The kids and I have ended up at Jabberwock beach more than any other beach during this summer in Antigua. Partially this is because of its accessibility from our location. But even with its proximity we didn’t get there today till nearly 2:30 pm. When we did get there the sun was high and the wind was energetic. Even from a distance away we could see the huge vibrantly colored kite sails that were suspended by thin cords in the air over the beach. The kites belonged to Kitesurf Antigua, a local Kite surfing outfit. I met Adam Anton who runs the kite surfing business for Alex Portman the owner. The business, he told me is the only one in Antigua doing kite surfing. They are out on Jabberwock beach every day when there is wind except for Sundays.
I watched Adam’s former student Jake Kelsick demonstrating some advanced kite surfing techniques. Being whisked along the turquoise sea by the warm Caribbean wind looked fantastically fun. As if on cue Jake caught mad air. My kids gasped. The air time looked more than a little exhilarating. I asked Adam what background was needed to try the sport. He told me that anyone can do it as long as they are comfortable swimmers. “About ten hours of instructional clinic is needed before you are ready to go solo” he said. The clinic costs $650 US. Adam informed me that he is an International Kite Boarding Association certified instructor and that Kitesurf Antigua is authorized to give out certificates to students upon successful completion of the clinic. The certificates are recognized by the International Kite Boarding Association. Anyone from twelve years of age on up can join the clinic. Adam didn’t specify any no age that is too old to kite surf. His oldest kite surfing student, he told me, was nearly seventy years old.
Adam was an altogether cool and knowledgeable character whom I would definitely feel comfortable receiving Kite surfing instruction from. He told me he was raised in Antigua so I had to ask him where he was schooled. Turns out he went to my alma mater, St. Joseph’s academy in Antigua. I was pleased to hear from him that Brother Armstrong, the only name among the staff at the school that we remembered in common, was still at the school when he attended. The young kite surfer Jake was also a St. Joseph’s Academy student. Still in attendance at the school, Jake had also just gotten a sponsorship from Cabrinha Kites and was a member of Team Cabrinha. I congratulated Jake. The third member of their crew is a kite surfer named Andre Phillip who is one of the top riders in the world.
Lots of their customers, Adam told me, are people from England who are into flying stunt kites. With many cheap flights existing between the U.K. and Antigua those stunt kite enthusiasts find that its more fun to learn over here rather than to learn in the cold.