Young Star

Riding high ‘til the sun goes down

- PENNYLANE By   Rebecca C. Rodriguez -

Just when you thought Boracay was becoming    too    commercialized, think again. This hip, happening and attitude-free beach spot is a tropical perfection of crystal waters, powdery white sand, 15 Still Standing shots from Cocomangas and the local favorite chori burgers.

Sure, we have all tried Boracay’s wonderful world of water sports more than once in our lives — everything from the speed thrill of the banana boat ride to the adrenalin rush of jet skiing, parasailing and even tracking flying fish. Maybe it’s time to try something new — like windsurfing with the wild wind.

The next time you’re itching for an action fix, try kiteboarding. All you need is the wind (the power of Mother Nature) to drag you with a kiteboard on water. Imagine it as wakeboarding without the boat or cable park. The rider is being pulled and lifted by the power kite to launch aerial maneuvers, which is enough to make you skip a heartbeat or two.

Around a month ago, a large group of Russians (including kiteboarders, windsurfers and journalists) headed to Boracay for the first ever International Wind-Kite-Surf Sport Camp with 30 amateur competitors from 14 to 40 years old. This 43-day fun-filled event was held at Bulabog beach, where beginner and amateur windsurfers and kiteboarders practiced and showed off their skills above the shallow water.

There is just something interesting about Russians. Expect them to greet you with a warm smile. Both the Russian men and women are physically fit, tall and oozing with sex appeal. Think a good mix of tennis star Maria Sharapova and supermodel Natasha Poly.

Thankfully, the Department of Tourism made sure that the Russians had an amazing time in Boracay. There were parties and different activities throughout the island for the sole purpose of promoting the Philippines as a new water sports destination for the Russian market.

“The Philippines is a destination that kiteboarders should discover and dream about,” says Cynthia Carrion, Assistant Secretary of Tourism for Sports and Wellness. “When the northeast monsoon or the amihan blows in, it brings clear blue skies, warm weather and steady winds.”

Dressed in stylish Fila gear, Asec. Carrion tried the first step of kiteboarding. With her harness stuck to the kite, she learned how to control the kite within the wind window. It might not be as easy as it looks, but for lessons, you can go to the Hangin Kite Center at Bulabog Beach where they offer IKO Courses from Level 1-2-3 up to the IKO Instructor Course.

For Russian windsurfing champion, photographer and organizer Andy Khitrovo, it was a change to promote this event for his countrymen, and to steer them to try windsurfing and kiteboarding in the Philippines instead of Vietnam. Khitrovo also was in charge of creating a photo bank for Russia’s biggest website for wind surfers (www.wind.ru) and for magazines like Wave, Vertical World, Extreme and Internet TV channel (www.tv.wind.ru).

Another Russian organizer and anchorman of extreme TV show Bez Tormozov, Mikhail “Misha” Tormozov, was documenting the event with high hopes of bringing a wave of information to his fellow Russians. Plus, he promises to promote this on the most popular radio station, Russian News Service, as well.

 “We decided to hold this competition not very far away from Russia,” said Tormozov. “This competition is mostly for amateurs but the judges are of the highest level. We learned from this experience so that next year we can make it better for professional riders.”

So, the road map to kiteboarding is not as complicated as it seems. You just have to do a lot of research about the sport, go to camp and learn from the best, get proper gear and you are ready to go.

“Kiteboarding is still in its infancy stage in Boracay but the island is already well set up for enthusiasts and more are on the way in other parts of the country,” concludes Carrion. “The good thing is that there is also a small but thriving local kiteboarding scene and one of the best amateur kiteboarding events in the region.”

If you love trying out new things, your adventurous spirit knows no bounds. Besides, you don’t have to go far because Boracay windsurfing and kiteboarding are made of these.








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