Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kiteboarders Rave about Wellfleet's Fun Seekers

“Kiteboarding can change your life forever.” These words were spoken by Eric Gustafson, who moved to Wellfleet in 1985 and started Fun Seekers 17 years ago. At first Eric taught surfing and windsurfing. In 2002, he switched to his new passion, kiteboarding, and hired surf instructors for non-airborne clientele. I learned about Fun Seekers in late May when my nephew visited from France.

All Xavier could talk about was “kite,” the French abbreviation. Would there be enough wind? Had his fiancé made the necessary appointment? Did I want to come and watch? He spoke with an enthusiasm that bordered on obsession. That’s when I understood what Eric meant when he described kiteboarding to me over the phone: "an amazing experience once you have it and feel it and have the wind.” Unfortunately for my nephew, there was no wind the weekend of his visit. No wind, no lessons.

“It’s a tough way to earn a living,” Erik admitted. Yesterday, for instance, there was too much wind, 35 gusting to 40. Eight days ago, there was none.

Overcast skies are okay. Rain is okay, too, but I doubt there were many pedestrians yesterday on Wellfleet's jetty, a perfect spot to observe experienced kiteboarders in action. They zip right by and jump 20 feet into the air. I know because Sven and I have watched.

"There’s no danger because they’re upwind,” Eric explained. Yesterday he took a friend, who was visiting, to the ocean. “Only the crazies were out. The rain was sideways. You almost needed goggles.”

Eric teaches all levels of this thrilling sport, booking one client per day, for a three-hour window. And, he's a great teacher. I know this because my nephew’s fiancé’s best friend stayed with us in late June. Anna, who sent me these photos, couldn’t stop raving about Fun Seekers. Kiteboarding changed her life, too.

Do you kiteboard? Is this something you would like to try?