It has been a pleasure on this trip to follow Max’ transformation from small, enthusiastic boy into a social whatd’ya’callit dude. He showed signs of that already last year when he started ski racing and relatively quickly gained some respect for his skiing among the older ranks in the club. This continued in Revelstoke, where his drive and resilience to improve as a skier brought him a lot of sympathies from team mates, trainers and last, but not least, also some good results. That said, for us as parents it was a little bit more of the same, so I didn’t really register a massive change.

Natural kite handling by Max
Handling a kite – not a problem for a 10 year old. All comes natural.

Later in the trip I wanted to take the opportunity to learn kiteboarding proper. Last year in Sweden I was struggling with everything, but got a taste and felt that this trip would be a good chance to learn a new skill at my almost biblical age. So we went to Jericoacoara in Brazil and had a good go at it. And there it happened: not only did Max overtake his struggling parents with his “where’s the problem” attitude, he also managed to win over his (and also our) instructor’s respect to the extent that Anna’s and my instructor kept pointing out during our lessons how well Max was doing. Little bastard. Max. And the instructor.

Max on the kite
And off we go. Max was on the board on his third day.

Now, looking into this I was struck by a rather harsh reality: Max was closer in age to our instructor than Anna and I. Despite this, though, Max was just a 10 year old boy – but his attitude to kiting (and football, surfing and capoeira – which are the other three things that keep the kiters of Jeri occupied during the day) struck a chord with the kite crowd and they invited Max in as one of theirs (or them – native speakers, please comment).

Part of the crew
Part of the kite crew. Max, that is, not me. I’m background decoration.

Teaching Max didn’t seem a job, unlike teaching Anna and me. Good on the Maxter. And, with a little touch of envy, I am super proud of my little boy growing up.

A few weeks later, at Waikiki beach in Hawai’i, Max had been out with the surfboard. The waves increased in size and a worried Anna, who’s lost sight of Max, walked over to the lifeguard expressing her anxiety. The lifeguard took out his binoculars, found Max quickly and dryly said to Anna: “Uh, him. I’ve seem him before. He can handle himself.” Jaysis, it won’t be long and the kiters in Jeri won’t just share their daytime activities with Max, but drag him along in the evening, too. Something to look forward to. With a bit of envy, I suppose.