STUART — Most people stay home during Tropical Storms. But for David Hotwagner, that’s just too boring.
Instead, Hotwagner and a handful of his pals took to Stuart Beach Sunday morning to kiteboard in Tropical Storm Isaias’ 40 mph gusts and high surf.
As around 20 people watched from the shoreline, Hotwagner took flight.
The Palm City man floated 15, sometimes 20 feet in the air as Isaias’ wind gusts lifted his kite, and ultimately his body, from off the Atlantic Ocean beneath him.
Far to his west, the tropical storm’s center churned off the coast.
Up he went. Bystanders cheered in awe.
Up. Up. Up.
“That’s amazing!” a woman yelled.
And back down again.
“It’s like flying. It’s like you have superpowers,” said Hotwagner, 34, as he dismounted his board and struggled to catch his breath when he returned to shore.
“You’re set free, you can do whatever you want.”
Jerri Lang and her husband, Mark, were two of the many beachgoers in Stuart who watched the kiteboarders.
Here’s the latest:Isaias slows: Storm surge warning discontinued for Florida
“We’ve been through some crazy times this year,” the 50-year old Palm City woman said. “So this seems normal at this point.”
Lang came to the beach to snap photographs for her family living in the Midwest, she said. And brave kiteboarders amid the chaos proved to be the perfect subject:
“I think it’s amazing. They’re thrill seekers,” Lang said. “And these swells are beautiful.”
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Max Chesnes is a TCPalm reporter covering health, welfare and social justice on the Treasure Coast. You can keep up with Max on Twitter @MaxChesnes, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and give him a call at 772-978-2224.
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