Kiteboarding: one more gift of adventure from Lake Erie

Mar 19, 2024 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Caleb Pribanic of Sandusky glides across Lake Erie as he kiteboards near Lakeview Park in Port Clinton. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

From far away, the cloth floating above Lake Erie near Lakeview Park looked like a large kite, and it was, with one exception – Caleb Pribanic was attached to it. Pribanic, of Sandusky, was kiteboarding, a relatively new sport that connects a harnessed rider on a surfboard to a kite. On March 10, Pribanic’s kite was pulling him across, and sometimes above, the water.

Unlike windsurfing, which uses a sail for thrust, kiteboarding – sometimes called kitesurfing – utilizes a kite that works similarly to a parachute.

Caleb Pribanic’s kite, which can pull him into the air above the water, looks appropriately like a wing as he takes a moment to catch his breath after kiteboarding in Port Clinton. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“You have a line and a bar, and the bar is basically your control mechanism,” Pribanic said. “The harness connects to the line and allows you to get pulled around by the kite.”

Pribanic grew up in Sandusky and now owns Probo Sales in the city. Living close to the lake inspired a dream to try kiteboarding, and he delved into the sport about two years ago.

“I finally pulled the trigger and got into it. I took one lesson and then taught myself by watching videos online and just getting out there,” he said.

Because of its risks, kiteboarding is considered an extreme sport. Pribanic was lifted into the air by his kite several times on March 10, and without the proper skills he had developed in the last two years, he could have been hurt by a harsh slam into the water.

Caleb Pribanic is one of the few local kiteboarders in the area. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“It can definitely get dangerous,” he said. “If you know how to manipulate the kite, you can land really soft, no matter how high you go. You have to know how to control the kite when you’re coming down.”

Kiteboarding is weather dependent, but Lake Erie often offers a perfect day for the sport. Depending on the weather, Pribanic sometimes kiteboards in Port Clinton and sometimes in Sandusky.

“Kiteboarding is very dependent on wind direction. I have different spots I go depending on wind direction,” he said. “Wind speed, for a guy my size, has to be at least 15 miles an hour, but over 20 is ideal.”

Pribanic said kiteboarding is a relatively new sport. Although he’s met a few other kiteboarders, not many locals have caught onto it, even though Lake Erie can provide ideal conditions.

“I’m so blessed to live here and be able to take advantage of that,” he said. “We live in a perfect place for kiteboarding.”

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