Dr. Frank Repanich isn’t afraid of a challenge, whether he’s dealing with a patient with a complex dental history or hitting the open ocean on his kiteboard. Repanich has been an avid kiteboarder for nine years, deciding to initially pursue the hobby as a means of testing his mettle outside the office.
When a friend with a kiteboarding shop mentioned that the sport was harder than most people assume, Repanich knew he had to give it a go. “It just intrigued me. It was a challenge that I wanted to push myself to do.”
In kiteboarding, which Repanich describes as a combination of sailing and board sports, Repanich has found a surprising community, both on the water and off. “I always go with other people…I do have a home on the water and if the wind is blowing correctly, sometimes I will just leave from my house,” says Bellingham, WA-based Repanich, who keeps in touch with his kiteboarding friends online in his free time, as well.
While kiteboarding has taken him around the world, from Vietnam to Texas to Maui, Repanich says that the last year has forced him to put off some of his future kiteboarding adventures and stick closer to home for the time being.
“I’d like to go anywhere right now!” says Repanich, adding that tackling a hydrofoil board is the next kiteboarding challenge on his to-do list.
Though Repanich admits he had little fear of the water when he first started kiteboarding, he admits that it’s an activity that does come with its fair share of danger.
For anyone eager to try the sport themselves, Repanich says, “I would make sure they take lessons from a qualified instructor and respect the force of the kite, because it does have the potential to cause problems.”
In fact, Repanich has seen firsthand just how powerful the board can be. “I was in the water once and the tide was going in the wrong direction and I ended up swimming about 45 minutes to get back to shore after my kite lines broke.”
Though Repanich says his sense of adventure rarely spills over into his dental practice, he admits that, much like in his kiteboarding, he’s always open to learning and growth. “It’s easy to sit back and do the same thing every time, but sometimes it’s good to look for different methods of doing something… I am sort of pushing it with digital dentistry and doing things that most of my colleagues that are my age aren’t doing.”
And perhaps someday down the line, Repanich hopes, he will find a seamless balance between his vocation and the call of the water. In the future, he says, “I’d like to go to Mexico and treat patients out of a mobile dental clinic in the morning and go kiteboarding in the afternoon.”