A kiteboarding vacation in Cabarete, Dominican Republic is like a dream come true for many adventure travelers. The accommodations are inexpensive, the water is warm, and the wind is perfect almost every single day. Life just seems so simple here. Most kiteboarding tourists are awestruck when they first feast their eyes on the seemingly effortless talent of the local riders. The thing is, it’s not that effortless, and life is complicated for a young Dominican trying to get his hands on a used kite, much less make it pro. But sometimes, with a lot of luck and even more persistence, it does happen, and on an even rarer occasion, a young local Dominican boy grows into a pro rider…and wins!
This 12-minute video documents the victory of Starkites rider Luis Alberto Cruz at the 2016 MaiTai Cabarete Freestyle Invitational. After years of highs and lows on the pro-tour, his first win wasn’t an easy one. The World Kiteboarding League is a series full of winners, and Luis had to battle his way through an extra day of competing in the trials for a chance in the main event. The fierce competition meant that there was “no time for weakness.” Thankfully, Cruz has the heart of a lion and the spirit of a true champion.
His triumph (and his prize money) maybe meant more to Luis than some of the other competitors. As you will see, Luis didn’t just do it for himself. He did it for his sponsors, for his fans, for his town, and ultimately for his family.
Fair warning: This video left us and everyone we know in tears. It will probably do the same for you.
Credits: Video produced by Alexis Pierret from AP Visuals.