• Kiters finally start looking north to Alaska for killer surfing
By Sean Pearson
When kite-surfing enthusiast Trace Carlos joined friends and fellow kite surfers Traveler Terpening and Tom Fredericks to organize Homer’s first kite festival in 2008, none of them knew what kind of response they might get.
It turns out, quite a few people were interested, and organizers of Homer’s inaugural kite fest were impressed with such a positive response to a relatively new extreme sport.
It’s not so new anymore.
“This is our sixth year presenting the kite festival in Homer,” said organizer Trace Carlos. “We wanted to find a way to bring Alaska kite surfers together so we could get to know each other, trade tips and develop more contacts around the state.”
The festival also gives kiters an opportunity to trade gear.
The 2013 Homer Kite Fest kicks off Friday, bringing kite enthusiasts from all over the state to Homer for three days of fun in the wind, sun and water. Experienced kiters will also offer seminars and kite-surfing lessons on the beach.
Carlos has been kite surfing for seven years, and said he absolutely loves the sport he refers to as, “art in motion.”
“I love to ride in the ocean with the sea otters and seals,” he said. “You just can’t beat the beauty of snow-capped mountains and all the wildlife along the shores.”
And, while some may not generally associate Alaska and kitesurfing, event organizers say the solar thermal breeze around Kachemak Bay make it a perfect match for the sport.
Besides, where else can you find consistent wind and 6,000 miles of coastline to choose from?
Back when the sport was still relatively new, rogue kite surfers would set up their equipment at Mariner Park, and do their best with whatever kind of kite/board combination they could come up with. Mastering the sport on cheap, makeshift equipment made for a challenging and exhaustive day of kiting. Now that the sport has gained popularity, improved equipment has eased the learning curve significantly. Carlos said better equipment makes for a safer kiting experience as well.
Everyone is encouraged to participate in this year’s kite fest at Mariner Beach, but spectators are welcome as well. There is a $20 participation fee. Organizers say some kite-surfing newbies struggle a bit at first, but many are able to pick up the sport immediately.
“We hope to have about 30 kiters this weekend, as well as a high-pressure system to give us a nice day breeze,” Carlos said. “Get outside, learn to kite and enjoy your life in Homer.”
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