Kiteboarders



Huntington Beach --


Delta Kiteboarders, a thrill-seeking group, are discovering that Sherman Island is the place to go for some serious air.

RIO VISTA - Blown in from points throughout California and beyond, they have found their breezy mecca. Wind's up, and so are the kites. Wayne Cook and his 12-year-old son, Kalani, of Catalina visited Sherman Island earlier this month to share air with dozens of other kiteboarders. About 17 miles south of Rio Vista on the Sacramento River, Sherman Island has become a magnet for windcatchers. For more than two decades, windsurfers have worked the waters off its Sacramento County park. But now they share the river - and the breeze - with an increasing number of kiteboarders.

 

Developments in technology have made kiteboarding - also called kite surfing - one of the nation's fastest-growing action sports. Almost unknown five years ago, kiteboarders now pop up on almost any watery venue where they can catch a decent breeze.

Kiteboarding's rapid growth has caused controversy as kiters collide on the same waves used by windsurfers or other water-sport enthusiasts. In Southern California, kiters have been kicked off stretches of Huntington Beach in favor of surfers. Kiteboarding has been banned in some Texas wilderness areas to protect birds.

But locally, the kiteboarders and windsurfers manage to get along, sharing the river that runs south of Rio Vista.