It all started one summer day on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. On my day off I had always liked going to Tulum, to enjoy the sea, beaches and friends.
During a typical tropical storm which often brings tremendous waves and strong winds, I was enjoying a cold beer and I noticed something I had never seen: in the distance, out in the ocean,was someone connected to a huge kite! They were out flying over the ocean enjoying these extreme conditions!
I was mesmerized. After that moment, I could not stop thinking about how I could learn and practice this new sport called kiteboarding or kitesurfing.
I set out to learn! Learning was not easy, especially during the first year (2003) when there were no schools, instructors or videos and the equipment did not have the safety systems that we have now.
Through a friend, I had the chance to try for the first time the thrill of flying a kite on the beach. For lack of knowing what I was doing, I was dragged through the sand on the beach until I smashed it into a palm tree. I was shocked by the tremendous power of the kite. I got up, filled with sand and my heart pounding. I was hooked! These were my first "steps" which has turned into a lifestyle and, of course, my work.
And this was the beginning of Extreme Control Adventure.
During the summer of 2005, with the help of my girlfriend, Heather Froeming, we opened Tulum’s first kiteboarding school. That summer there were two hurricanes Emily and Wilma. The latter, arriving only two days after opening our kite school on Tulum beach. We were a little disillusioned, not knowing how to interpret these signals that nature sent us. But, we decided to stay in Tulum and reorganize the school. With the support of several friends digging out over 1 meter of sand that had filled our little school, we reorganized everything to be ready for our first students.
Back in those days we ruled the beach and Tulum became a kiteboarder’s haven. An empty caribbean beach with all our kiter friend and clients. It was a success. We held many events and our little school turned into quite an operation with 6-8 instructors working for us every season. Over the years we’ve had many fun experiences and many dramas.
I remember once when we went for an expedition with a group of friends to the Sian Ka'an Bisopshere Reserve, south of Tulum to try and catch the strong north wind. The day was perfect with winds around 20/25 knots and good waves on the reef. Once I inflated my 9 Meter, I went into the water without waiting for anybody and headed straight into the waves about 1000 meters offshore. I was enjoying the ride until something unexpected happened; a wave of one meter and a half took me out. I completely lost control of the kite and the board and was smashed in the wave feeling an unbelievable pain in my shoulder. I then realized I had dislocated it! I thought I would never get back to the beach. My kite was in the water and my board nowhere to be seen. At that moment, I felt like an angel came down to support me. I was able to relaunch the kite using my other arm. Great news, except I suddenly realized I had to go back bodydragging without my board and dragging my dislocated shoulder through the water. Then like a miracle my board was right in front of me! I was able to get back riding again and after a painful navigation back to the beach, my friends rescued me.
We took the long, hard, painful, bumby, dirt road ride back to Tulum and hunted down the famous huesero, bonesetter, Don Aurelio. He attempted to put my shoulder back in place with a tennis ball but that didn’t work out. The pain was really wearing on me. We had to go all the way to Playa del Carmen, another hour drive, to see a specialist. Heather was waiting at the hospital and finally with the help of a strong relaxant, they were able to put my shoulder back in place. Always an adventure.
In 2007, we went on a scouting mission to Brazil with a couple of good friends. Our mission: to kite. We traveled around the Ceará coast exploring the best kiting locations we had experienced so far. We found a kiteboarding heaven in Cumbuco, Brazil. People from all over the world taking advantage of some of the best conditions on the planet. This was a kiteboarders world...and I had found my place. That was to be the first of 8 years traveling to Brazil. Every year we rent a beachfront penthouse and have the times of our life kiting until we can’t kite anymore. Over the years, I have had the best times creating a close group of friends and new-comers to enjoy in the fun. Every year a new adventure.
The best part of our job is being in nature every single day. Constantly seeing amazing marine life such as turtles, rays, and occasionally sharks reminding us that we are the visitors and we owe them respect. Over the years we started to see more and more plastic pollution in the ocean. We started investigating and learned some really disturbing facts about our plastic use in the world. We decided we needed to make a change in our lives and try to share the message. We started the campaign, No Mas Plastik, to educate people on the problems of plastic pollution and what we can do immediately to help. I have a dream someday to kite in a clean and beautiful ocean with my animal friends, especially to kite with dolphins!
I am so excited to say that we have had 10 years of adventures with many students, teachers, friends and visitors who have been a part of this incredible project. It continues to surprise me everyday.
I would like to thank all my instructors over the years, who without them, Extreme Control would not have been possible. There are too many to be named but you know who you are! I want to mention especially Heather Froeming and Robert Nahuat, who from the beginning, every day, supported and encouraged me to go ahead with the project helped in all aspects of the the operation of Extreme Adventure.
Today, after 10 years of constant work on the beach, I still enjoy kiteboarding as always. We keep sharing the sport with people across the world. To me it is a religion and a lifestyle. It invites us to be respectful to the environment and have fun.
Since 2007, we have been exploring all areas around Tulum, from Sian Ka'an to Bacalar, Holbox to Celestun, We have travelled to incredible places like San Crisanto, Telchac Puerto, Rio Lagartos and San Felipe. During our expeditions we found conditions from 20 – 30 incredible knots, deserted beaches and amazing people.
The future of Extreme Control Adventures is aimed more and more toward a little kiting paradise in the Yucatan called El Cuyo. The summer of 2015 we opened a school of kiteboarding and paddleboarding in El Cuyo Yucatan. We rented a small beachfront wooden house that makes me feel like we are in Hawaii. We are continuing our project here, which in my opinion, will be like Cumbuco, Brazil with amazing wind conditions, pristine beaches, beautiful houses facing the sea, where lovers of the sport and nature can enjoy paradise.
El Cuyo is inhabited by incredible people who love the sea and have their livelihood from fishing. The local guys are already very well organized and also offer kite services and have houses to rent.
I also see this as a great opportunity to make this place an example for sustainable growth. Hopefully, with environmentally friendly sports such as kiteboarding or Paddleboarding , which do not use oil or fuel, but only the force of nature, we can attract people who want to respect our beautiful natural world.
EXTREME CONTROL ADVENTURE