Part of me is bummed and part of me is happy that kiting is no longer on the menu for the Rio Olympics. The bummed part is mostly for all the people that donated their time and energy to showcase kiting to the sailing world. That was a lot of work, and frankly it must be frustrating to run all around the world attending meetings and events only to have the decision reversed. The happy part is that now we don’t have to deal with all the logistical nightmares associated with Olympic selection and we can focus on what is really important, having fun! That is the whole point right?

I can remember sailing Optimists as a kid and thinking that it was the end of the world if I didn’t finish at the top of the fleet at a certain regatta. Then I went to high school and thought how strange it was that I took those little square tubs so seriously. Then I went to college and structured my entire academic experience around sailing. Being an All American, winning a national championship, NOTHING could possibly be more important than that! Then I graduated and overheard my good friend John Storck explaining to a non-sailor what college sailing was. Beer in hand he said “We are a bunch of adults sailing boats designed for kids, and we take it really really seriously.” Could I come up with a better, more honest and straight to the point description? Nope, and so I’ve been stealing John’s ever since.

Next thing I knew I was doing an 49er Olympic Campaign and there it was, the ultimate goal, the GOLD MEDAL! Okay Optis were toys, high school sailing was just awkward, college sailing now seemed silly, but this time it was going to be different!

The fact is, in my humble opinion, is that it isn’t different. Whether you’re a junior sailor or an Olympian, being a racer is the always the same. You want to win, you lose yourself in the game, and if you’re lucky you walk away with some character strengthening life lessons, great friends, and a skill you can pass down to the next generation. If you’re not lucky, you become overly obsessed in the pursuit of victory and forget why you’re there in the first place. In other words, you become THAT GUY. Every sailing club has one, and if you’re having trouble figuring out who it is, beware, it might be you!

Kiting in the Olympics could be awesome, but kiting by itself is awesome enough. I got to go ride with my friends on Sunday, and was able to shoot this quick video of my buddy Lonny and taking his nephew out for a spin.  I’ll take this over a Gold medal any day of the week.  – Patrick Rynne.