The best wave kiter I know happens to ride the oldest gear on the water. Joe “Sizzling Al” Turkiewicz bought a set of original 2001 Wipika Airblast kites and has been riding them ever since. In the meantime, the kiteboarding industry — and more specifically kites — have evolved significantly by introducing safety features, higher performing designs and new materials. Despite all of the new whiz-bang features on kites, it remains that on the windiest days in the Gorge you might see only Joe out terrorizing waves on his original kites and strapless surfboard. Hoards of new gear have emerged, but they still haven’t made someone smoother or more aggressive on the “nuclear” days than Joe.
Photo courtesy Jim Semlor