downs, a journey of perseverance and dedication. I’m proud that as I parent of twin babies I was able to actually do something new & fun! It gives me hope that’ll I’ll also be able to fulfill my other aspirations, with patience. Writing a book, staying in touch with friends, expanding our business.
Huge gratitude for Sabrina’s support. (Meanwhile her kite-boarding is also improving leaps and bounds which brings me lots of joy)
Kite-foiling isn’t going to solve the world’s problems. But it gets me fired up, I harvest stoke big time. I shine with enthusiasm the rest of the day.
Question for you is, what can you dream of doing, if you gave yourself two-and-a-half years? Let’s get after it 🙂
Much love to you all-
The video here has a description of the trip to Toau. Thank you Patrons for your support of our video production!
For those interested in details about kite-foiling.
Some reasons why kite-foiling is awesome:
– Like snowboarding on the silkiest powder. Float like a butterfly above the water, no bumps to hurt knees.
– Go upwind like a banshee. The foil’s ability to go upwind is revolutionary. I’m so excited for sailboats to get this technology (outside of America’s Cup boats)
– Fluky light wind is fine. 8-10 knots is great. This means I can kite-foil at many of our anchorages, which are typically not possible to kite-board.
– Unlike surfing, it’s a nearly limitless resource. Plus there’s the potential cross over of wind-foiling in waves.
Downsides must be mentioned:
– Very expensive. The foil and boards are all super pricey.
– Fairly dangerous. I always wear a helmet. But kite-foiling in smooth water is safer than on waves. Going slow is ironically more dangerous, it’s easies to get knocked by the foil.
– Gear intensive. A simpler option is a new sport called wing-foiling, which has no bars, lines, or harness.
– Difficult to launch kites on monohulls. Much easier on a boat with swim steps, like a catamaran.
– Hugely addictive. Easy to get sucked in to a new sport!
How to learn kite-foiling:
– Learn to kite board first. Go somewhere (ideally) with warm water and consistent wind. French Polynesia is great 🙂 Baja California is the closest spot to California with those conditions.
– After you’re confident on the twin tip, ride a strapless surfboard, and practice in light wind. Learn to do loops.
– Learn to foil behind a dinghy; like wake-boarding but on a foil. Then you’re ready to kite-foil!
– Regardless of your skill level, take a few classes, it helps your progress a ton. I made big advances after taking two classes with Adrien (see Kite Tuamotus). Green Coco can take you there during our Fakarava trips. Another good learning option is in Tahiti.
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