Kiteboarding on Lake Michigan

The Good Life

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Around six years ago, Erika Lee, a local portrait, family and wedding photographer, was going for a run along the lakefront. She noticed, like she had a few times before, a group of people on wakeboards sliding across the water holding onto bars attached to colorful kites.

“I just thought, ‘That looks fun,’” she said. “I was always trying to get someone to do it with me and no one really would. I just started Googling and found Kiteboard Milwaukee. And they gave lessons.”

Kiteboarding is a sport in which people stand on a wakeboard or a surf board, or, depending on the season, a snowboard, while holding onto a large, u-shaped power kite and use wind to propel them over water or snow.

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“People are surprised when I tell them that we do it here on the Great Lakes,” she said. “It’s fun and it’s thrilling, but it’s also very calming, if that makes any sense. You’re out on the water and it’s kind of your own thing. It’s pretty, it’s peaceful, and it’s also fun and exciting. You can do a lot with it. There’s a lot of different aspects to it … some people jump and do aerial tricks.”

Though Erika said she doesn’t do many tricks, her hobby has taken her places. She and her former kiteboard instructor — the two are now engaged — spent six months teaching kiteboarding in Puerto Rico during the winter of 2012-’13.

“It’s not the easiest to learn here in Milwaukee,” she said. “The wind isn’t consistent. The water is cold. You need wetsuits. But if you stick with it, it’s just a lot of fun.”

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