A Rossland woman has opened what she says is the world’s first kitefoil academy.
Deanne Steven says 4 Elements Kiteboarding and the Red Mountain Academy have teamed up to allow student athletes to both build skills in the growing sport, and keep up with their academic work.
“It’s kind of a crazy idea,” admits Stevens, a teacher at Selkirk College’s school of business.
But as they say, it’s just so crazy, it might work.
In case you’re not in the loop, kitefoiling is a hot new sport gaining popularity around the world.
“It’s a race sport, and falls under the sailing group of sports for things like the Olympics,” she says, noting it’s going to be included in the world games in Paris in 2024. “It’s a large kite attached to you, but rather than a traditional surf board or kite board, the rider is on a hydrofoil, which rises out of the water as the board gains speed.”
Steven says her son Tayne got hooked on the sport recently, and she began researching where he could further his skills. It soon became obvious there was nothing out there, so she began to think about starting her own. She realized Red Mountain Academy, which allows gifted skiers the chance to do sports while going to school, was a good fit for her program.
“The Academy is an umbrella for people who want to plug into a program that includes sports and academics at the same time,” she says. “They do schooling online with coaches through the Seven Summit Centre for Learning.
“They can keep up with their studies, that’s the beauty of it. As a parent, we don’t want our kids to just be doing a sport all the time, we want them to keep up with their studies, and this allows them to do both.”
The Red Mountain Kitefoiling Academy’s website says it provides “an exceptional kitefoiling and training program as well as an individual athlete advancement plan in a competitive, emotionally and physically healthy atmosphere, that will help each athlete mature and reach his or her maximum potential as a kitefoiler and young adult.”
The athletes will spend five months in Rossland (September to October, and April to June), studying at Seven Summits Centre for Learning and attending dryland training. The students will then move to La Ventana, Mexico (from November to March) where they will be able to kite on a daily basis and train with 4 Elements Kiteboarding.
4 Elements Kiteboarding’s head coach is Xantos Villegas, who has been coaching for 11 years. As an IKO level 2 certified instructor, he combines advanced progression techniques with his extensive knowledge as a professional athlete. Xantos is currently ranked eighth in the Kitefoil World Series Standings.
“This is an exceptional opportunity for athletes to complete high school while also allowing them to train full time,” says Steven. “We are excited to be able to put together this opportunity to create world class athletes in this growing sport.”
Steven says they will have about four students begin the program this fall (her son among them). After that they’ll see how many other kitefoilers they can attact.
“Seeing as this will be an Olympic sport in 2024, we know there will really be a demand for it,” she says. “It really is a growing sport, we are seeing tremendous growth in this discipline.
“As more and more youth do it, this program will grow.”
But by how much, she says it’s hard to say.
“We’re only limited by how many home stays we can figure out, and by how many students we can get into the Seven Summits School for Learning.”
Steven couldn’t say how much the course would cost to take. She says it will be different for each athlete, depending on where they come from and their needs.
For more information, go to redmountainacademy.com.