Nov 27, 2009
Author: Tracy Kraft
Full name: Greg Michael Norman
Prefer to be called: Greg Norman Jr.
Hatched on: 9/19/1985
Born in: A hospital
Grew up in: An airplane and hotels around golf courses
Residence now: Jupiter, Fla.
Sports you did growing up, things you were into: Surf, wakeboarding, cable, skate, snowboarding, and a little bit of golf
Where and what did you study: University of Miami, business management
SPONSORS: Cabrinha Kite, Ronix Wake, Globe, Dakine, Freestyle
WHAT SETUP ARE YOU RIDING RIGHT NOW:
for Kite: The Drizzle Pro Model Custom 140, Ronix Relik Boots, Cab ‘10 Switchblade and Nomads, 35cm Cab Bar, and Dakine Renegade harness
For Cable: Ronix Viva 140, Ronix Relik Boots, Ronix Jacket
HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN KITING?
Learned in 2000.
WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN CHECKING OUT THE SPORT?
Couldn’t always find someone to drive the boat or drive me to a cable.
WHERE DID YOU ACTUALLY FIRST GET YOUR SIGHTS ON KITING?
I was introduced to kiting by a really good friend of mine who I would go snowboarding with when I was a grom. She lived on Maui in summer and Vail in winter. One winter she brought me a kite mag and the video High to show me this killer new sport growing out in Hawaii. I waited about four months, watched High about a hundred times before I finally came out to Kite Beach, Maui, and took a lesson. Lou did a Slim over my head while I was body dragging on the inside and I was hooked.
YOU TOOK A BREAK FROM KITING IN THE FALL OF 2007, WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?
Yeah, I took a break from all board sports except surf.
The break started when I was living in Australia. I was surfing everyday and the wind wasn’t all that great. My Dad asked me if I wanted to play in the Del Webb Father/Son [golf tournament] with him. It was two months away and my golf game was shithouse. So I started practising and getting lessons from the same guy my dad took lessons from growing up. I started doing well and actually played well in front of thousands of people and the world media during the tournament.
This got my confidence in the game up so I started to play in local amateur events around South Florida. In a few months, I won my first one and placed third in another against South Florida’s top amateurs and college players.
Summer was coming around and I made the decision to continue with my golf and play as many tourneys as possible. That was why I wasn’t in last year’s Real Triple S. All the best Am tourneys are during that summer. I traveled all around the country from Orlando to Washington State playing events.
While I did very well some and horrible in others, I started to realize the actual commitment needed to succeed in the game. Which is, canceling out all other things in your life to focus 110 per cent on the game. It was also the end of summer and I was back home and started to hit the cable again. Before I knew it, as quickly as I was into the golf scene, I was out of it faster.
YOU’VE SPENT SOME TIME IN THE CABLE PARKS. TELL ME ABOUT THAT and HOW IT has CROSSED OVER INTO YOUR KITING:
I am lucky enough to live fairly close to the first cable to be built in the states. Andy Hurdman and myself have been riding at Ski Rixen, Deerfield Beach Park for a while now. And since Miami is not known for having epic wind, we went to the park a lot. You will always be powered, always find flatwater, and the obstacles will always be out. On top of that, there is a pretty motivating crew of riders there. Along with Andy, the pro cable guys (Donald Shelbrick, Robb Mapp, Marc Shuster, and Diego Shaw) are there almost everyday going massive. When riding with guys like that, it’s hard not to get amped to push yourself to try to get to that level.
But at the same time, the cable is obviously very limiting. It’s not a kite where you can go anywhere the hell you want to. So I use the cable as a tool for my kiting. Everything is always the same at the cable, so it’s real easy to work on tricks and your style. And most importantly, you learn how to take some serious beatings at the cable. Thus, when you get back to a kite you can really push it hard.
I like to think that the kite is my own personal cable system, but instead of being limited to a pond, you are free to ride whatever you want.
I will always ride the cable and try to push myself there. I have done the cable events and will continue to if I can, but the kite is where it’s at.
WHAT ASPECTS OF THE SPORT INTEREST YOU MOST, WHICH DIRECTION WOULD YOU LIKE TO PUSH THE SPORT: (WAVES, RAILS, FREESTYLE, ETC.)
Wake and waves, for sure.
Like I said, I like to think the kite is my own cable so I will only be riding in boots, going fast, with the kite low. I have done every aspect this sport has to offer (yes, I used to ride straps and do Kite Loops, but only for about a month) ’cause I found everything too easy except the real wakestyle kiting.
Now I am not saying that Reuben’s mega loops aren’t sick (they are for sure!), but personally I would rather see a guy throw a LEGIT wakestyle grabbed back to blind rather than a dangly Mobe 7. The reason is simply style. And again I am not saying that all riders in straps aren’t stylish (can’t argue that Aaron doesn’t throw down), but the truth that making a trick look good (no matter how easy) is harder than any trick just hucked with the kite high. Take a look around and you will slowly see all those guys starting to put the boots on. Like at the Triple-S this year, both Reuben and Aaron were in boots killing it.
And as for waves, surfing is the ultimate. If those guys in Hawaii never stood up and rode a carved down tree on a breaking swell, then there would be a chance we wouldn’t have any board sports. If you are a surfer, we can no longer hate the wind cause we will just pump up a kite and be stoked out while everyone else is sitting on the beach.
FAVOuRITE TRICK AT THE MOMENT:
Fashion air to late Backscratcher and on a good day anything spun off a kicker.
NEXT ON THE LIST:
Spin a lot more.
TYPICAL DAY OF GNJ:
Wake around seven, eat, surf, eat, kite/cable, eat, have a beer with friends, eat, sleep, repeat.
WHAT GETS YOU MOTIVATED?
Knowing that if I am not out there trying new things, then someone else might be.
TRAVEL PLANS FOR THE YEAR:
Hatteras, Hood River, Hatteras, Home, Scotland, Engand, Home, Ohio, New York, Maui, Mentawais, CWC Phillipines, Maui, Cable Tour....
WHAT KIND OF ROLE DOES GOLFING PLAY IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?
Right now it’s something fun to do with good friends and some beers. But the majority of time it’s my other job. I’m my dad’s full-time caddie now.
IN THE FUTURE?
Golf will always be in my life, but I’ll never play it for a future
WHAT DOES YOUR DAD THINK OF YOUR KITEBOARDING MISSION:
He’s so stoked on the fact that I’ve established myself in as an athlete completely outside his shadow. But at the same time, he would support me no matter what I wanted to do with my life, just as long as it made me stoked.
DO YOU THINK YOU CAN GET HIM OFF OF THE GRASS AND ONTO THE WATER FOR A SESSION?
Hell, he started out as a surfer!
Two summers ago at the Triple-S, he took a lesson from Real and in one day was up and riding. Also, recently got to him out in the waves for a surf for the first time in 30 years and he caught two waves like nothing. We both were so stoked!
DO YOU AND YOUR DAD GET TO FIT ANY GOLF TIME IN TOGETHER?
We play a round together when we get the chance for sure.
DO ANY OF YOUR MATES IN KITEBOARDING HAVE A DECENT GOLF GAME?
Denver (FULL NAME) practises and plays more than me these days so I would say he would have me beat.
And Dre (FULL NAME) has a wicked swing too.
INSPIRED BY: My dad
BOOTS OR STRAPS: Can’t wear straps cause my feet get too cold
FOSTERS OR BUDWEISER: Fosters is Australian for Beer!
KAPALUA OR KITEBEACH: Surf Honolua Bay at dawn, drive two minutes to Kapalua for nine holes, then ride all afternoon at KB
MUSIC OF CHOICE: Anything that sounds good, but please no country
PREFERRED BEVERAGE: Spike!
KITEFORUM OR KITESCOOP: Kiteforum???
RIDERS THAT INFLUENCE YOU WITHIN THE SPORT: Anyone who is out pushing the sport in the right direction
ATHLETES FROM OTHER SPORTS THAT INFLUENCE YOU: Tom Fooshee, Keith Lyman, Keith Lidberg, Nick Davies, Ben Greenwood, and Clay Marzo
FAVOuRITE PLACE TO RIDE: KB, Maui for kickers and the Slick, OBX for flatwater and rails
ANY WORDS OF WISDOM: Adventure, excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.
ANYONE YOU WANT TO GIVE PROPS TO/THANK YOU’S: My family, who have always been there for me no matter what. My friends to stoke me out on life. Cabrinha and Ronix for producing the gear allow to get me to ride to my full potential. Dakine for always producing the coolest gear. Freestyle watches. And of course, SBC Kiteboard for this interview!