Posted 7/23/08, by Joe Ruscito
Best Kiteboarding's First Annual North American Dealers Conference – the Tribal Gathering – was held in Cabarete July 12th through the 20th. Setting up camp at Kitebeach Hotel, we invited our dealers to come spend a few days with us, testing and riding all of the new gear. Team rider Joe Ruscito, who's always ready and willing to go wherever we need him, left his post as Resident Pro at the Best Lesson Center, and hopped on a plane to the DR with the rest of the crew to help run the demos, keep track of the gear, ride, and of course have fun. Here's how the week went down.
Just got back from the 2009 dealer meeting in Cabarete, DR. For an 8-day trip, I feel like I was there for 3 weeks. It was my job to keep track of all the new gear, which sounds easier then it actually was. However, with everyone's help, we didn't lose anything! Lots of work but lots of riding as well. One morning we even got up early and went surfing. I got up, caught like 4 or 5 waves. It was fun but really tiring ... I was wondering where my kite was the whole time.
Surf spot at EnCuentro
The 2009 gear is pretty cool and all the dealers loved it. The nemi 10 was the kite of choice for the week; we couldn't find enough of them even though they seemed to multiply as the week went on. First inventory had 4, then 5, then 6 ... have no idea how this happened, but it did. Kite beach is pretty insane. A little choppy but once you figure out the pattern, it's not too bad. Every day at about 11 the wind picks up and at about 2PM the 10 is perfect. Then just as we'd go to diner around 8:30, the wind would die and we'd sweat through dinner.
The locals at kite beach are incredible. They all charge harder then anyone I've ever seen ride, and they have so much energy and speed in their riding. This might be becuase a rumor got started that Best was looking for two Dominican riders to sponsor, and a ton of Dominican's all of a sudden showed up right in front of our area, doing double, triple and quadruple handlepasses, trying to show us their best. It was quite chaotic for a while. And they land everything; I guess riding in the conditions they do you learn to land everything, because you never know when some one is going to be 2 feet downwind of you when you land.
Cabarete is the only place I've ever been that it's accepted to get cut off all the time, and where wrapping up kites happens multiple times a day and no one is blamed or considered a dangerous rider. You just untangle and go your own way. Everyday you would look up and see two kites tangled flying down the beach with two riders close at hand and with a band of kids running close behind. One day we got the chance to do a downwinder and we stated at the local flat water spot, La Boca, at the rivermouth. This place was the best part of the trip ... fresh water, super flat, and right in the middle of a jungle. It was so good I organized it so the last day we could go back, and one of the locals, Luis, joined us, and he and I had a huck sesh ... really fun. The kid is very good, and at the end of the sesh he started doing kite loop passes off an upwind dune into the river ... really nuts!
En route to the downwinder
Every night we'd all go out for dinner with all the dealers and everyone from Best. The dealers are super cool, and it was fun to chill with the guys from the office, outside of the office.
JeffG sneaking into one of the rooms
Some days there were activities planned for the group and one morning we did a waterfall tour, really cool, and it ended up being where I took most of the pictures. This trip I did a much better job taking pictures but surprisingly, in Cabarete, where there are probably more kites than anywhere else, I got very few pictures with any kites in them ... guess I was too busy.
I have the best job in the world.
For more on Joe, click here .