One with the Wind
Evan Upchurch | March 15th, 2021
As the sun sets over the Sea of Cortez, giant colored kites paint the sky. Their lines are held by daring board riders who skim across the agitated waves. Through a natural funnel crafted by the mountains, the mighty wind enters the bay and powers them across the vast landscape of turquoise and blue, like magnificent sailboats across great oceans.
One of those riders is Alfredo Rendon. He closes his eyes and feels his board lift from the water. For a moment, he’s one with the wind, flying alongside an invisible force that demands his trust. Extreme when seen from the outside but calming when felt from within, kiteboarding is meditation in motion, transforming Playa La Ventana, Baja California Sur, into a sacred space: a monastery for extreme athletes.
Lawyer by profession, Alfredo started kiteboarding 11 years ago as a weekend hobby, but slowly, it became a passion and an escape from the stress of everyday life. In 2016, Alfredo and his wife left their hometown of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, for La Ventana. The couple was chasing the wind, seeking a destination where their love of kiteboarding could transform into a holistic lifestyle. They were only supposed to be away for a one-year sabbatical. Instead, the wind breathed life into new opportunities.
A 90-minute drive from Todos Santos, La Ventana is a world-class destination for kiteboarders. “I’ve kiteboarded in many spots in Mexico and around the world, but La Ventana is where I went to graduate. Its unique geography makes for ideal conditions,” Alfredo told us. But Alfredo isn’t the only one with a love for the region. People from around Mexico and other parts of the world now call Baja California Sur their home, and those who love kiteboarding have found a paradise in La Ventana.
Sometimes you just have to let go – it’s a lot like life.
Talking with Alfredo gave us an inside peek at the niche world of kiteboarding. It’s more than an extreme sport; it’s an opportunity to connect with the elements and be in the present moment. “When I am kiteboarding, it’s like I’m taking off a mask. All of a sudden, I’m no longer a lawyer, father, or husband. It is something that allows me to connect with who I am at my core: freedom, love, and joy.” He goes one step further and compares it to the start of a relationship, “With kiteboarding, you want the conditions to be just right, just like you want to go out with someone so badly. But no matter how prepared and excited you are, sometimes the wind, or person, turns you down. It’s about being ready for that moment when things fall into place.”
The more Alfredo talked about the sport, the more it seemed to be a profound teacher for all of its disciples. “I can tell quite a bit about a person by how they listen to instructions and treat the kite. So many people have trouble trusting in the process and letting go of their fear. Often, many try to submit the kite to their will, but it doesn’t work like that. It’s about integrating the kite into your movements and feeling the wind. And sometimes you just have to let go – it’s a lot like life.”
In La Ventana, kiteboarders like Alfredo continue to have their everyday jobs in their small piece of heaven. It’s about embracing the lifestyle and community that comes with the sport. “As much as kiteboarding seems individualistic, it is actually all about solidarity and forming a tribe. Kiteboarders look out for each other in the water, and they become your chosen family outside of it.”
Alfredo and others in La Ventana are examples for us all. They turned a passion into a lifestyle and live in a community with shared values–like resilience and living in the moment. The town continues to grow, acting as a meeting point for like-minded people from around the world.
The Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran once said, “The hand of life is in the wind.” If you were to let the wind run its course, where would it take you?
Photography by: Liz Torres (cover photo) & Margenta