Watch a 70-yr-old kiteboarder sailing the waves at Cheney State Park on a recent windy day.

Ninety degrees with a  35-mph wind – that’s the way that kiteboarders like it while riding waves at Cheney Reservoir. I stopped to film them this afternoon and cheered as they took to the air again and again. Using boogie boards and harnesses connected to large, nylon kites that generate amazing power, the riders cut the waves and surfed at high speed. Jumps as high as 40 feet and speeds of 35 mph are possible when conditions are just right.

  This is a very physical sport, and while always described as fun, it’s also exhausting. A waist harness hooks the control bar, taking extreme pressure off the arms. Both hands are needed to control the kite, and deft balance is essential. Fortunately, if one falls, the kite has ample power to jerk the rider upright again. Usually, even the strongest riders can do no more than an hour at a time.   Amazingly, one of the riders today was 70-year-old Louis Self, a former Kansan who now lives in Arizona. He’s kiteboarded all over the western hemisphere, but this was his first time at Cheney since he took up the sport 11 years ago.   His personalized Arizona license plate said it all: “Fly Now.” See the video here: