From Discourse 14
A first pass by a Pacific Northwest forest.
Over the years, kitesurfing has been one of the fastest growing recreational sports on the water. A multimillion-dollar industry, the sport is active worldwide, and has the support of both busi- nesses and athletes involved in popular amateur and professional competitive circuits.
For surfing and boarding professional, Pete Cabrinha of Hawaii, it has been his top money maker for decades. Pete came from a surfing culture, and ended up in the world of wind and water, combining a fascination for kites with a love of surfing. (See Ben Ruhe’s Journal profile of Pete, http://www.drachen.org/sites/default/files/pdf/ Journal%20Issue%2019.pdf. Always interested in promoting kitesurfing, Pete and his company became supporters of the Cabrinha Quest.
The Cabrinha Quest was a contest to select two people, through a written essay, who demon- strated their commitment to living a sustainable, eco-conscious lifestyle in their local commu- nity. Winners would be treated to a ten day, all expense paid trip, on the inaugural voyage of the Launching in Los Roques from the S/V Discovery. catamaran, S/V Discovery, in its quest to locate a perfect kitesurfing destination.
Yancy found out about the contest and sub- mitted his application. Having kitesurfed in the Seattle area, he was a versatile kitesurfer- conditions in Seattle not always being ideal, with gusty winds, choppy water, and chilly temperatures. Despite these challenges, kitesurf- ing was an important constant in his life and the opportunity to pursue his passion in warmer climates was appealing indeed. Professionally, Yancy had been involved in the green build movement since the beginning, working for one of the largest construction companies in Seattle. Helping his own company, and others in the same industry, use environmentally sound construction practices was a passion and a personal commitment which he described in his appli- cation. From hundreds of submissions, Yancy was selected as one of the grand prize winners, along with kitesurfer Andrew Olive.
In the fall of 2012 he joined the boat, S/V Dis- covery, as the guest of Captain Seon Crockford. The location was paradise: a small archipelago referred to as Los Roques off the coast of Ven- ezuela.
In his own words, Yancy sums it up: “the trip was like a dream; skimming across the surface of warm clear waters over a shallow reef below… clear water and skies…no one to pay heed to but the fish….”
Los Roques is an archipelago, a federal depen- dency of Venezuela consisting of approximately 350 islands, cays, and islets in a total area of 40.61 square kilometers. The archipelago is lo- cated 128 kilometers (80 miles) directly north of the port of La Guaira.
The islands’ pristine coral reef attracts many wealthy visitors, especially from Europe, some of whom come in their own yachts to anchor in the protected shallow waters. Development and tourism are controlled. Because of the wide variety of seabirds and rich aquatic life, the Venezuelan government declared Los Roques a National Park in 1972. Fewer than 1,800 people inhabit the area; however, it is visited by approx- imately 70,000 people annually who come for a variety of activities including fishing, birding, diving and kitesurfing. It was the perfect loca- tion for Yancy and Andrew to base themselves for the trip. Their days included great conditions for daily surfing, and all their needs were met by the wonderful hospitality supplied by the crew of Discovery.
For many kitesurfing enthusiasts, this would have been the zenith of one’s experience, but not for Yancy Wright. This was only the beginning of the Cabrinha Quest and what would become a ma- jor part of the rest of his life. Refreshed by his two weeks, he returned to Seattle to continue imple- menting his new vision of eco sustainability.
The return to Seattle meant leaving the Sellen Corporation and he began his own sustainable building and living practice, focusing on the de- velopment of his own project, Alternavida (http:// alternavida.org/ ). Perhaps it was a combination of many things, including his associations with open water and wind through kitesurfing, and his professional associations in the green build world, that inspired him to develop the project’s vision to “leave a legacy for future generations that promotes a healthy, sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature.”
Yancy has begun to fund his own living development in one of the most beautiful and un- polluted parts of Puerto Rico, as a business, to educate others to a life style of harmony with nature. Alternavida is a startup operation in seek of investors who can help bring this type of life style to full focus. Water bottles even litter the most pristine locations.
He will continue to work with the Cabrinha Quest. Yancy is the type of person who can make the personal and professional connec- tions that make the world a better place. He is not just about having two weeks of surfing and walking away. Everything he does is to bring his experiences and riches full circle.
Brisk passes on Useless Bay, Whidbey Island.
Yancy airborn in the chill of the Northwest.