Local News

Kite surfers contend sport is safe

Posted September 12, 2008 4:28 p.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2008 7:51 a.m. EDT

— Despite the images of a kite surfer being slammed into a building in Fort Lauderdale during Hurricane Fay, some kite surfers want the world to know the sport is actually quite safe.

Kite surfers often populate the waters off of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

“The Outer Banks is one of the most attractive places because you have the best of both worlds. You've got water – smoother – no trees around, and if you want the ocean, you just walk across to the ocean,” kite surfer Demitri Maramenies said.

Maramenies is an internationally known kite surfer. He and business partner Chris Cousins want to set the record straight about the sport’s safety.

“I think we have the perception that every one in kite boarding is an adrenaline junky. While we do like to go out and push the limits - that's part of the sport - we're not going to put our lives at risk,” Cousins said.

New equipment and technology have contributed to improving the sport’s safety, Maramenies said.

Last year, Maramenies and friends took to the waves during Hurricane Noel. Maramenies said his training and experience prevented him from getting hurt.

“Every time I go out I check the weather to make sure I don’t get hurt,” he said.

Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue Chief Mike Morrison said he can only remember one rescue of a kite surfer in the past five years.

“Most of them have got really good training. They know what they are doing and they live for weather like this,” Morrison said.

Maramenies recommends lessons for anyone wanting try the sport.