A Rossland high school student is starting to make a big splash in the growing water sport of kite-sailing.
Tayne Steven, 16, a Grade 11 student at Seven Summits Centre for Learning, has landed a sponsorship deal with a kiteboard manufacturer.
After celebrating his first podium finish at the Kiteclash competition in Squamish last year, his raw talent, huge likeability factor and genuine enthusiasm for the emerging Olympic sport has earned him a sponsorship deal with CORE Kites Canada.
Steven’s trailblazing family is heavily into kiteboarding and was responsible for recently setting up the kitefoiling academy in partnership with Red Mountain Academy and Seven Summits Centre for Learning. Between them, they facilitate a dry-land training program alongside a highly flexible high school education so that its founding kiteboarding athlete can pursue his personal and academic goals at his own pace.
The set up means Steven, and those who follow in his wake, can train in La Ventana, Mexico from November to March with 4 Elements Kiteboarding and kite daily under the watchful eye of head coach Xantos Villegas.
“I’m so proud of him. He was a natural from the start,” says his first coach Jeanice Stone.
“All my kite heroes, the people I look up to most in the sport, have been sponsored by CORE so I’m super excited to be on the CORE Junior Team and have the opportunity to represent the brand,” says Steven, who has now added a 10m and 12m GTS to his existing 8XR to bring his quiver of CORE kites to three.
With future aspirations to make it as a CORE team rider and join the freestyle and Big Air legends who are currently making waves in the sport, Steven Akkersdijk and Joshua Emanuel among them, Steven is hoping to build on his competitive success at King of the Lake at Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island.
In the meantime, his plans are to get stronger in the water, “train his butt off” with RMA, make the most of the “free Fridays” at 7S to get ahead in his academic studies and then remain ahead by completing online courses delivered in pioneering virtual classrooms during his stints in Mexico.
“The aim is to kiteboard at every possible opportunity, focus on my sport without compromising on my academics and just send it!” says Steven. He’s also building traction and a loyal fanbase on social media and can be followed on Facebook (@taynestevenkite) and Instagram (@tayne_steven)