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Sports

Kite Landboarding Is Dangerous But Rewarding

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DENVER (CBS4) – In Colorado you don’t need to look very hard to find something that pushes one’s boundaries. CBS4’s Tom Helmer was on his way to Broncos practice when he saw someone parachuting in a park with while riding a skateboard. It’s called “kite landboarding.”

When the wind starts to blow, it’s the perfect time to fly a kite. For some it’s even better if they’re attached to that kite.

“It’s an extremely difficult sport to pick up. When you’re first starting off we always recommend going with the trainer kite,” kite landboarder Kyle Bauer said. “I, for example, did not use a trainer kite at the beginning and we had some interesting situations that we got into. Lots of injuries, lots of lessons learned.”

Bauer is now an avid kite landboarder, but he knew nothing about surfing the wind until he stumbled across the sport while surfing the Web.

“I was watching some videos on YouTube … and wanted to get into the sport and a lot of it is based off water. I tried to see what I could do out here in Colorado, and we’ve got snow and land,” Bauer said. “So I found a couple of buddies who had kites and we’ve been going snow and land kiting since then.”

When kite landboarding the person can typically go two to three times the speed of the wind, but the real thrill comes in getting off the ground.

“You can get as high as you really want to get. There are guys who just strictly do hill gliding, which is on snow for the most part … and those guys are getting hundreds of feet in the air,” Bauer said. “Here we’re getting between 15 and 30, depending on what we’re doing.”

Kyle Bauer kite landboarding (credit: CBS)

Kyle Bauer kite landboarding (credit: CBS)

For Bauer, it’s off the ground and flying, even if just for a few seconds.

“To be in the air – it’s actually something you can’t even explain unless you’ve felt it. The initial pull, it’s like a slingshot. If you’ve ever been on the ride at Elitch’s where they pull you down and then they shoot you in the air, it’s a similar feeling to that at first, and then you get the weightlessness where you have this floating for five to 10 seconds. It’s just calming.”

But sometimes the landings can be a little rough and injuries are part of the deal in the sport. For Bauer, the rewards far outweigh the risks.

“It’s amazing, the things that you can do with them.”

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