Every so often, saying “yes” can lead to new and exciting opportunities. Charlie McKinney, managing director at international investment bank Credit Suisse, would agree with that sentiment. After all, that’s exactly how he got into kiteboarding, the extreme water sport that combines a wind kite and a wakeboard.
McKinney’s long-time friend Rawleigh Ralls had extended invitations for McKinney to join him on sailing trips all over the world. The catch? He had to learn to kiteboard first. When a trip to Tahiti was on the line, McKinney finally caved. “Screw this! I’ve got to learn how to do this,” he says.
McKinney and his 22-year-old son ventured to Cape Hatteras off the coast of North Carolina and took lessons for three days. Ready to show off his new skill, McKinney packed his bags for Tahiti. And the kiteboarding bug bit hard; he has since traveled to places like Chile and Fiji. He also kiteboards locally about a dozen times a year at Lake Grapevine and Lake Ray Hubbard.
McKinney, who founded the Heroes Foundation for youth sports education in Dallas, isn’t one to shy away from obstacles at work or at play. “To learn [to kiteboard] at 52 was a challenge, and it was fun to accomplish that,” he says.
Now, McKinney sees another big challenge: getting his wife and clients to learn (and love) kiteboarding, too. On any given day in his Uptown office, you’ll find him daydreaming of his next trip and checking his wind conditions iPhone app to find the best winds in the world.