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The number one ingredient needed to do it is wind, and what better spot, than the windiest place in our area: Washoe Lake. "People just love it. They do it once and they're hooked."
Walt Freeman would know. He's an avid kiteboarder himself and the owner and certified instructor of Gale Force Kiteboarding.
He makes a living by introducing the sport to other adrenaline junkies here at Washoe Lake. Freeman says "For learning or for an advanced rider, the lake is waist deep to neck deep, so when you're learning, it's so friendly. You can fall down in the water and stand right back up."
He adds learning is not too tough: the kite is attached to a waist harness and control bar. And your feet are strapped into a board.
By most accounts, this extreme sport is still in its nascent stages... as it originated only about a decade ago in Hood River, Oregon. Five years ago, Freeman says it started to infiltrate Northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe. And like most new sports, huge improvements in the gear and its technology are made every season.
Freeman says the sport is rapidly growing in popularity because it's an amazing rush and does not require a specific skill set. "It doesn't matter if you're a pro-snowboarder, pro-wakeboarder. Kiteboarding it's one of those sports that you come in with high hopes and it humbles you in the beginning. But it rewards you within a little bit of time. The more you practice--like anything else--you're going to get so much better."
Eddie Reck, a Kiteboarder says "The first couple times out, it's intimidating because if you put the kite in the wrong place, you can be dragged down wind violently. And that's happened to anybody that's tried it." For Reck, kiteboarding was a natural progression from wind-surfing. He's boarded all over the world, but as a local, chooses Washoe Lake for its consistently windy afternoons.
And sure, he may not be part of the twenty-something demographic the typical age-group for extreme sports, but he says that's the beauty of kiteboarding: fun for all ages.
"II don't learn it as fast as the younger kids because I have more fear of hurting myself. And then you find a lot of guys 30, 40 years old are getting into it because the equipment is so expensive. A lot of the younger kids don't get into it until they can earn that kind of money."
Getting started in kiteboarding is no small investment. Lessons can cost you up to one hundred dollars an hour. And equipment can run into the thousands. But the wind and water, however, are free.