Padre’s perfect conditions attract kite-boarders from all over the country


Mike Szromba, former member of the touring Van Halen tribute band, Fair Warning, has been visiting South Padre Island twice a year with his son, Jason McGrady, to kiteboard for the last 14 years without fail.

He is from Chicago, where he owns one of the only kite board shops in the area, WindyCity Kite Sports.

“The conditions in Chicago are great (for kite-boarding) but they’re not necessarily ideal for beginners,” explained Szromba, “We heard of South Padre Island- seven square miles of a flat shell of water, like a giant kiddy pool.”

Szromba wasted no time in traveling to the Island to kiteboard after first hearing about it. The surf conditions of Padre excited him because in Lake Michigan they were much different and quite the opposite.

“One of the challenges we have here in Lake Michigan is the cold, deep water. If something goes wrong, you’re out there floating,” He explained. Szromba says when him and his son made their first trip to the Island in his Woody Station Wagon, they found it to be a paradise and had a blast.

When they made their return a year and a half later, everyone remembered their names and that meant a lot to them, coming from Chicago, where according to him, nobody remembers anyone’s names. “It was as if we never left,” said Szromba.

He fell in love with the Island so much, that he wanted to share its pristine kite-boarding conditions and friendly community with others.

Twice a year, in early spring and mid-fall, right before the Chicago kite-board season begins and right after it ends, Szromba rents a beach house on the Island and hosts a kite-board trip.

“It started off with just local Chicago kite-board students, but now I have people from all of the country that join us,” Szromba said. He says out of all the kite board destinations around the world that he has visited, Padre is the only one that he has been consistently traveling to. Out of 14 years, he has only canceled one kite boarding trip, due to Covid-19.

Around 15-16 people are expected to attend the 2022 annual Spring Kiteboard Season Kickoff Celebration. According to Szromba, the people who attend this surf trip come from all walks of life. There are lawyers, translators, doctors, beach-bums, rock stars, and professional kite-boarders to name a few. The participants will be staying in a beach house for the duration of the trip, April second through the tenth.

WindyCity Kite Sports will be offering lessons to the participants for every level. Beginners can participate in supervised riding practices where they will be able to tighten their skills comfortably and confidently, according to Szromba.

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