LIHUE – Alden Lind isn’t your normal 14-year-old teenager.
While many kids his age are learning the mechanics of the curveball, Alden is staring at the face of a 10-foot swell, eyeing a chance to punch his jet-ski past the break.
Instead of working on his jump shot, Alden is skirting the ocean surface on his kite board, searching for a crest that could fly him 15-feet in the air, well beyond the limits of a simple landing.
“Not many kids his age experience sports that are this extreme,” said surf legend Titus Kinimaka, who was of the pioneers of tow-in surfing on Kaua’i.
There also aren’t many teenagers who treat fear with such disregard.
With the direction of his father, Mike Lind, Alden has become a prodigy of the extreme. Kinimaka calls him the youngest Kauaian to have experienced some of the most daring ocean stunts in existence.
“The big wave surfer is only as good as his [jet ski] operator,” said Kinimaka. “And because of his riding skills, I have confidence Alden can tow me in.”
Alden has been accompanying his father on tow-in surfing trips as far back as he can remember. Mike, a once sponsored skateboarder who has been an experienced big wave surfer for four years, taught his son how to combat fear – how to use knowledge of safety and experience to conquer the most nerve-racking feats.
Mike always knew Alden had a knack for the extreme, but it wasn’t until he brought his son kite boarding that he became convinced Alden had the potential to pursue a career in the sport.
“I have been kite-boarding for two years before Alden took to it, and it didn’t take him long to become one of the better kite boarders on the island,” said Mike. “I look stiff and hesitant when I’m out there, and Alden looks fluid. He is now better than me, and is among the top 10 in a community of kite boarders whose age ranges anywhere from 35-45 years-old.”
Alden hasn’t been without his close calls.
In one of his initial outings, Alden’s kite caught wind and sent him 20-feet through the air, beyond the beach and over two cars parked in an adjacent parking lot. He injured his tail bone and was grounded for one month. But while most people would throw in the towel following a potentially hazardous event like that, Alden said simply, “I now have respect for the kite.” He hasn’t stopped boarding since.
His ultimate goal?
“I want to spread the word about kite boarding…provide further exposure to a growing sport,” said Alden. “I also want to try riding those big tow-in waves on a kite board.”
Alden’s quest for the extreme is never-ending.
Mike and Alden Lind will be traveling to Maui and Oahu in the coming days to kite board in a larger, more competitive locale. Mike says he wants to see how Alden matches up to Maui’s young boarders and gauge when he thinks his son is ready for the competitive circuit.
“He is already ahead of the game,” Kinimaka said of Alden. “With what he has accomplished in extreme sports so early in his life, he has built himself a foundation which will lead him to plenty of opportunities in the future.”