Based on the dates on some of my computer files the whole thing really blew up over the summers of 2004 and 2005. I guess we were banned from Pocomo for a summer and a half or so.
Prior to that were the real beginning years of kiteboarding. Not just on Nantucket but everywhere. The sport was growing rapidly. It was a heady time. We were trying to ride every day. The equipment basically sucked and it would break all the time. We were fixing out own gear and customizing everything. The average skill level was novice and half of the local kiters were starting schools. That isn’t to mention all the off island people who saw Nantucket as an awesome place for a kite school. And this was all going down at Pocomo Point.
It was inevitable that there would be conflict. Pocomo is a great beach for families and little kids. We were turning the kiddy pool into a flying circus of disaster and mayhem. Not to mention crowding up the beach with kites and people. Our attitude probably didn’t help that much. This was the height of the “Windsurfing has been Canceled” era. There was actually a throwdown between a hotheaded kiter and a hotheaded windsurfer. The police were called to the scene several times to enforce the “No Kiting” ban. The harbor master boat was yelling at me through the megaphone “Kiteboarder leave the area“. I’m not kidding. It was crazy.
What we didn’t know at the time was that Pocomo Point, except for a narrow public access road, is all private property. So one day there were all these “No Kiteboarding” signs and that was it. Banned from Pocomo. We started launching at Quaise. It sucked. There was a lot of tension.
Of course during this whole time the kiters were meeting as a group (Nantucket Kiteboarding Association) and meeting with the Town Beach Committee. We weren’t the only kiteboarding site struggling to define its niche in the community. We were working with an organization called PASA (Professional Air Sports Association) and Real Kiteboarding in Hatteras to create a plan that would set up rules that would appease the homeowners and town and allow us to start launching at Pocomo again.
That process culminated in a public meeting during the summer of 2005 (? 2004?). I remember that everyone had something to say. At that time the birds were a big part of it as well. After the public part of the meeting it kind of broke into a small group, intense negotiating phase in the hallway. I think the town officials wanted a resolution. If I am not mistaken it was Jay Stebbins who came up with the idea of the two buoys placed off the point to create a “Gate” to Pocomo and therefore define a “No Fly Zone” on the inside of the point. That idea was the crux of the agreement between the kiters, Pocomo homeowners and the Town that allowed Pocomo to be re-opened to kiting.
After that we were back at Pocomo and we pretty much started just sailing at Bass Point. Those rules have been in effect since then. The first year we had a registration process at the Harbormaster’s Office. Kiters were supposed to check in there and acknowledge the rules. They were given a blue streamer to display on their kites. So the guy in the harbormaster’s boat could tell the “approved” kiters from the others. There was still a bunch of residual tension and there was a lot of self-enforcement of the rules because everyone who was part of the process was still riding a lot at Pocomo.
The “check-in” at the Harbormaster’s didn’t last. It was too much of a hassle for their office. Eventually things calmed down and they just placed the bouys off the point ever summer. The rules have been generally respected. Most kiting in the summer takes place at Bass Point and the coexistance at Pocomo has been pretty good. The rules are handed down through word of mouth. This may become an issue as less and less of the original guys are at the beach regularly.
Pocomo Point remains one of the best places on the planet to catch the sea breeze. But you can’t get that butter in July and August.