VIDEO: Go fly a kite... or ride one
Curious lake dwellers spied something high in the sky over Lake L'Homme Dieu on a wind-whipped September afternoon. A few folks cruised over to Rotary Beach on Monday to watch Nathan Borer catch some waves - it was prime surfing weather.
Borer navigated a 14-square-meter kite, catching air currents up to 90-feet above. When a good wind would come into the bay, Borer was whisked off to skate across the water.
"It's a powerful thing, the wind," Borer said between gusts.
Borer vacations in the Alexandria area and owns a surf shop in the Twin Cities. He is certified by the Professional Air Sports Association (PASA).
Surfing in Minnesota? It's more common than most people think. Borer was demonstrating kite-surfing. Using a twin-tip kite board, like a wakeboard, Borer skied across waves while propelled by air currents.
Borer's shop, NorthStar Surf, specializes in paddle-boarding, kite-boarding and wakeboarding.
"Really anybody can do it," Borer said. "There's a kite for every shape and size."
Kites are measured in square meters based on a person's physical power and experience, Borer explained. He emphasized learning from a PASA-certified instructor.
"A dedicated person can pick it up in a couple months," Borer said. Generally, a person will be ready for a solo run after three or four lessons. Harnesses are equipped with a safety release to limit injury.
Already experienced in wakeboarding, skiing and snowboarding, Borer was introduced to the hybrid sport of kite-surfing by a windsurfer friend 10 years ago.
Some of the lakes Borer recommends in Minnesota are Mille Lacs and Superior. He said Mille Lacs is a great learning environment.
In Douglas County, Borer said Ida and Miltona are great locations, but kite-surfing can be done just about anywhere that has a coastline and a sheet of water. It can also be done year-round. Snow-kiting, is performed on ice in the winter.
To learn more about kite-surfing and NorthStar Surf, visit www.NorthStarSurf.com or call (612) 940-6639.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.