Kiteboarding around the Cranberry Isles earlier this year, longtime summer resident Adam Vance catches some air. Wearing a dry suit, he soared up to 50 feet off the water and logged a hang time of eight seconds. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA BRACY

Waters off Cranberry perfect for kiteboarding

CRANBERRY ISLES — Catching air around the islands is something Adam Vance has been doing for years.

In 2012, Vance was one of 12 world professionals in the sport of kiteboarding who was invited to demonstrate it at the Olympic Format Trials. They were successful enough to have the sport approved as a future Olympic sport in the sailing class. Vance is currently training to qualify to participate in the Paris 2024 summer games.

“Hopefully I will qualify to compete for Canada or the U.S., because I am a dual citizen,” he said in a recent interview from his home base of Seattle, Wash.

The 4-foot board is attached by long strings to a 13-foot kite. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA BRACY

Earlier this spring, Vance came to Maine and took a team of photographers and videographers out on 46-degree waters to capture him kiteboarding. During the daylong venture, Vance, wearing a dry suit, was able to get up to 50 feet off the water and a hang time of eight seconds at one point. After six hours on the water and traveling approximately 16 miles around the outer perimeter of the Cranberry Isles, Vance said he was experiencing full-body cramps.

“I have always loved kiteboarding out there because I love sailing,” said Vance, 51, in the waters around the Great Harbor of Mount Desert Island, where he grew up sailing with his father.

Since becoming an official Olympic sport, kiteboarding is growing in popularity among young water sport enthusiasts, Vance said. He began in 1999 when the sport was introduced and equipment was elementary. Vance now rides a 4-1/2-foot long board, weighing 10 pounds, which is attached by strings to a large kite.

Choosing which kite to employ depends on the wind speed. Vance typically uses kites within the 9 to 13-foot range. Smaller kites are used for higher wind speeds. Ideal wind speed for training is 10-20 knots.

Vance said will participate in at least four different racing events this year.

“We will race in as little as 4 knots,” said Vance, who most recently placed 29th at the Hydrofoil Pro Tour in San Francisco. “I haven’t been doing as well as I used to. My competition is only getting younger. I can’t claim to be one of the top in the world at this point.”



Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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