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Kiteboarding

If most Americans read or heard that on any given day, chances are they wouldn’t have a clue what it meant. But the simple Facebook post by a Door County kiteboarder would have his friends over to Anclam Beach in Baileys Harbor within an hour.dclv10i02-toc-Kiteboard-1

Like a mountain town sub-culture where the forecast for a blizzard brings out the best in ski bums or on the beach when perfect sets keep surfers stoked, the prospect of a breeze from the south makes the dozen or so kiteboarders that call Door County home salivate. If the forecast is favorable enough, it might even draw fellow Midwestern kiteboarders up for a session.

The geography of the Door Peninsula and surrounding islands is ideal for the sport, where water access is available for most any wind condition, but Anclam Beach serves as an anchor for kiteboarders. For over a decade, the horseshoe shape of the harbor with Ridges Beach at its closed, northern end has provided a safe arena for the sport – at least as safe as it can get with an extreme sport.

While onlookers gather, “oooing” and “aweing” at the seemingly death-defying stunts, the risks are more calculated than they appear, and the group is self-policed. There’s an understanding:  their reputation is a collective one. Someone’s error in judgment may ruin everyone’s chance to catch the next breeze.

So, the next time it’s dumping wind, keep your eyes on the horizon for a kiteboarder around the county. And, if it’s a south wind, be sure to head on over to Anclam.