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Flying high

Photos by Erika Lee

July 2013

Kite boarder Ryan Halney catches air on Lake Michigan.

When shopping for a house, most people are concerned with location, square footage, and exterior and interior amenities. But Stafford Kramer is not most people. When he moved his family to Muskego, his biggest priority was hang time.

"We looked at five different houses in the same neighborhood around Muskego Lake," Kramer says. "I wanted the one that had the best spot to get me on the water."

Kramer owns Adventure Kite Boarding and has been a serious kite boarder for the past six years. Kite boarding involves strapping yourself to a big kite and letting it pull you through the air.

"You can do it on pretty much any surface," Kramer says. "You can kite board over water standing on a board. You can do it on snow with a board or skis or on ice with skates."

But one thing Kramer recommends is not taking up the sport without taking lessons first.

"You need about six lessons before youíre ready," suggests Kramer, who charges $50 an hour for private lessons. "Itís dangerous if you donít know what youíre doing. Itís not very intuitive like football or baseball. Itís not like water skiing where you can just let go of the ropes and slide into the water if youíre in trouble."

New kite boarders start with smaller kites and progress from controlling the kite while standing still, then while walking and eventually getting airborne with a bigger kite.

Kramer, who has sailed as high as 35 feet off the ground, says that buying a kite, equipment, a wet suit, gloves and lessons can cost around $2,500, although his company provides all the gear for lessons. Reed says interest in the sport is picking up as more people are getting into the air and staying in touch via social media to go out in groups when wind conditions are favorable.

Kramer, who teaches at Whitnall High School when heís not strapped to a kite, is 42; he admits most kite boarders are 15 to 20 years younger. But he plans to sail off into the sunset "until I need a hip replacement, and then weíll see how the hip holds up."

He hopes to grow his business by attracting new kite boarders, but that is not his main objective. "Iím doing what I love, and if people want to join me, thatís great. If not, Iíve got my friends and my kite. Iím happy."

Kramer gives lessons throughout the Milwaukee area but primarily on Lake Michgan. For more information, check out

Stay fluid

As the temperatures rise so does our desire to get out and embrace the sunshine. On your way to a mad dash into an idyllic summer, donít forget to drink plenty of liquids.

"People should hydrate before, during and after exercise," says Sarah Kent, a registered dietitian at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. "Men need more fluid than women and adults need more than children, but generally, a cup before, during and after is a good way to proceed."

Kent says water is still the best drink for hydration, along with low-fat milk and low calorie beverages like iced tea. Alcohol is the worst choice. It actually dehydrates the body. Coffee, juice and soda are also unwise options although caffeinated beverages in moderation can effectively replenish the body.

Those seeking to shed pounds through exercise need to watch the calories in certain liquids.

"A cup of juice is 110 calories," Kent says. "A 20-ounce Gatorade is 130 calories. If youíre doing moderate exercise for less than 60 minutes, water is your best option. If youíre exercising more vigorously for over 60 minutes, running or playing tennis, sports drinks are OK, but there are lower calorie choices with those drinks."

And donít wait until you feel parched to take a drink. "If youíre getting thirsty, itís probably too late," Kent says. "Drinking enough of the proper liquids at the right times will keep your body from dehydrating."



This story ran in the July 2013 issue of: