By Marc Hoeksema

Brothers of the wind we are.

With the Lake Michigan dunes as a backdrop, Hoeksema grabs his tail for a photo op. Photo/Pat Taylor

Sounds like something Yoda might say?

There is definitely a feeling of using “the force” when we are out there, pulling our kite left and right to control our path through the sky. Some days a light saber would come in handy when the 600-pound test kite string wraps around your head as you are tumbled in the surf, and all you want is to be free of it!

Even before kiteboarding, there was sailing and windsurfing in my life, and some of my best friends have come from sharing these sports. The thing about kiteboarding is that it provides an amazing freedom as the wind tows you across the surface and into the air on demand.

Jeff Hamilton, a principal at Portage Public Schools, catches air high above the water. Photo/Pat Taylor

Another thing about kiteboarding is the inherent danger associated with it, and the bonding it produces among friends, as we take turns rescuing each other as a line breaks, a kite is destroyed in the surf, a board is lost on the third sandbar, or a leg, rib, or some other body part is broken from a botched landing.

I’ve had my fair share of mishaps, but the drive to continue on is strong. Addiction is a word I often use when referring to this sport, and it is nearly as strong as the day I started. Now that I am a half century old, it may have tapered off a degree or so, but then again, maybe not.

I am, however, taking it easy during this “lock down” because I want more than anything to feel 100 percent healthy during this pandemic! Being out in nature, whether for a walk, bike, run, ski, kite, surf, or whatever is invigorating. In these difficult times many people are turning to nature to alleviate the stress of our situation.

Whether flying above the water or walking a path through the woods, let’s be safe and do our best to make it through this together.

-Marc Hoeksema of Norton Shores is a professional photographer and avid waterman who excels in a number of water-based sports. Back on Sunday, March 15, Hoeksema, and Portage Public Schools Principal Jeff Hamilton enjoyed a great day of kiteboarding, which produced these great photos shot by Norton Shores’ Pat Taylor.