life beyond the auto glass business
Of Wild Beasts and Adventure
Sports Kerry Wanstrath, Glass Technology Inc.
Kerry Wanstrath, president of Glass Technology Inc. in Durango,
Colo., has stared at a shark in the eye. Literally.
Wanstrath, who also serves as president of the National Windshield Repair
Association, is an avid kite-boarder, and his shark encounter happened
while surfing on a kite.
“I was in Mokes [Hawaii] 2 years ago,” Wanstrath says. “The reefs [there]
are full of sharks and turtles. Some turtles have three flippers only,
because one flipper got eaten by a shark. You don’t want to hit the turtles
[while kite-boarding]. I was coming inland toward the beach, and I saw
a big object, which I thought was a turtle moving at a slow pace. I slowed
down to avoid it, and as I got about 20-30 feet from it, it dove down.
As I crossed its path at 5-10 mph, I looked underneath my feet and saw
a shark. I saw its brown eyes right under my feet! I made a beeline for
the beach, sat down for about 15 minutes to re-gather myself, and then
went back out again.”
Wanstrath loves most adventure sports, he says. He enjoys kayaking, white-water
rafting, rock-climbing and wind-surfing. “Unless there’s an element of
fear, injury or even possible death [in a sport], it doesn’t interest
me,” he says. “If you’re not a little scared, if your stomach’s not turning
a little, it’s not fun.” He’s been surfing since he was 12, he says. He
wind-surfed for 15 years, but gave up because of lack of time.
Wanstrath got introduced to kite-boarding 7 years ago when he went to
Hawaii to visit his son, he says. “We went to the north shore, to the
Mokulua Islands, or Mokes, which used to be a wind-surfing spot, and we
went there to watch,” he says. “There were these kite-surfers out there,
and I was immediately drawn.” He and his son took a lesson that week,
and got hooked.
Back home in Colorado, Wanstrath kept up his kite-boarding passion. “I
got dragged through soccer fields, my kite ended up on a pine tree, and
I got all muddied,” but he never let that come between him and his love
for the sport, he says. He also kite-boards in the snow. “You burn so
many calories doing it,” he says. “I kite-board in the snow about 20 to
30 times a year, and then on the ocean a few weeks a year, between Padre
Island and Hawaii. I also went kite-surfing in New Zealand last year.”
Wanstrath and his son are planning a trip to Fiji to go kite-surfing this
summer. They will then head on to Australia, he says.
Sharks or not, the waters Down Under promise more thrill.
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