Freedom. It means a lot of different things to a lot of people. But to me, as a kiteboarder, true freedom is simply the ability to go where you want, when you want. There are few places in this world that epitomize this better than South Africa's long stretches of beach. To live in Africa is freedom in itself. With all this chaos that surrounds those living in Africa comes a huge amount of freedom. Lack of resources means lack of control on most beaches.
What separates kiteboarding from other sports? To me, it's the ability to be free. To go where you want on the water with minimal effort. To fly through the air. To hear absolutely nothing at the peak of a high jump. Flying through the air and being able to catch so many waves without having to paddle in or wait your turn to catch a wave.
Kiteboarding offers independence on a level that very few sports do. It's a solo sport which means you don't have to rely on team players. And it's a good thing that it's an independent sport. One cannot be truely free if you're not self sufficient. If you stick to uncrowded beaches, it's a sport without rules. If you can land and launch your kite on your own, and don't have to worry about catching a lift after a downwinder it's even better.
Nature is freedom
Perhaps the best part of kiteboarding is that the wind is absolutely free. Once you have your kiteboarding gear, you don't have to pay anything to get lit. Put up a kite, go where you want and kite for as long as the wind blows.
Exemption from the presence of others, the solo stoke way
Some of my best sessions have been on an empty beach with just me out there. Kiteboarding on your own brings a different experience - one where you don't have to worry about anyone else around you. It's just you, your kite, the ocean and the wind. Nobody to rescue you when things go wrong. Nobody to pick you up after a downwinder. Hiking back after a long downwinder in the dark. Going where the wind takes you. Just you and nature. Solo kiting.
If you are a kiteboarder like me, chances are that deep down you're an anarchist at heart, seeking your piece of freedom in a world full of boundaries rules and impossibilities. The waves, the wind and the water is where you truly feel free.
I hope that the next time you go kiteboarding, you realize that just like freedom, kiteboarding is a privilege that only a few people get to experience in their life.