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Flowin' in the Wind

I’m kiteboarding with Mary Hammond-Tooke across Pamlico Sound, a 300-square-mile estuary of waist-deep water ringed by North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Mary, a 63-year-old former midwife, is attached to a behemoth blue-and-white parabolic kite, dwarfing her with its 25-foot wingspan. Her technique is careful and deliberate: one errant maneuver and the kite could slingshot her airborne or plow her into the water. But Mary fearlessly dips her steering-control bar and the 100-foot kite lines snap taut, sending the nylon sail into a power dive that catapults her downwind. She leans back and throws her weight into her hips, edging her board and carving a deep upwind tack that ejects a foamy white rooster tail. Now she’s slicing through the balmy water with ballerina precision at close to 30 miles per hour—startlingly fast for a relative beginner who has been kiteboarding for only about a year. … Back to Article

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