Myers Park kiteboarders chase adrenaline on Cayuga | Lansing



The local kiteboarder Wing Eng surfs in the water at Myers Park in Lansing.



When Wing Eng, an Ithaca-based and avid kiteboarder, helped set up a weather station at Myers Park in Lansing, he didn’t expect it to negatively affect his working life.

“The weather information keeps encouraging me to leave my desk, put on my wetsuit and get out on the water,” laughed Eng.

On almost every windy day, even in winter, several kiteboarders (also known as kiters) can have fun in Myers off the coast.

Kitesurfing is a high-intensity sport that uses wind power with the help of a large kite attached to fly lines and a control rod. The kiter is strapped into a harness and usually wears a wetsuit and rides on a bi-directional board with foot straps.



The local kiteboarder Wing Eng surfs in the water at Myers Park in Lansing.

The local kiteboarder Wing Eng surfs in the water at Myers Park in Lansing.



“Getting the feeling of acceleration and jumping in the air is an adrenaline rush,” said Eng. “Somehow the acceleration makes me happy.” He moved to the area in 2003 and has been in boarding school since 2004.

“It’s a zen experience,” repeated Jennifer Wells, another active Myers kiteboarder. “When I’m kitesurfing, there is no time concept.” Wells teaches at Ithaca College and also owns Paddle-N-More. As one of the few kiters in the region, she learned the sport six years ago in Sicily.

Local enthusiasts prefer Myers over other parks like Long Point or Stewart Park. “It’s open with no trees and with a flat area that makes launching more efficient,” said Suan Hsi Yong, another resident of the area who tried kite surfing but is now windsurfing. Myers also prefers closely. “The water is cleaner, the northwest wind is perfect and there is a great lawn,” he said.

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Despite the park’s popularity, Steven Southworth, a certified instructor and regular kiter, doesn’t think Myers is a beginner-friendly place. “The wind is not steady, which makes it difficult to learn and teach,” said Southworth. All kiters suggest learning in a place where the wind is more stable and predictable, such as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Standard equipment starts at around $ 5,000. Most kiters have three or more kite sizes and styles to accommodate a range of wind speeds. Further equipment features include flying lines, control rods, belts, kiteboard, wetsuit and helmet. Wells said she had five kites, three harnesses, and three boards.

Kitesurfing is not easy. Beginners must acquire basic skills, including kite and line handling, wind concepts, navigation, as well as launching, restarting, and landing. “It’s an extreme sport that requires a lot of practice,” Wells said. “Kiters were hurled into trees, dragged over rocks, and kites slammed into park visitors.”

“When you’re first learning, you have a hard time going upwind, so you’re stranded and have to go back,” said Eng. “We call this ‘the path of shame’.”

Both the kiter and the spectators need to be careful. “When the wind is strong, landing alone can be scary,” said Eng. “People get curious and rush to the kite, and it would be easy to wrap the kite around them and cause injuries.”

“The security aspect is an integral part of the local community,” said Yong. “You take it very seriously.”

The weather is obviously a critical factor. In 2017, several kiters organized a GoFundMe to raise money for a high-end weather station in Myers. The successful program raised nearly $ 5,000 and the group worked with the City of Lansing to set it up.

“The weather station is a fantastic resource,” said Eng. “It draws the wind through the day and helps with forecasting.” The station uses WiFi from the park to upload data to websites like WindAlert and Weather Underground.

Eng, along with Southworth and others, regularly kitesurf in Myers in the winter. He wears a thick wetsuit and, depending on the temperature, up to three layers underneath, as well as a jacket and a life jacket. “It takes me half an hour to get dressed for winter kitesurfing,” he said. “And another half hour to undress.”

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