We usually hear about MAST’s ambitious soccer athletes, agile cross country runners, and diligent volleyball players, but one student with a boisterous little known talent is Joseph “Kiter” Prieto.
Prieto’s love for kiteboarding started in 2011 when he was twelve. Prieto was at Miami Beach one day when he saw a person kiteboarding. Inspired, Prieto started taking lessons the very next day at Adventure Sports Miami.
Prieto described his experience when he first started training and learning the basics as extremely difficult. Even after five years of practice, it can be strenuous.
“Kiteboarding is an extreme sport which requires wind to practice. The kite is what has all the power. It took me almost eight months to get the hang of it. Every day is different; the wind is either stronger or weaker,” Prieto said.
What makes kiteboarding tricky is that the kite, wind, and person are all equally important when trying to achieve the right balance. Since kiteboarding is considered an extreme sport that can cause major and minor injuries depending on where the impact occurs, the only way to stay safe is to get appropriate training and be in good shape. Still, the occasional wipeout is inevitable.
“The downside is that while training you wipe out a lot and you can hurt yourself. I landed hard on my knee and I couldn’t kite for a few weeks. [Once] the kite fell and it was dragging me in deep water. I thought I was going to drown. Also, I was kiting and a storm came and I got stranded alone in deep water for 30 minutes until a boat came to get me,” Prieto said.
Despite all the pitfalls, Prieto keeps on practicing in order to get to the level he wants to achieve. He strives to progress and trains to achieve those hard to land tricks.
Prieto is currently sponsored by Adventure Sports Miami, as well as Cabrinha, a leading kitesurfing brand. He competes in the freestyle division for junior competitors. He won in the 2015 Miami Kitemasters competition. It is no wonder why this kitemaster has nearly seven kites and five boards in his room.
Prieto’s Instagram account, Josephkiter, features videos and photographs of Prieto in action. His pictures capture the moment he goes up in the air with one swift motion.
“I hope to practice the sport for a long time because of the feeling it creates. Being hooked onto the kite is like being in your own world,” Prieto said.