A Second Wind for Veteran Kiteboarders
It’s a Monday morning on the southernmost beach of Tybee Island, and Ryan Lundbohm is staring down what could be perfect conditions. Strong winds, skirting along the coast, hit gusts of nearly 30 mph. The waves crest five feet above the surface, strong for Tybee.
For a veteran kiteboarder, you couldn’t ask for a better way to start the day.
“I’m checking it out to see if I can put my kite up or if it’s too powerful,” he says. Then, after a moment of consideration, he adds, “either way, I’m going up.”
For this retired Marine, kiteboarding has come to mean something much more than simply getting airborne. Like so many veterans Lundbohm met through Windsports for Wounded Warriors, as well as the pro kiteboarders he works with through the non-profit Vetscape, Lundbohm finds some measure of peace amid the surges of wave, wind and adrenaline.
“These sports are a common denominator for a lot of veterans. They’ve helped us get out of a bad place,” he says. “Mentally, kiteboarding and surfing make me happy. Physically, my body is pretty beat up. If I don’t stay active and physical then everything hurts worse.”
With that, he heads out into the crashing waves, finding happiness as the winds carry him aloft.
Vetscape, the non-profit foundation where Ryan Lundbohm serves as CEO, bills its mission as “Empowering veterans to find their next mission in life.”