After the move the Northern California I found that the locals were completely different in the way they socialized with one another, mainly being the fact that instead of being a closely-knit brotherhood they were distant and cold to each other. I went on a whole season thinking that the whole region has socialization and psychological thoughts comparable to those held in mental correctional facilities. The cold shoulders, mumbling, and the odd facial expressions just made me think these people were not anything like they were at home, they werenít friendly. It certainly didnít help that I found an article at the time by Garraeu, titled the ìNine Nations of North Americaî, one of his main arguments was that due to differing circumstances in things like water supply, food, and climate, places like Northern and Southern California were very different nations. This implied that each had a population with a unique national character. I was totally feeding myself this nonsense for about a year until I met some nice people at Waddell creek.
The local wise men showed me that this attitude was not inherent in any of the Northern California Kiteboarders, but just a manifestation of my attitude toward them. What they meant was that it was my own facial expressions and my cold attitude that shaped people into thinking that I was not a friendly person. They told me to smile more and to greet people in a friendly manner, and that just launching a guys kite isnít enough to come off as a nice person. When I heard this, I was pretty shocked, I wasnít completely sure if it was true, or even if it were, would I want to believe it? In addition, if it was it would mean that not only have I been judging people wrongly the whole time, but Iíve been seen as an asshole among not only kiteboarders, but everyone whoís come in contact with me for the majority of my life. I decided that I had to prove whether it was true or not.
The next day at the delta I decided to waltz in with a fat smile on my face instead of an angry frown. It was surreal, what a difference! People showed a completely different side of their personalities. I wasnít being cussed out behind peopleís backs anymore; I was accepted into the crowd. There were a number of people I would regularly see for months and their response to me that day was ìhey, whatís your name I never see you around hereî and various other welcomes, itís like before they just ignored me. An important lesson was learned; being a hard-ass will get you a reputation of being a badass, but is it very satisfying to live in the dark? Some would lie to themselves and say it is. Humans are social animals; we were given communication for a reason. Does this mean that you should head to your launch with the fattest grin on your face? No, well unless you want people to do the same for you, but in general ìif you make your bed, you must sleep in itî, people create the situations that they react in. Kiteboarding is a fun sport on itís own, but its definitely much more enjoyable when you get to share great times and tricks with friends. So next time you head down to your local launch, make sure not to give folks the wrong impressions and learn a lesson in socialization not just in kiteboarding, but also in life.