Kiteboarding Lake Michigan with the Broneah Brothers

The brothers take pride in never having borrowed a single cent, though they give credit to a few people who gave them boosts early on. Russell Schindler, who captains Traverse City’s Nauticat cruises, donated a used Jet Ski to be used for lessons. Their father, Matt Myers, owner of Johnny Advertising, offered his sons free publicity. By the end of that summer they had saved enough money to open their headquarters in Traverse City, and as early as that fall they hosted their very first destination kiteboarding camp in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Keegan and Matt say they wouldn’t be who they are without their upbringing in their family’s hand-built log home on Neahtawanta Point. After a long day on the water or at the shop, the brothers are likely to be found here, where they still live, lounging with a few pals on the front porch, propping their feet up on the railing while throwing back handfuls of sliced veggies, corn chips and salsa. Today they’ve lucked out: just past the front door, their mother, Mary Myers, is in the kitchen grilling chicken for the whole gang.

This is where Keegan and Matt spent their formative years "scrapping around," scrambling through the woods, building tree forts and spending entire days swimming in West Grand Traverse Bay. A grassy footpath meanders from the front yard down to an open beach where the Myers family’s wooden dock reaches out into the water. Straight across is Suttons Bay; farther on, Northport. And to the side of the Myerses’ property, acres of untouched conservation land. This is Tucker Point — secluded, rare and nearly magical. The very tip of a peninsula’s peninsula. It is also, according to Matt and Keegan, one of the best places in the world to kiteboard. Thanks to its position in the bay, the air currents off Tucker Point are ideal for the sport, and the shore is so close to the Myers home, the family hears the wind sending waves smashing against the stony shoreline from the front door.

The brothers weren’t always involved with water sports. For many years, they were diehard about motocross, racing dirt bikes in competitions as far away as Florida. Matt even went so far as to obtain a professional license for the sport, but by that time, injuries had begun to take a toll on both brothers. Then, at a competition, one of their friends lost control of his bike, landed on his neck and died. "That was pretty much the sign we needed," Matt says — the final push to quit the sport and find a new passion. Kiteboarding was a perfect fit; it was just as challenging but much safer. As Matt and Keegan learned more about kiteboarding, the sport quickly crossed over from pastime to lifestyle.

Taking it one step further by turning it into a living was simply a natural progression. "We just wanted to kiteboard all the time, and we figured the best way to do it was to teach people," Keegan says.

The way to divvy up Broneah duties was obvious from the beginning. Keegan, the businessman, handles the finances and marketing. Matt, the artist, takes care of the company’s graphic design. It’s easy to see how it works, even after spending just a few minutes with them on their Neahtawanta porch. Keegan is more reserved; Matt is quicker to laugh. But as they dig into their grilled chicken and watch the muted colors of dusk creep up from behind the trees, it’s also apparent that their differences shine because of mutual respect. Their interactions with each other are easygoing and honest. They recount shared experiences with great joy. And they speak of one another with reverence. "When Keegan and I went to Europe, we slept in a tent together for three months. We went inside laughing, and we came out laughing. That’s how we are," Matt says. "My brother is my best friend. We were always doing something cool together, and now we’re together in business and can watch it grow. I just feel I’m like the luckiest guy on earth."

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