WEST FALMOUTH – “We love to get big air. I’m talking 25 to 35 feet off the water,” said Stephen Connolly, of Falmouth, as he stood next to his kiteboard on Chapoquoit Beach. “We get a beautiful view of the Chappy parking lot.”
While Connolly and other kiteboarders made it clear that their sport is both dangerous and thrilling, the traffic pattern was more organized than most Cape rotaries in the summer. “Most kites are working like a circle,” explained Junior Pinto of Falmouth. “It’s almost like a road. You just use common sense.”
Out on the water, with a choppy west wind, the turn-left NASCAR circle of about 10 kiteboarders went back and forth parallel to the beach, performing jumps and tricks. With summertime temperatures and a favorable wind, kiteboarders said that the first Tuesday in October at this beach featured great conditions for their sport.
Nevin Sayre of Vineyard Haven, a former national champion windsurfer, and a kiteboarder since 2000, said of Chapoquoit Beach, “This is one of my favorite spots. It gets good wind a lot.” Sayre, who has won the U.S. Boardsailing championship five times, said, “My skills in windsurfing are going down. My skills in kite-surfing are maybe going up.”
Some were in the water, or perhaps flying through the air. Some were going in, some were going out. Some, like Sayre, standing next to his orange kite, were heading out for a second time that day.
“Most of us came from windsurfing,” said Tim Flynn of Monument Beach, “and we taught ourselves, and then we all got hurt.”
“You can’t just take a kite and go,” said Sayre. “You could end up in the trees.”
“It’s inherently a dangerous sport, “ said Connolly. “The kite has tremendous power. A kite can lift a 200 pound guy like me out of the water like I weigh ten pounds.”
Kitesurfing is an adrenalin rush, and according to Sayre, easier than windsurfing. “Windsurfing is also an adrenalin rush,” he said. “It’s much easier to get to a higher level in kite surfing. To get very proficient in windsurfing is more difficult.”
“You can get more high performance in less wind,” said Sayre, who described high performance as “Jumping, going fast. You don’t need that much wind to get going in kiteboarding.”
And Dave Ponelli of North Falmouth said, ““It takes a long time to get good at either one. For windsurfing, you need more wind for it to be fun.”
Flynn said, “We’re all pretty experienced kiters. We trust each other.”
— Brian Tarcy