Volume 14, Issue 2 - March/April 2012

life beyond the auto glass business

Of Wild Beasts and Adventure Sports Kerry Wanstrath, Glass Technology Inc.

Kerry Wanstrath, president of Glass Technology Inc. in Durango, Colo., has stared at a shark in the eye. Literally.
Wanstrath, who also serves as president of the National Windshield Repair Association, is an avid kite-boarder, and his shark encounter happened while surfing on a kite.

“I was in Mokes [Hawaii] 2 years ago,” Wanstrath says. “The reefs [there] are full of sharks and turtles. Some turtles have three flippers only, because one flipper got eaten by a shark. You don’t want to hit the turtles [while kite-boarding]. I was coming inland toward the beach, and I saw a big object, which I thought was a turtle moving at a slow pace. I slowed down to avoid it, and as I got about 20-30 feet from it, it dove down. As I crossed its path at 5-10 mph, I looked underneath my feet and saw a shark. I saw its brown eyes right under my feet! I made a beeline for the beach, sat down for about 15 minutes to re-gather myself, and then went back out again.”

Wanstrath loves most adventure sports, he says. He enjoys kayaking, white-water rafting, rock-climbing and wind-surfing. “Unless there’s an element of fear, injury or even possible death [in a sport], it doesn’t interest me,” he says. “If you’re not a little scared, if your stomach’s not turning a little, it’s not fun.” He’s been surfing since he was 12, he says. He wind-surfed for 15 years, but gave up because of lack of time.

Wanstrath got introduced to kite-boarding 7 years ago when he went to Hawaii to visit his son, he says. “We went to the north shore, to the Mokulua Islands, or Mokes, which used to be a wind-surfing spot, and we went there to watch,” he says. “There were these kite-surfers out there, and I was immediately drawn.” He and his son took a lesson that week, and got hooked.

Back home in Colorado, Wanstrath kept up his kite-boarding passion. “I got dragged through soccer fields, my kite ended up on a pine tree, and I got all muddied,” but he never let that come between him and his love for the sport, he says. He also kite-boards in the snow. “You burn so many calories doing it,” he says. “I kite-board in the snow about 20 to 30 times a year, and then on the ocean a few weeks a year, between Padre Island and Hawaii. I also went kite-surfing in New Zealand last year.” Wanstrath and his son are planning a trip to Fiji to go kite-surfing this summer. They will then head on to Australia, he says.

Sharks or not, the waters Down Under promise more thrill.

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