Mike’s flying even higher now

Kiteboarding is flourishing in East End thanks to the energy of instructor Mike Minichiello who runs the Kitehouse Cayman business out there.

Kitehouse’s international standing climb another notch recently when it completed the first Professional Air Sports Association Instructor Certification and Examination programme in the Cayman Islands.

The class was taught by Hawaii’s PASA master examiner Christopher Nygard.

The new PASA certified instructors were: George Evans (Australia), Laura Clark (UK), Jason Kerr (New Zealand), Jasper Meddock (USA), Rich Franks (UK), Traveler Terpening (Alaska), George Overpeck (Alaska), Nate Tussing (USA).

Minichiello finished his first stage of becoming an instructor examiner. Another instructor course will be held in Cayman in February, after which Minichiello will be a fully certified instructor examiner, making Cayman the first PASA training centre in the Caribbean that teaches from beginners to instructors.

‘All interested young Caymanians that have a passion for the ocean and extreme sports, should contact me about our 2010 intern programme,’ said Minichiello.

Kiteboarding is one of the fastest growing new water sports. It is the infusion of multiple other sports such as kiteflying, wakeboarding and windsurfing.

This fascinating combination realizes man’s eternal dream of flying. Specially designed large power kites propel their pilots across the water on kite boards.

Minichiello said: ‘With kiteboarding, it is possible to get insane air. Experienced pilots are getting 20 to 40 feet of air and performing amazing aerials. Kiteboarding can also be a year-round sport anywhere in the world.

‘In summer, you can enjoy flight off waves or flat water and in the winter, you can carve through the snow. Kiteboarding is easy to learn, it is very portable, affordable, and lots of fun.

‘As with any dangerous and physically demanding extreme sport, it is always recommended to take lessons from a professional and certified instructor.’

Minichiello is happy how the PASA course went. ‘Everybody passed this section of the course, though there are some other requirements to gain the full certification, including each student must complete a full lesson plan, emergency plan, CPR course, boat safe course. Most of them are just completing those things now and will soon be certified PASA level 1 kiteboarding instructors.’

The five day course focused on giving the instructor candidates tools to help them be safe, professional and efficient kiteboarding instructors.

It covered a range of topics such as; teaching techniques, equipment, teaching areas, rescue scenarios, insurance and liability. There was a classroom section and a practical portion on the water/beach, with an exam and evaluation at the end.

‘PASA helps us with certification guidelines, marketing, insurance, instructor placement and teaching materials. Now we have five certified kiteboarding instructors on staff that are trained with the most recent teaching techniques.

‘In addition, I am completing my PASA instructor examiner training, and will start to lead instructor training courses myself early next year.

‘I have been teaching for eight years, and hold all the major instructor certifications.

‘Throughout the year we will host different courses and seminars as a continuing education programme, to keep old and new instructors current with the latest techniques and equipment. Hopefully this will be great for our business and this island, bringing in all types people from all over the world.

‘The windy season is just starting, so from now until Christmas we are just getting people back out on the water.

‘We are offering refresher deals for people that haven’t been out in a while, and also we have good local discounts and gear/lesson packages to get people out there at the beginning of the windy season.

‘Christmas is a very busy time for us, with good wind and lots of tourist coming to the island to kiteboard with us.

‘This year has been great all around. There has been lots of really fun windy days. Having some top pro riders come visit and getting Cayman Islands on the cover of SBC Kiteboard magazine was a highlight for sure.

‘But mainly it is just cool to see more and more people enjoying the great kiting conditions that this island has to offer.’