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Kiteboarding in OBX, North Carolina

The Wright Brothers may have been Kitty Hawk's "first in flight", but for OBX wind sports enthusiasts, they weren't the last!

By: Edward Dalton + Save to a List

By: Edward Arthur Dalton

When some long-time kiting friends suggested we plan a wind-chasing trip to OBX North Carolina, it didn’t take much convincing, especially when I realized Sarah already had plans with Lil’ Eddie to go watch her sister run the Boston Marathon that same week.

So, with the green light from our wives and overweight luggage full of kites, boards, swimsuits, and sunscreen — that I forgot to use 😬 — we headed for the mecca of wind sports that is the Outer Banks!

One of the many quaint beach towns we passed through along the beautiful OBX peninsula is a little town you have likely heard of called Kitty Hawk — made world-famous after the Wright Brothers successfully made the first-ever heavier-than-air flight there in 1903.

Ironically enough, wind sports enthusiasts like myself are drawn to this geographical region today from around the country and world for the exact same reasons the Wright Brothers were all those years ago. The Outer Banks offer frequent steady wind conditions, dense sea-level air, and (scenic) sandy terrain — perfect for flight!

I admire the Wright’s ingenuity that planted the seed we are all the benefactors of today. Not only can we travel by air to North Carolina to kite (or anywhere for any reason), but the mechanics of kiteboarding follow the same foundational lessons of aeronautics learned at Kitty Hawk, like thrust, drag, weight, and lift — my favorite one when kiting! 😜

As a lover of all things wind and hang time, I share their excitement when they said...

If birds can glide for long periods of time, then… why can’t I? — Wright Brothers

Although the Wright Brother’s wooden glider and short 12 seconds of flight looked much more rudimentary than today’s advanced kite designs and multi-minute air times, they relied on the same fundamental principles that ultimately made it possible for the many different wind sports to be born.

It is months later now, and I am still digesting all these fun memories of riding phenomenal wind with equally remarkable friends in OBX.

In short, the daily agenda went something like this:

  1. Wake up and inhale a bowl of cereal while frantically scrolling through the wind-meter readings.
  2. Grab kites and head for the beach.
  3. Fight my way into a sticky sandy wetsuit still cold and damp from the day before.
  4. Forget to apply sunscreen because I’m too excited to get out on the water.
  5. Stay out until I’m fried like a fish and my board straps have rubbed the epidermis skin layer off my feet.
  6. Head into shore because I literally can’t hold onto the bar with my hands any longer.
  7. Eat loads of delicious fresh seafood for dinner.
  8. Pop Ibuprofen (aka “kiter’s candy”) before bed.
  9. Let the howling wind rock the shaky beach house to sleep.
  10. Rise and repeat.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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