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An Interview: How to be a Mumma and a Kitesurfer

Meet Henri, our She Flies interviewee, with her little monkey, Lily.

As a new Mumma, there are a lot of things to think about and when to go riding is pretty low on that long list. But once you start settling into Motherhood, that unforgotten passion will soon start creeping in. What's normal, when's right, how will baby cope if I ride off into the sunset. We caught up with three new She Flies Mummy's and asked them how they did. Meet Charlie, Henri and Daisy and their beautiful little pumpkins, Beatrice, Lily and Rory:

Hey ladies (and Rory), can you tell us a bit about how you first got into Kitesurfing?

Charlie I went to Mui Ne in Vietnam during my summer break after my first year of University and saw it for the first time. I thought it looked amazing fun although the shore break there looked terrifying! I got back to the UK and was looking for a new social club at Freshers fair when I came across the Kitesurf club. I didn’t even know the club existed and immediately knew I had to join. It took me a year to properly get going but it was totally worth it!

Daisy I was actually going to join the club in my first year of Uni as I knew a friend on the committee but I realised kiting looked far too extreme for me and I wasn't strong enough so I bottled it. Then I saw people kiting during the summer holidays and loved it, so I joined the club at uni in my second year and never looked back!

Henri I was wooed into a first date with my now husband in a snowy December in Rhosneigr (Wales), I think it was 2009? He picked me up from the train station in a battered up Cinquento with an old pink Waroo in the boot and the rest is history. Let's just say there were quite a few tears and years later a lot of love for the sport - and each other of course!

Meet Charlie and her baby Beatrice.

Wow - that is quite a first date! And what do you love about it, or indeed, what has kept you guys addicted for so long?

Daisy For me it's the adrenaline rush, the challenge of learning, being at the beach with the natural elements and the people who did the sport where always so much fun and had a similar go and have fun attitude in everything we did not just kitesurfing. It was kind of easy to stay addicted.

Henri Yea, gosh, so much. The adrenaline, the progression, the stoke post session or scoring something new, the amazing places I've seen when in search of great wind and waves the camaraderie that comes with it; for me it's been amazing and yea, it's easy to stay addicted. But it's pretty rare to meet anyone who is into Kiting that isn't interesting to be honest.

Fancy meeting rad girls like these ones? Join our ever growing Facebook Community Group here that links up Women in Extreme Sports - and check out our adventures that you can join coming up!

Charlie For me, I just generally love being outdoors, at the coast and in the water, and kitesurfing is one of the few sports that (particularly in the UK) is often at its best when the weather could be described as ‘a bit crap’. Windy, squally, sometimes pretty miserable but as soon as you get in the water the adrenaline kicks in and you forget all about your frost bitten hands and feet! So when everyone else has written off the day as a terrible one, you can be blasting around and having an amazing time. On the rare occasion we have a sunny and windy UK session, there really is nowhere I would rather be!

Nods all round for that one. Ok, now for these little rascals, how old is everyone here?

Charlie Beatrice is nearly 16 months, and she’s a total joy - most of the time!

Daisy Rory is 7 months

Henri Lily is 9 months, growing up farrr too fast and she is VERY ACTIVE. If she isn't into some kind of sport I'll be surprised as she regularly tries to throw herself off anything she can. In fact, just changing her nappy is an Olympic sport in it's own right, a form of wrestling maybe.

So the big question on everyone's lips, how long did it take you to get back into the water after they were born - and what was the hardest part for you?

Charlie I think it was about 4 months. I was pretty eager to get back into it straight away but she’s a December baby and the depths of winter are never particularly appealing!

Daisy I went in the sea after two weeks just for a dip then went kiting at 5 weeks. I guess the hardest part was judging how far I can push myself as I was worried about pulling a muscle as all your muscles loosen after having a baby.

Charlie Breastfeeding and kiting was definitely a challenge because I felt very aware that I was the only one that could soothe her if she was hungry and so I felt a little on standby to begin with. The newborn phase is so short though in the grand scheme of things that I really didn’t mind not getting a lot of kiting in. Just being at the beach sometimes felt like a massive achievement!

And how about you, Henri? You had a C Section so I can imagine it was pretty hard.

Henri I had a very chilled session at about 2.5 months thanks to some willing babysitters and then a great trip to Cornwall at 4-ish months and an even better trip to Barbados at 7 months. But yea, I had a C Section and she was breach so I needed to be careful to build up a strong core post pregnancy and I would highly recommend taking advice on this or being very in touch with your own body to know when you are ready for this.

And the hardest part?

Henri I'm guessing you mean of going kiting rather than of parenthood! Leaving your child with someone whilst you go and do something for yourself in the early days is hard… The guilt! Now, I fob her off to any willing grandparent / friend / hubby / passerby whilst I grab a session. I think finding time is the main challenge though, it really is so difficult to score a session these days, we need to be basically staying at the spot waiting for the wind to kick in. We (husband) regularly both get into our wetsuit and stick her in the pram, walk her to sleep on the beach and then take it in turns to go in and out!

Wow girls, they are some short time periods and some big obstacles to over come for a sport you love - good for you all. It must have been a huge step to take. So now as a Kite Mumma, do you feel any differently when you kite than before the little ones were born?

Daisy It feels better as I really appreciate the freedom now of being on my own and doing something extreme, giving me and adrenaline rush, being back with the elements, cold water splashing and wind in my face and reminding myself of who I am (not just a mumma), also I want to show Rory that there is more to his mummy than just to feed him.

Henri I think I appreciate a session more - I massively took them for granted before having Lily. I'm no more cautious except maybe for tons of boosting as I know my core is still healing and it's like doing pull ups - but in general I am less bothered about what other people think about my kiting. I'm so unbelievably excited to just get out that I could fall over a million times and still be grinning from ear to ear.

Charlie I'm the same, the main difference is I appreciate my kite sessions SO much more! I sometimes used to get pretty stressed that I wasn’t progressing or trying enough new tricks/pushing myself hard enough. But now I am just unbelievably excited and grateful to be out on the water. My cheeks ache from smiling at the end of a session and I use every last second that I have.

That is so magic to hear - that endless smile is one we recognise but can't imagine the pride and happiness you get when you've achieved the session with all of these things to think about.

Last but not least, what would you say to new Mum's who are nervous about getting back out there?

Charlie Be kind to yourself and do it when you feel ready. Spending time at the beach watching other people kite is usually a pretty big motivator for getting back out, but don’t have any expectations about what you ‘need’ to achieve. Or treat yourself to a holiday somewhere warm and windy and I’m sure you won’t be able to resist!

Henri Yea, be kind to your post pregnancy body and take it easy at first. If you're breastfeeding, empty your boobies before going - the harness can be super sore - eat lots of chocolate. Try and get your baby to learn to take a bottle so you can go out, that was a major fail on my part.

Daisy What are you worried about? Take it slow and start on an easy wind to get your confidence back but it’s just like rising a bike! You will love it, feel that freedom and show your baby how strong you are!

Henri Do it! Inspire the next generation! I really do believe in happy mum, happy baby. Make time to do whatever you love, be it kiting or knitting.

Perfectly put, ladies. Now chuck over one of those little monkeys so I can have a cuddle.

Getting back into Kitesurfing as well? Check out our Membership Scheme that gives you access to 100's of Partner Schools globally to have a refresher lesson with 15% off!


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