The Knight Kiteboarding club at the University of Central Florida soared its way to the number one spot in the Collegiate Kiteboarding Association’s 2015-2016 tour.
Kiteboarding is a water sport that requires people to use a large kite to travel across water on a board.
Knight Kiteboarding consists of about 20 members who are passionate about kiteboarding. The club is competing against 12 other schools from the east to west coast, and it is currently in the lead by 40 points.
“We have some talented riders,” said Ben Bazata, senior industrial engineering major and president of Knight Kiteboarding.
UCF has the most members competing. This puts Knight Kiteboarding at an advantage because the more people it has, the more points it can accumulate. There are currently 10 UCF riders in the top 20 rankings.
The judges look for technicality and cleanness. Bazata said that it’s better to nail an easy trick rather than try for a harder one and fail.
“As soon as you’re up on your feet, we’ll put you in the competition,” said Tyler Hoyt, junior computer science major.
The team has been to four stops on the CKA tour so far. It has traveled to Destin, St. Petersburg, Marathon Keys and Cocoa Beach. They were unable to attend the competition in South Carolina due to a lack of funding.
“The problem right now is budgeting,” Bazata said.
He said they are hoping to raise more money next year, so they can attend all of the competitions and buy more equipment. Their last stop is the national competition in North Carolina in June. Fortunately, they will be able to attend this tour.
Bazata and Hoyt train most of the new riders. There are several steps new members must go through before finally getting into the water. They said that the most difficult part of kiteboarding is coordination and having the right weather conditions.
“I’m really proud of the progress everyone’s made, and it’s been super cool to watch everyone grow,” Bazata said.
Although Knight Kiteboarding is coming out on top, these riders don’t take the competition too seriously. They said they love what they do, and they enjoy being out on the ocean no matter what the results are.
“I do it for fun. The worst day of kiting is still a good beach day,” Hoyt said.
Originally published on May 20, 2016.