SCC originally started out as Winds Aloft Kiteboarding. I started windsurfing at 14 when I discovered a windsurfer at my aunts cottage on Lake Couchciching. I had been fasinated by windsports and the weather from a young age and spent the next week from dawn till dark learning the sport. Windsurfing became my passion throughout high school and University when I spent a year travelling Central America, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.
After University I moved to Vancouver Island on Canada’s West Coast, leaving Ontario’s light winds in search of high winds and waveriding. I spent my summers in the Gorge and at Nitnat Lake, while the rest of the year was spent waiting for Pacific storms to hit Victoria. The first time I saw kiteboarding was in 1998 at the Gorge. In 1999 several local kite buggy guys and windsurfers began experimenting with the sport. After purchasing a trainer kite and many days of flying it, I purchased a 7m foil and hit the water
Victoria, BC: Turn of century We had a tight knit group of Victoria Windsurfers and with Ross Harrington building us hand made kites we quickly progressed the sport in the Spring of 2000. I spent that entire summer living on the shores of Lake Nitnat logging 48 days straight days of kiting while living in my tent on the shores of this beautiful and windy lake. By the end of the summer I had sold all my windsurfing gear and knew that kiting had to come to Ontario.
Back to Southern Ontario I moved back to Windsor, Ontario in the Autumn of 2000 for Teachers College and began discovering how great the beaches and conditions were here for kiteboarding. The shallow water and light but steady winds that I had cursed when windsurfing, now became a blessing. That Winter I experimented with snowkiting and found it just as fun if not more enjoyable than on the water because it seemed like there was always enough wind to ride. The Winter of 2001 I met Mike Lanoe and the snowkiting mecca of Barrie.
The start of a scene In the Spring of 2001, I met Joe Bidawid, teaming up with Naish Kiteboarding and began teaching the local ripper windsurfers the sport that would soon change their lives. Mike Sloan and Andrew Scott opened Wind and Wake in the beach town of Grand Bend that summer. Slowly the number of kiters in the area began increasing. Most of that summer Joe and I spent in Grand Haven promoting the sport on the shores of lake Michigan where Mackinaw kite Company is located.
Kiteboarding goes mainstream In 2002, the King of the Great Lakes competition was begun to help promote the sport and unite the local kiting community. The event (RedBull Fly too) was held at Metro beach in Detroit and top international pros Adam Koch, Sky Solback, Ben Meyer and Dimitri were in town as well as other top riders from Florida, Texas and California. They were stocked by the conditions and have returned several times since.
Great Lakes Kite Tour In 2003, Matt and Keegan Myers opened a dedicated kiteboarding shop Broneah Boardsports in Royal Oak, Michigan. That summer Broneah sponsored a Great Lakes Tour with photographer Ryan Ricittell and Kiteboarder Magazine. Andy Hurdman, Nicollo Poricelli and Bri Chamel came along and all were blown away by the conditions and beaches we visited. The article was published in Kiteboard Magazine and the Great Lakes finally received some positive media exposure.
2003 Redbull Michigan Meltdown That winter Joe and I organized the first snowkiting event in the Great Lakes – the Michigan Meltdown. The wind did not cooperate, but the turn out was great and everyone was stocked.
Kitestock As a way to kick off the warm water kiting season and get riders from all over the Great Lakes together after a long cold summer, I organized the first kite get-together which he call Kitestock in 2002. The plan was to decide a few days before the weekend the best spot to ride and have the gathering at that beach. The first kitestock in 2002 was at Cedar Beach and featured a sound system, about 20 riders and building SE winds that pushed over 20kts knots before the pouring rain moved in. The next two years kitestock was held at Belle River with a severe lack of wind but an excess of partying. Since 2005 Kitestock has been held annually, the first weekend of June at Mitchell’s Bay. Due to work and family commitments 2010 was the last year for Kitestock. We hope to bring it back in the future as the kiting community continues to grow in the area.