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Bill Gehring Instructor Profile

IKO Level 2 Senior

There's just no nice way to put it; Bill is a washed-up, has-been, old jock, but also an experienced and excellent kiteboarding instructor. His early years were spent playing traditional team sports like baseball, basketball, and football. He really liked sports where he could crash into people, hence the reason he was banned from basketball and golf (he never liked golf because crashing in to your opponent seemed to be frowned upon). When he retired from playing baseball and fast-pitch softball, he trained hard to became a tournament level racquetball player. His training paid off as he reached the quarterfinals of the state tournament 4 years in a row. After severing his right Achilles tendon in a racquetball tournament (one of his 10 surgeries) he took up windsurfing in 1983. In 1988, he broke the U.S. speed sailing record for men over the age of 50 (of that accomplishment he likes to say he was the fastest of the slow guys). Bill Hansen of WindWing Sails then made Bill a team rider for WindWing. He retired from a career in business and found out that he had a passion for teaching Kiteboarding. He teaches all ages and genders. His belief about life is simple: "Life is a contact sport, and when you stop learning, you stop living". He's still learning.

Testimonials for Bill Gehring - Kiteboard Instructor

"Bill was very clear, insightful, and enthusiastic about getting me up and riding safely and independently. By the end of the camp, Bill had me feeling very comfortable in the water and riding upwind in both directions.

Bottom line, I was very satisfied with the camp. Originally, I signed up just for the boat access, figuring that the instructors are hit or miss, but the instructor was definitely a hit and the equipment and radio helmets were incredibly useful. Thank you! I learned a ton!"

- Joe Crotchett
Austin, TX

“Bill provided an outstanding experience. He was patient and enthusiastic from the very beginning, and as I caught on and successfully executed each technique his encouragement was awesome to hear. I will definitely refer him by name and will try to come back myself if at all possible!

The camp with Bill allowed me to try out 3 different kite sizes, 3 brands, and 2 different bars – awesome experience. The ability to “find” wind and rig off the boat made each day productive, and I simply can’t say enough about how fantastic the radio helmets are!!! Air Padre was top notch. Having taken lessons in Grand Cayman Island for 2 days with nothing but yelling and whistles – it just doesn’t compare to my time at Air Padre!”

- Brandon Bernard
Houston, TX

"I can't thank Bill enough for the lesson! I was on the verge of giving up completely as I had taken a couple of lessons 2 years ago and have been struggling to put all of the information together ever since. Bill's enthusiasm, knowledge and patience were the exact recipe for me. He took the time to listen to my concerns (and fears) and invested himself in evaluating my current skill level so he could customize my lesson to focus on the skills I needed, and we could maximize our time together. I am finally up and riding (Yay!) and most importantly, re-energized about this wonderful sport. Thank you Bill!"

- Angela C.

"Bill was great to work with and very focused on safety - more than the other schools (where) I took Lessons. Great learning environment."

- Greg K.

Hey guys, Just wanted to send a note of recommendation for my lesson with Bill Gehring. He's a fine instructor and an inspiration. The two hour private lesson was well paced and Bill was very methodical and through. He takes great pride in what he does and has a blast doing it. Loved that he mentioned, "I'm 72 but feel 25 when I'm riding". That's just great. My family drove down from San Antonio for a short visit to Padre so only had time for one lesson before returning. Hope to come back for another one soon.

- Bill B.
San Antonio, TX

"Bill was awesome. Great lesson!"

- Hugo M.

"Bill gave us the basics, did some slow in-water demos. He didn't overwhelm us with a lot of details - made sure we were being safe and having fun. He'd have us practice on our own (and) get the feel for what we were trying to accomplish - giving us lots of encouragement through the helmet radio. Bill is more interested in what the student is learning and not watching the clock. I had a good, safe and comfortable learning experience."

- Dave T.
Tacoma, WA

"(Bill) recognized fatigue - got me to rest. He recognized my weaknesses and told me how to make the corrections with precise and clear instructions. He let me ride when I was in good shape. Even good boats break down - very prompt tow. Bill really did well picking the right kites and "tuning" 'em to conditions. Our late evening out with the 14 m (Taboo) was flexibility and dedication extrordinaire. I'm very grateful I was allowed to spread the 3-day camp out to 5 days.

The Internet led me to you. I flew over a lot of teaching facilities from Lafayette, LA to get here. You could promote the primo chase vehicles (boats) - I did not realize how valuable that service could be. The radio helmets and quality of the instructors are the perfect teaching package. Top it off with almost every day's flyable conditions and square miles of shallow warm water - makes me so glad I came here."

- Dr. Paul Toce

"I don't think I could have asked for a better instructor. 72 and killing it! Bill's the man!"

- Chad J

"Bill both loves & lives to teach, and he excels at it. He stresses fundamentals & safety, and gives freely of his own time with hints, advice, answers to questions, and mini-lectures to the end that you succeed. Perhaps at age 74 I am the oldest of his students to date; but he got me up and riding. (I'm) both thrilled with my progress and excited to improve in a new speed and power sport where control was his gift. ìGracias mi capitan!

Everyone associated with Air Padre has been totally professional and informative. The team seems very knowledgeable, the equipment 1st rate. I would definitely recommend AP to anyone w/o any qualms or hesitation."

- Jason Witt

I had an excellent experience with Bill His love of teaching was evident in his enthusiasm that I learn safe kiteboarding and have fun. A plus - I rode! Thanks very much! Will be back for more."

"When I signed up for kiteboarding lessons at Air Padre, I had 2 goals I wanted to conquer. The first was being relaxed flying a kite and the second was getting up and riding a board. With Bill's easy-to-understand teachings of kiteboarding and his fun loving personality, not only did I reach my 2 goals in 2 lessons, but it created a passion in me to pursue this sport. I'm already planning another trip to SPI and taking more advanced lessons from Bill. Thank you for making my trip to SPI. I consider the team at Air Padre as friends that I want to stay in touch with."
- Kathy Klossner

"I started to kitesurf later in life, at age 56, and with quite a bit of anxiety attached to the process. Bill was a such a great teacher and had me riding in just a few days. He was supportive, helpful and most important of all made me feel safe and comfortable when starting out in this amazing sport. Bill is so passionate about teaching that you can't help but enjoy even the difficult times that can otherwise be so frustrating. As soon as I met him and soaked up his positive, confident vibe I absolutely knew that he was going to be able to get me up and riding. I have taken lessons other places and can't speak highly enough about Bill and Air Padre's system of teaching. In my experience a three hour lesson with Bill and the chase boat is worth more than a weeks time spent trying to learn by thrashing in the water by yourself while your teacher is on the beach."
- Dr. Ron

"Bill is an amazing instructor! I took my very first kitesurfing lesson ever with Bill, and his knowledge and patience was greatly appreciated. As well, his encouragement and support during the learning process was key to my enjoying the sport. Air Padre uses radio headsets and a boat, which makes the whole experience very positive, and I highly recommend booking your kitesurfing lessons with Bill Gehring at Air Padre."
- Cheryle B.

"Bill got me up and riding in no time. His patience and excellent instruction were crucial in my learning to ride. I'd highly recommend him to anyone interested in the sport of kiteboarding."
- CJ Johnson

"I came to South Padre hoping to learn how to kiteboard. Having only a few hours experience in flying the kite, I was scared of the kite and its power. Bill taught me a good way to keep the kite in the air while putting on the board. And I soon was over my great fear of the kite, even flying a 14m Ozone Catalyst, the gentle giant. After two lessons with Bill I was riding the board both directions for as long as I wanted to, with confidence, and had great fun learning this exciting sport. The radio communication is fantastic, a must for learning the sport with efficiency and safety."
- Stefan Rockwell

"(Bill is) awesome."
- Justin S.

"Great time - the Best."
- Jim P.

"Very patient, encouraging."
- Tom S.

"Learned lots and reviews were great."
- Robin C.

"Great instruction all around. Very enthusiastic and positive info. Keeps you upbeat. Excellent. Will refer to friends and will come back soon."
- Rob O.

"Great encouragement and feedback. Exceeded all my expectations. Now riding both directions and self-starting at will."
- Anon

"Had a blast. Learned a ton. Love the boats and gear - makes for lots of kiting. Amazingly stocked - always had gear for any wind." - Neal T.

"Lots of good advice. Good pointers on kite control, keeping the kite aloft with less effort. Really liked the radio in the helmet. Helped to body drag first, then I got up and riding left and right. Good self-rescue lesson."
- Anon

"(Bill) has a lot of patience with slow learners and older riders."
- Anon

"I would recommend lessons from Bill to anyone wanting to learn kiting. I received a great deal of knowledge in the 12 hour camp, my only experience prior to going to South Padre was flying a trainer kite. Bill made me feel safe at all times and taught me safety, wind theory , how to ride with proper etiquette and rules. I had a great time with Bill and Air Padre. I have been to the Island two times now getting ready to go for twenty days in October. I am from Ventura County Ca. my friends and I go to the Island to work on our skills in a safe environment and hang with all the great kite community of people it has to offer."
- Travis


----- IKO and PASA Certified Instructors -----
5709 A Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, Texas 78597  |  956-299-9463  |  9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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