I was sent to do the weather from Lighthouse Park Tuesday evening. It was pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. I found some cute kids, a dog, a motorcycle… and blessed my lucky stars that on a hot and sweaty day my boss sent me to the beach.
While there I saw something that I’d never seen before. My first clue was a huge airfoil kite flying over the water’s edge. When I followed the lines, they led to a man in a wet suit.
Before long he walked into the water carrying what looked like a cross between a surfboard and slalom water ski. Within seconds, he was up on the board, skiing like a water skier, but being propelled by the kite.
I’m attaching pictures, but I sense they won’t do this sport justice.
The skier was Tsachik Gelander, an Assistant Professor of Math at Yale. As I found out from speaking to his wife, they are from Israel. Maybe this is common on Israeli beaches, but not here.
The most spectacular feat came when he got up enough speed to leap out of the water. It seemed he was at least 10-15 feet above the water’s surface, still being pulled by the kite.
This is not for the squeamish or weak of heart. You’ve got to control the kite, lest the kite take you airborne. Though you’re strapped in and along for the ride, it looks like it takes substantial upper body strength to properly translate the kite’s motion in the way you wish, and strong legs to keep the board on track as you twist and turn along.
The photos were taken on a day without much strong wind. Just imagine how much more he might fly.