MY OUTLOOK: Nate McCubbins, Kiteboarder
Nate McCubbins, Kiteboarder
How did you get started in kiteboarding?
In 2005, while watching the
travel channel, I saw one of the first kiteboarders jump over an island. I was
in college, 19 years old and living in Norman. I got so excited, sold
everything I had—including my truck—and bought a 13-meter kite. I spent every
penny on gear.
How would you describe kiteboarding?
A lot like solo sailing. It’s an
adventure almost—like wakeboarding on steroids. Plus you can fly!
How is it different from windsurfing?
Windsurfing is the old-school
guys holding on to a sail while on a surfboard. They are fast but expensive,
tough to pack for travel and require high wind speeds. Kiteboarding has a
distinct advantage over windsurfing due to the surface area of the sails. And
again, with kites you can fly!
How high do you guys jump? How long do you stay aloft?
That depends on the wind and
gusts. Anywhere from 15 to 20 feet is a big jump. The sky is literally the
limit though—if you throw the trick down right. Kiteboarders can control how
high they go, as well as how long their hangtime is, by using different
How would one get involved with kiteboarding?
First thing should be some
online research to see if it’s for you. Kiteboarding is for adrenaline junkies,
people that enjoy water and nature. Taking lessons starts the process. Someone
wouldn’t buy a hang glider and jump off a cliff—it’s the same thing with kiteboarding.
How much does the equipment cost?
The equipment usually costs
around $2000 new, half that if used—that includes the board, kite, harness,
life jacket and helmet.
What is the kiteboarding culture/community in Oklahoma like?
Really positive, like a
brotherhood. Everyone knows everybody as in a small town. It’s like a little
community—hidden in plain site.
What is your favorite trick to do on Lake Hefner?
I like to set my board down on
the ground and jump off the grass right onto the water to start off my session.
It’s a small thing compared to the big jumps but it makes me happy.
Have you kiteboarded anywhere exotic? If so, where?
Sure! I recently kiteboarded in
Tiano Beach in the Grand Bahamas. It was gorgeous! The water was so clear
you could see the fish and everything right beneath you. White sugar sand
beaches. Completely amazing!
Any interesting stories? …close calls? …rescues? …amazing tricks?
In the Bahamas, the wind shifted
offshore (out to sea) in the middle of a session. I performed a
self-rescue, and got saved by a small boat just in time—as four black tipped
sharks were circling my kite and I out near the coral.
When is the best season to kiteboard? Why?
I love the fall. It’s still warm
water, and as long as the air temperature is above 55°, it’s great riding. Fall
provides the most powerful wind, due to the increased air density of a cooler
atmosphere—so more powerful gusts!
What is your favorite part about kiteboarding?
The windier it gets, the faster
Who is the typical kiteboarder?
That’s a tough question. The age
demographic ranges from 14 to 70. The typical kiteboarder is someone who loves
water. They are people who do whatever they set their mind to, no matter what.
Also, women learn faster than men—which surprises a lot of people.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies?
Anything with the word board in
it, I do. You can actually use your kite combined with a snowboard on the snow
to snowkite. The kites really just make any sport with a board better.
If you weren’t obsessed with kiteboarding, what would you be doing?
Something outdoors for sure. Maybe working on a
wind or solar farm. I love to be out in nature.
For more information on kiteboarding, visit okkite.com.