Kiting's For Girls
You wouldn't normally associate boxing with kitesurfing, but there are two prominent heavyweight boxers who have taken a liking to cruising on the water with a board and kite. 1988 Olympic bronze medallist, Andrew Golota, discovered the sport while on vacation in Aruba. "We stayed at The Carousel. A lot of people who stay there try kitesurfing. It looked interesting. I said, 'Sure, I'll try it. Because I like to try new sports.'"
Golota, who has boxed against the likes of former champs Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Chris Byrd and John Ruiz, admitted it took a weekand- a-half to learn how to do it, but the lessons were worth it. "Oh my God, it's something else. It's unbelievable how much pleasure it is to ride." says Golota, who has a pro record of 40-6-1 with 32 KO's. "It's beautiful, nice. It's a real thrill." "I've kited many times in Aruba." says Golota. "I get better every time out there. The first week was terrible. But better and better every time. That's the thing, it's fun to do and I don't like to just sit on the beach and drink juices. My wife likes to do that. I like to be on the move, you know?" His son, Andrew, aged 10, is a future kitesurfer. "He tries but he can't do it yet. He's not strong enough. He tries to do the windsurfing."
Golota is 40 now and still active as a boxer. He has won three fights in a row and sometime this summer is expected to once again challenge for one of the heavyweight titles against WBC champion Samuel Peter of Nigeria. It will be Golota's fifth and final world title opportunity. As a resident of Chicago, Illinois, also called "The Windy City," Golota says he has tried to kitesurf on Lake Michigan, though without success. "I tried it there but the sail just falls down. It's kind of a shame, my board and kite are now covered with dust in the garage."
Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF/WBO Heavyweight champion - and widely considered the best in the world - is also an avid kitesurfer. "It is my passion, I love it." Born in Kazakhstan and raised in Ukraine, how did the 6' 7'', 240-pounder who mainly lives in Hamburg, Germany, discover kitesurfing? "I love the water and have always had time for wakeboarding and snowboarding. Kitesurfing is the best watersport in the world, because you can fly like a bird without an engine. As simple as Mother Nature and you!" Also, he adds, "Vitali (his older brother by four-and-a-half-years) had started and I just wanted to be as good, if not better,' he grins.
Klitschko won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta at the age of 20 but boxing was not his only aspiration as a boy. "I got interested in boxing when I was 14, but never thought I would make it as an amateur or as a pro," he says. "I really wanted to be a doctor. That is what I envisioned I would do with my life. I dreamed about everything as a boy though - being a military man, a spaceman - but never a boxer." With a pro record of 50-3 with 43 KO's, "Dr. Steelhammer" is in his prime now after two stoppage losses in 2003 and 2004 and is currently dominating the heavyweight competition.
Next for Klitschko will be WBO #1 contender Tony Thompson in July in Germany. It will be Klitschko's sixth title defence. As in his boxing career, Klitschko has had a few tough times in the surf. "My first time was on Gran Canaria and the weather was rough. As a beginner I had a leash connected to my board. I lost control of my kite and ended up 'flying around with my board strapped to me'. It was pretty scary. Since that experience I respect the rules of kitesurfing and definitely don't connect the leash to my board!"
As the world champion who has boxed in Germany, the U.S., London, England and Kiev, Ukraine, Klitschko could also be considered a kitesurfer of the world. "I've done it with my buddies in Egypt, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, California, etc., anywhere where there is water and wind!"
OUTRO ? Read more sports files by Scoop Malinowski at: www.thebiofile.com
Kiting's For Girls appeared in Kiteworld issue #34. Click here to read more about what else was featured
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