We stopped in Ohio on the way back from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The wind was falling quick but we found a great spot to go for a quick session. By the time we got rigged and changed the wind was barely enough to ride. I gave it a few tries, down winding on each one. I can’t wait to ride here again, there are some great kickers and a terrific background for shooting.
Today, Amer and I scored some great waves on the Great Lakes. It was my first time at this undisclosed location. We braved the chilly temps and dodged the forecasted snow and rainstorms to score blue skis and great wind. The waves were waist to chest high and we rode 7m + 9m kites until we couldn’t ride anymore.
Sunday greeted the Mid-West with gale force winds. A small crew made the drive to Lake Huron in the sub 50 degree weather, rigged up the smallest kites we could find and headed out on a 13 mile downwinder. I rode my 7m Envy and 6’2 surfboard. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and waist high waves.
We had a terrific Kiteboarding session on Sunday south of Detroit. The wind was cranking and it was 64 degrees, but some of my old buddies called and said it was on. I packed up the truck and drove to Brest Bay.
It was ominous pulling up to the lake with two massive power plants along the shore and the sunny skies rapidly turning to dark and cloudy. The water was a mucky brown color. It’s pretty sad to see the environment in this condition on a daily bases.
Nonetheless, we pumped up and had a terrific session until my feet got too numb to land anymore tricks. A big thanks to Agata and Joel for shooting some of the photos you see below…
I meet up with kiteboarders Brandon Scheid and Sensi Graves for a weekend of Michigan kiteboarding. The first day we headed to Montague. We meet up with a few other kiters and headed out by the jetty. The waves were small but fun. Everyone made it out for a few hours in the chilly south wind. We wound up riding until dark and headed back to Brandon’s for the night.
The next day we missioned it North to Frankfort to meet up with the crew. There were about a dozen riders already out riding when we arrived. The waves were shoulder high and it was windy! Brandon pumped up and we tried to get on it before the clouds socked us in but we were a little late. We still managed to get a couple shots as Brandon jibbed the massive jetty in nuking conditions. I had a really fun session after shooting, until it got so windy I was blown off the 7m and we called it a day.
Pro Kiteboarder Jason Slezak and I ventured out West back in February of this year for a Jackson Hole Snowkiting adventure (see photos and travel notes here) with some of the Patagonia crew. Here is the just released video from Patagonia’s website from that trip. Brings back some good memories.
Jason Slezak and I meet up with Jason McCaffery, Fletcher Chouinard, and Curtis Tolmie for a snowkiting adventure in Jackson Hole Wyoming last February. We set up home base out of Yvon’s home acrosee the river from the base of the Teton Mountains. It was an amazing week of adventures, snowkiting and snowboarding. Thanks for the incredible hospitality and great times.
Below is a video from our trip available to watch on Patagonia’s Website, a photo book from our adventures and a travel notes from our adventure. Enjoy…
Below are the notes from the weeklong trip to Jackson Hole on our snowing adventure:
Day 1: In the biting cold of the East Coast we packed the trucks and headed to the airport. Salt Lake City was expecting over a foot of snow the following day, which will made the 5.5 hour drive to Jackson Hole, WY pretty time critical.
This trip started off amazing as we arrived to the airport with a near red carpet experience. Somehow, Jason and I qualified for the your bags fly free option from the nice ladies at the check in counter. Jason had two over weight roller bags and I had a roller bag, regular bag and a 70lbs pelican case.
Two planes, a book and a movie or two down and we arrived in Salt Lake City with all our gear ready to hit the road to Jackson. We had tentative plans to grab Tekko’s RV for our adventure. We got all the details from him except the actual location of where to pick it up. So we rented a car and headed south the only direction Jason got, we randomly pulled off the highway about to grab food when we got Tekko’s text with the address. I quickly plugged it into the GPS and over 2:03 away really!?!?…. Wow this day just got longer, that’s when we looked at the distance that read 1.5 miles, YES! That whole time zone thing will get you. Crisis #1 averted. We arrived to the house where the RV was gated in and with a watchdog, the RV started with no problem and we were off to beat the snowstorm on our 5 hour drive North East to Jaskson Hole…
After a few hundred miles, snow rabbits, deer, an owl and a moose we arrived in Jackson Hole. Fletch and Jason came to pick us up as the RV wasn’t going to made it down the narrowly plowed back road with 10-15 foot snow piles on either side. Exhausted after a full days travel the beer was a simple yet rewarding end to the day.
Day 2: After a slow morning of gathering gear and packing the trucks we made our way into town for breakfast. It was dumping outside, which was great to see but not so great for shooting. We hit up a couple errands before heading to the base of the mountain to take our first snowkiting session. It was a bit light but we decided to go anyhow. Getting out to the field through thigh high snow was, well difficult without snowshoes. The guys rigged up and headed out for a half hour or so before the wind became funky and kites started falling from the sky. We packed it up and headed for dinner and drinks.
Day 3: Plan A, was to go find wind, but that was quickly cancelled as the snow continued to fall lightly from the sky. We switched to plan B, which turned into an amazing day. We headed over to the Village and bought tickets to ride Jackson Hole Mountain. I have wanted to ride here since I first started snowboarding. It was a little gray out but the snow was spectacular. Jessie and Duca meet up with us for the afternoon. Fletch’s friend, Pete, who is a ski patroller took us around the mountain for a few hours to hit some great spots. After riding our legs off, we were invited to go to the ski patroller’s bar. And that was a start to a very long and fun night.
Day 4: So day 4 started off a little slower than yesterday. After some logistical errors, we pumped up and grabbed a session outside the Chouinard’s house. Jason rode in the waist deep powder with an all time view of the Tetons in the background. With a solid session under our belts we moved locations to get everyone up and riding. By the time we got to the new location the wind had lightened up a bit. Everyone still got a halfway decent session in with a surreal background which made everyone more than stoked with the days sessions. We headed into town for a terrific dinner and a couple drinks at the Silver Dollar.
Day 5: With the entire crew a bit battered for the past few days of riding we slowly traveled south in the UAV (urban assault vehicle aka the LF RV) to a new location to chase the winds. We found a great field with access to an open-faced mountain. Jason rigged up and traversed the field and over/through 2 creeks and 2 barbed wire fences to reach the base of the mountain. He then climbed nearly straight up it and did a few turns and a huge boosting glide on the way down. It was game on!
Jason and Fletcher explored the sides of the mountain before the wind lightened up and Fletch ripped his kite and had to hike all the way back to the RV in waist deep snow. It was so cool to see the guys practically ride straight up the mountain and then back down, again and again.
Day 6: Today was supposed to be the day! We packed up the RV early and headed in a different direction 45 minutes away. We made it through another pass in the RV on the icy roads to find not a breath of air. Bumming, we cruised back towards home base to find the wind howling. The only place we could find to ride near the house turned out to be rather gusty on this wind direction. Nonetheless we all grabbed a session before getting back to the house. Jason M, Fletcher and Curtis all headed back West that evening, so they packed gear and then headed to the airport.
Slezy and I headed into town for a quick bite to eat. It was dark but still windy when we returned to the house. We had been joking about how cool it would be to session the back of the house where there was a massive pile of snow from the roof. We set up the gear and equipment and made it happen. We just session Yvon Chouinard’s house!
It was a heck of a week. After the FCD crew headed home Jason and I continued our adventure to Utah for a few days before headed back to the East Coast.
We had a terrific weekend riding Lake Michigan. We rode at Muskegon Pier all day. I met up with Marc and Brad. I paddled out for the first time in the Lake, and I caught my first wave. It was a right and made 6-8 turns which pretty much made my day! Then we pumped up and went kiting for the next few hours. The waves were chest to head high and the wind was around 30 knots. We had a great session as the sun started to fall in the sky the wind picked up to 35-40 knots, which became too much for me so I surf for a while longer before calling it quits.
I crashed with Brad and his family and headed back to the coast in the morning. The wind shifted West overnight, which made the wind and waves very sloppy. Marc knew of this “secret” spot that was small but fun on the logs. We long longboarded for 3-4 hours. It was another great weekend on the water.
With a strong North front heading i from Wisconsin and Canada, chatter started early in the week about the possibility of some fun sessions on Lake Michigan. The buoy read 23ft and the winds were 40-50 knots when Rob and I arrive at South Haven to find a handful of surfers and a couple kiters out on 4-5m kites. We hung around for a while and decided to head north to see find a less wind location. We made it to Grand Haven. The winds were less but the waves were also much smaller. We headed out and rode until the sunset next to the lighthouse!
Last weekend was the Michigan Kiteboarding event, King of the Great Lakes. A groups of mid-west kite boarders converged upon Grand Haven, MI. The wind was less than optimal but we had enough to get out on the water and have fun.