Outer Banks Local Kiteboarder Makes It Into the Olympics

Local Outer Banks kitesurfer Cameron Maramenides, 16, will represent the United States in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires Oct. 6-18, 2018. The Youth Olympic Games is the world’s largest multi-sport event for high-performance young athletes, that aims at inspiring athletes to embrace the Olympic values of respect, friendship, and excellence.  The event, promoted by the the International Olympic Committee (COI), gathers young athletes aged between 15 and 18. It is held every four years; it has two editions, winter and summer, which are held every two years alternately. Buenos Aires will host the third Olympic Summer Youth Games. Contestants will compete in 28 sports. Approximately 3800 participants from 206 countries are expected in October 2018. The OLYMPICS will start on October 6th in Argentina Buenos Ares. For more information on this event, CLICK HERE.
Cameron Maramenides (son of Dimitri Maramenides -- owner of EPIC Kites) was born in Elizabeth City, NC on June 4th 2002 ...on a windy day. He started kiting on his father's back at the age of 19 months, and then by himself when he was just 4 years old.  At the age of 6, Cameron's father got him a custom harness from DAKINE who was one of his father's sponsors at the time. Since his father has made a name for himself in the kiteboarding industry, it was easy for Cameron to follow his father's footsteps and start his own product line called The JUNIOR PRO KITES and BOARDS. Since then, Cameron has been ripping it up in his own back yard (Nags Head, NC) and traveling the world doing what he loves. 

What got you interested in Olympic Kitesurf Racing?

My Step-Mom Helen is the one that woke up one day last summer and told my Dad that she had a dream about me going to the Olympics. So then my Dad and Helen called me down and asked me if I was interested to train for the youth Olympics since they just announced it. The first competition was going to be in Italy 2017. I told them I had no idea how to race since the Olympic format is a race competition and not a free-style competition. My Dad told me not to worry and that we had 12-months to train and he knew a friend of his Michael Gephardt who lives in Dominican Republic who could train me since he was an Olympian in Windsurfing.

How did this journey start? 

So, I decided to give it a try by leaving to Dominican Republic ten days with my Dad. Once we arrived in Dominican, I met my Dad's friend Gebi and also another kid Tiger Tyson who was going to train with Gebi and represent Antigua. We trained for 2-weeks and then me, Gebi and Tiger left for Italy to compete in the European Championship against 72 other kids.  My Dad did not come because he had to travel to other places to promote his kite company "EPIC Kites".  Traveling to Italy was a mess because of the airlines we took. I thought I would never make it to Italy. What a start. Anyway, once we got to Italy the airline lost my bags and had no kites to compete with. So my Dad called his friend Matt who owns Ozone and they sent me some Ozone kites to compete with. But the problem was that the competitions were starting in a few days and getting these kites to me was going to be very tight because of the timing.  I still remember the day of the registration... my kites were still not there. So I woke up the next day at 4:30am, went down to the hotel reception and asked them for a taxi so I can go and find where the UPS warehouse was so I can get my kites in time. After 3 hours driving around chasing any UPS trucks, I was able to find the UPS truck and got 3 mobs that he had. Once I arrived at the hotel where I was staying with my friend Tiger, I ran to the bathroom and on the back ground I could here Tiger saying who is: John....., who is Fancois.......that was written on the box. I panicked thinking I took the wrong box so I came out of the bathroom half naked to check and thank god the last box had my name "Cameron Maramenides". What a start! Anyway, after all this I was able to compete for 5 days and ended up getting 2nd place in the 2017 European Championship in Italy. Then, from there I started competing world wide and became #1 in the world.

You were competing at a pretty high level of Tennis, did any of that training cross over into kiting?

Yes, tennis was a great thing for me and that is why my Dad and Mom decided to put me into a tennis school in Florida. But I was a small fish in a big pond in tennis and I had to spend tons of time training for kiteboarding. But tennis was a great training method because it helped me with cardio and build my legs. Once I got 2nd in Europe, I decided to stop tennis and put 110% on Kiteboarding so I can make it to the olympics.

What did you do training wise to get competitive in the Twin Tip Racing discipline?

Twin tip racing is a totally different discipline but the good thing is that I had the bae of what you need to be a good racer because of all these years kiting with my Dad. I had to spend a lot of time at the gym to get stronger and also on the water to get my timing right on the starts and know how to attack the markers. So in a few words my Dad and I had tons of tangles during practice because he is the one I train with. But also my coach Gebi and a big impact on my training on what to eat and what not to eat and how to race.

Tell us about the racing format? It’s pretty new. How does it work?

The racing format is very easy because it is a downwind slalom that you have to start from the first marker and go through a course with marks and jumps. But it requires a lot of strategy and knowledge of what the weather wind, competitors are doing compared what you need to do to beat them. Also lots of willingness on how to take off and try to be the first one at the starting marker without being over the starting line early.

Any lessons learned from the trials that you will apply in the Youth Olympics? 

Yes. But I can't say anything until after the Olympics are done.

Who are the top competitors to look out for? 

One of my really good friends Tiger Tyson is going to be a good competitor for me, we train and go to all of the events together. Also the kiter from the Dominican team.

What are your plans between now and the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aries Oct 6-18th. 

Train, train, train!