Kiteboarding at South Padre Island

Posted: Updated: Jun 28, 2017 12:13 AM

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Some retirees take up golf, some play bingo.

Chris Townsend chose something completely different.

After 25 years of teaching at Texas A&M, Townsend and her husband retired and moved to South Padre Island.

“Didn't really know what we were going to, “said Townsend. “We were driving around the island and saw people kiting and I looked up at the sky and thought I can do that.”

At 65-years-old, Townsend is no stranger to the outdoors.

“I had slalom skied, water skied, snow skied, and sailed with my dad,” aid Townsend.

She soon found out, Kiteboarding is a whole difference experience

“I call it a dance. There’s a lot of body language so that goes with it, “said Townsend. “You have to learn to control the kite, you have to learn where the wind is. But once you get it, it's like riding a bike. It's the most challenging and fun sport I've ever done.”

Kiteboarders have a harness strapped around their waist while attached to the line and board simultaneously. The kite can fly up to 27 meters in the air, while board speed can reach 25 miles per hour. Safe to say, it can be a dangerous sport.

Townsend says with proper training, danger can be avoided.

"I've never ever been in trouble. All these years of learning and kiting on my own, it's safer than you think,” said Townsend. “Every time you fail, it’s learning something new. I learn something every time I go out.”

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