VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Kiteboarding is sport that often draws the attention of crowds along the beach because of the colorful kites and the stunts performed by their riders.
“You can just go high, and fly through the sky,” described Mia Capps, owner of Happy Winds Watersports and Kiteboarding in Virginia Beach.
She has been teaching those interested in learning the sport for 10 years from her beachside classroom behind the Virginia Beach Resort and Convention Center, located on Shore Drive.
“A lot of people -- when they first see kite surfing -- say, 'Wow, you have to be so strong,'” said Capps as she dispels a common myth about the extreme sport. In fact, the kite is actually attached to a harness belt that is strapped around the body.
My two-hour crash course begins with a lesson on how to keep the kite in the air.
After crashing the kite several times, I begin to finally get the hang of what not to do with the control bar, such as pushing back my tendency to twist the bar inside of the pushing up and down.
After that, it was time for the larger, more powerful kite that is used to pull riders on the water.
While piloting the larger kite is essentially the same, it was much more powerful. The kite would pull me with such power, that it caused me bounce and glide over the sand.
Day two of the crash course brought me back to the Shore Drive location on a very wind day.
“This is about top-end of what we’ll safely teach at,” said another kiteboarding instructor. “If it gets over this, we generally call the lesson and go out and have fun ourselves.”
I was able to get the kite to pull me along the water for short body drags, further highlighting that learning this sport will take practice.
PHOTOS: Kiteboarding in Virginia Beach
Despite that fact, there is pure exhilaration to be had by the feeling of being dragged by the kite on the water as though you were standing still in an awesome moment in time.
“You can take it to all different levels… you can ride the waves, which is my favorite,” Capps said when describing the various ways to kiteboard.
A one-hour kiteboarding session at Happy Winds Watersports and Kiteboarding costs $99 while the full 10-hour course costs $899.
But, if you prefer a calmer day at the beach, they offer sailboat rentals which start at $45.