Cabarete Adventure with Kevin Langeree
Uncharted Kite Sessions is officially on the road! Or on the water, to be correct. After the launch in July it seems that UKS has set its standard for the upcoming clinics around the world with some of the absolute best kitesurfers on Planet Earth. World Champion and RedBull King of the Air rider Kevin Langeree brought his expertise to Cabarete for both clinics on the Dominican North Shore.
Cabarete is known for its excellent conditions for kitesurfing, its many and diverse spots and its buzzing kiteboarding and watersports lifestyle. Mother Nature did not disappoint even one day and brought out the best features that Cabarete and the Dominican Republic have to offer.
Day 1 First day was great. We all met @ 11am at one of the oldest kiteboarding locations in the Dominican Republic, and one of the first schools to ever exist: Kite Club Cabarete, who provides a perfect setting for anything that has to do with kiteboarding. We spent the morning under the Kite Club palm trees getting to know each other and building the stoke up for riding together all day long for the next 5 days.
At 12:30 we geared up and hit the water, with Eyefly Films Oliver Dadswell filming from shore. As video evaluation is such an important tool for us at the Uncharted clinics, Kevin and I rode with everyone taking turns with each client, riding, watching, filming and correcting their technique.
We broke for a delicious lunch on the deck of Kite Club (one of the few places in town with a lounge-like feel to it, right on the beach with the most spectacular live show from morning until evening). We watched the young Dominicans trying to show off to Kevin like high school boys trying to get the pretty girls attention. Fish tacos, banana smoothies, fresh salads, all consumed under the summer sun.
After lunch we went back onto the water for our second session. Oliver continued to film a little from shore, and we continued to ride, coach, smile and have fun. After our session we returned to the lounge on Kite Clubs deck, doing what is suitable in the DR after a day on the water; sipping cervecas, watching the last of the sun set behind the point as people threw down their best tricks. We split as a group only to reunite at Le Bistro Francais for a delicious meal "French Style".
Day 2 started out with video review of what we filmed on our first day. Everyone gets the opportunity to compare and learn through studying and picking apart every move caught on the camera.
"We go in-depth" in our evaluation, we make sure to look at more than the obvious. With our experienced expert coaches, we are able to go in to detail on kite flying, stance, positioning and those small little things we never think will make a big difference to our riding. We've experienced clients improving with record speed thanks to these video evaluation sessions. Sometimes the changes are tiny, but improves the way we manage ourselves out there in ways we did not know we could", says Uncharted boss Andreas Lagopoulos.
We watch each others videos and learn from one another. Kevin and I review the videos, point of technical improvements, and the coach will even show his personal videos for a back to back comparison of technique. Showing the right way to do your specific trick/movement.
After video, we grabbed a quick snack, and then headed out and got straight to work on what we learned in our video review. Again Kevin and I will follow and coach. We'll have a our first session, have more fish tacos and smoothies on the KC deck, and run out for a second session. Beers and smiles after followed by dinner in the evening at Eze Bar right there on the beach. Cabarete has an amazing setting of beach bars and restaurant that we know to take advantage of with our Uncharted guests.
Day 3 started with advanced kite flying lesson day taught by Micheal Gebhardt. Michael is the most decorated sailor in U.S. history having competed in 5 Olympics, winning multiple medals. He is a 6 time world champion, and 23 times national champion. Michael currently coaches former world speed record holder Rob Douglas, current foil board world champion Nicola Porcella, and PKRA freestyle pro Robinson Hilario. Michael is one of the best coaches in the world, and is a mad scientist genius when it comes to kite technology. Today we learn how do things with a kite we never knew a kite could do ;)
Michael "Gebi" began with detailed explanation of kite flying physics 101. Explaining how and why kites do what they do, and how to master that information to get the most out of your kite flying, and to get the most out of your session. Together with Kevin, we observed and pointed out other riders’ techniques as we watched from the deck.
We proceeded down to the beach where the lesson continued. Gebi kept giving explanation as Kevin strapped himself into his kite and began showing in real life what Gebi had been explaining in theory. As Gebi spoke, he’d ask Kevin to demonstrate different technical kite flying techniques from looping, pivoting, stalling, hot launching, creating apparent wind, and the list goes on.
It was time to put the theory to the test. Everyone hooked into their kites, left from the point on Kite Beach, and began advance body dragging. The goal; looping the kite across the entire wind window, learning how to use the entire window, not just the top 20%. By the end of the lesson, everyone was a Looping God.
Now time for the board! Another session on the board with loops in every transition, and it was now second nature. Now everyone knows how to use the whole wind window, and have become masters of their kites.
By the end, our bodies craved meat. We met for dinner on the beach in Cabarete for the fantastic barbeque of restaurant Los Gringos. Like cannibals we feasted on ribs, chicken and churascos. The meat was delicious; the beers were cold, and the smiles broad. It's Cabarete, where we indulge as much as we possibly can. Good food, good wind, good people, good everything...
Day four began in the flat-water oasis La Boca; the river mouth where the Rio Yasica River collides with the Atlantic Ocean. It's the perfect marriage of ocean breeze and butter smooth river flat water. La Boca is the perfect spot to practice your pop, your edging, any and all freestyle, but also strapless technical riding like tacking and jibing. As the river mouth is relatively narrow, it allowed Kevin and I to stand on the shore and watch all the riders, assessing their technical strengths. After a short analysis, Kevin and I also joined on the water to show by example. It was a fantastic session where everyone finally was able to practice his or her moves on smooth flat water.
After a quick lunch of fish tacos and assorted tex-mex bowls from "Gorditos" under the shade of the palm trees, we hooked back in a prepared for our down wind journey. We departed as group, making our way up river and out the channel mouth into the open ocean where we were greeted by head high waves and strong current. For the next 2 hours we glided down wind playing in the small beach break, the large ocean swell, and the perfect smooth wave faces that broke over Cabarete reef. It was an excellent challenge for those who's down wind experience was limited before the clinic. And for those who were experienced riding with the wind, it was a wave rider's paradise.
We landed at Kite Club, laid our gear in the beach and celebrated our day with several cold cervesas. We broke as a group only to reunite at dinner over a fabulous meal at the beachfront restaurant Otra Cosa. We gorged ourselves on Langoustine, ceviches, tartars and fresh fish. By the end of the day we were fed, hydrated and very very tired. Exactly the way it should be!
Day five began early with a trip into the mountains. Twenty minutes out of Cabarete behind the small town of Sabaneta we met Ute at her place Rancho El Contento. A small horseback riding operation that specializes in taking you deep into the jungle of the Dominican Republic to really see, taste and feel the country. We rode through small campo's that were only accessible via horse. We crossed rivers that were almost as deep as the horse. Needless to say, our shoes didn't stay dry.
We stopped in a small mountain town to refresh at the local "convenience" store, known as "Colmados". Cookies and soda for all my friends!! As the day began to heat up, we came upon the mouth of a fresh water mountain stream. The water was crystal clear, and icy cold. A great refresher after dismounting from our trusty steeds. A quick dip and back on the horse as they say. A small tour later, and we were back at base camp ready to head back to Cabarete, and ready to trade our rides, horses for boards.
Arriving back in Cabarete we were greeted by 20+ knot winds, and beautiful waves. Riders' choice! The choice fell on Kite Beach and everyone hit the water while Kevin and I followed each rider separately. It was a day to fine-tune everything that they had learned in the previous days. Whether it was stance, board position, kite flying, it was all just perfecting the new tools they'd acquired. By the end of the session, and the end of the clinic, we were all thoroughly exhausted.
One last dinner. When the sun set, we met at Cabaretes finest restaurant Bliss for a final dinner. Somehow our group had blossomed to now over twenty people who all wanted to join our fun. All were welcome. After many surf & turfs, several bottles of wine, and countless stories of the week’s adventures, we were spent. By midnight the group were nothing but smiles and half closing eyes. We hugged, we kissed, and we all promised to meet up on the next adventure with Uncharted Kite Sessions.
Until we meet again on the coastal waters on northern Brazil with Wave World Champion and KSP wave world tour co-foudner Mitu Monteiro and up-and-coming pro Sebastian Ribeiro. Get ready for downwinders as far as your kite can go...
You wanna come with? Check out our Brazil info, and don't hesitate to write us if you got questions.
Aloha, hasta la proxima! See you on the water.
Thank you to all the participants for making our Cabarete stage a total blast and success! Thanks to Kevin Langeree for the dedication and thank you Michael Gebhardt for adding another layer to the Uncharted Kite Sessions coaching.
- Andreas Lagopoulos