Nice people can be found anywhere at any time, never give hope

I am out looking at my Kitesurf gear and an old story comes to mind:

We arrive in Jamaica, the sun shines and the wind blows. Our resort is on the beach. Perfect conditions for kitesurfing. Although hardly anybody does. My connection with the locals is instant, it’s refreshing to see. I waste no time to set my gear up and ride out into the Deep Blue. I have not kited for a year but who cares, right?

In the middle of the sea, a mile or two from shore with no one around, just water and waves. My mind finds its peace and I forget myself. The waves get bigger as the wind picks up and I am still in the zone.

One moment of inattention, one mistake…that’s all it took to have a bad landing. My kite hits the water, my lines are twisted and my board is gone haywire. When things go wrong, they do so very quickly.

In that split second my focus is total. I am out there on my own, there is no kitesurfing school or rescue service. I need to make it back to land on my own, one way or another. It’s far, their is a strong current and big waves.

Forget the board, I need my kite up in the air, its my only propulsion, its my engine, its my lifeline! The lines remain twisted and stuck, I try my best but don’t even know which way I need to turn to unloosen them. Waves are pulling me down and breaking my line of sight. Suddenly, the kite get power, takes me way out of the water and slams me back down. The kite hits the water hard too. It’s not good for me, its not good for the kite. That type of impact could break the leading edge and I could not rescue myself anymore. My harness digs deep into my ribs and my skin turn blue and I forget my pain to focus once more.

Finally my kite goes to 12 o’clock and stay there. I’M SAFE. Hurt but safe. I know I can make it back. I look for my board to no avail. In these 3 meter waves I cannot find it back, the kite pulled me maybe hundreds of meters away. My board is truly gone.

I body drag myself back to the beach, my ribs are hurting, I am tired out and the pull is so hard that I am aware of my shorts been around my ankles! The last thing I want is to arrive at the beach naked. I sort myself out before coming onshore.

My wife and friends look with me along the coastline but there is nothing to see. I put the word out and in no time loads of people are on the look out. When the night falls and the board is not there I realise that I have truly lost it.

I get back to my suite and cannot find the fins to my second board. I’m stuck, is this the end of my kitesurfing holiday I wonder? I call Tino, a local rider, one of the best I’ve seen, I tell him my story and he offers me his board immediately. “Definitely Bro, you’ll have my board in the mornin’!” No questions, no paperwork, no money, no insurance… kiteboarding spirit Bob Marley Style: One Love!

He continues: “I’ll let the fishermen know about it, don’t worry we’ll find it for you Bro! You’re a real person, for real Man!” It’s nice to hear that I’m accepted and appreciated by the locals but between you and me, I don’t believe that I will see that board again.

The next day as I tell him about my landings in the waves, he gives me an impromptu lesson. He looks at me in the eyes and says: “You ride with heart, spirit and dignity, I like that, you are ready to take it to the next level Man. You are ready to go unhooked!” A beer in one hand, a spliff between the lips – I think he had one to many but appreciate the compliments nonetheless. He tell me to trust him and gives my a theatrical lesson in Jamaican slang – in physics, maths and kitesurfing feeling… I tell him that I trust him and we get to work. He resets my kite, de powers it & changes my riding style. He tells me to go for a couple of runs and jumps.

He is extatic: “I told you Bro, now you ride like a professional” A fist bump later I’m off again. I haven’t fallen badly since, I land nearly all my jumps perfectly, ride the waves one handed. Thank you Tino!

A couple of days later a guy comes kitesurfing to the beach. I run to help him land. He asks me: “do you know a kite surfer on this resort, he lost his board a few days earlier”.

Thank you Tino, Brian & Buddy Huggins!

On my next post you will see the video of the same story from miles away.

December 2017.

Karim Sekkat

Entrepreneur, keen sportsman & family man

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