Some might say that I am not a newbie at all. Nonetheless, I feel like one. Often!
I have kited for a bit more than a year, and compared to most, been spoiled with wonderful conditions in the beginning. But I no where near kitesurf every day - or week for that matter - and this spring/summer I have been completely on dry land. Until I took a quick get away to Esposende, Portugal at the start of September, that is.
I started Kitesurfing in Zanzibar with warm water, tons of sun and light wind conditions. For half a year! It is an absolutely amazing place to start kiting - if you ask me - but I have come to realise that it made me quite comfortable in easy conditions.
Now to the confessions. I have discovered a pattern of mine. On land I tend to be quite nervous. I doubt my abilities and I am not sure I asses the wind correctly. Why should a 12m fit me when there is like 500.000 12m’s in the air!? You do hear the irony here, right? Once I am in the water there are no issues at all and I feel completely comfortable - actually already when I attach myself to the bar. But before, I am always this one big bundle of self doubt.
I am aware that I am engaging in an extreme sport and I do believe a healthy amount of respect for mother nature is appropriate but I am missing out on prime conditions, and what is up with that?!
Anyhow. A week in Esposende really improved things for me. I guess. I won’t really know until I’ve been out again, will I? Esposende was cold-ish water kiting, and more relatable to my “natural habitat”, which is Denmark, so at least there is that. Also, I think the key to handle self doubt is kiting in as many different conditions as possible, and preferably (at least in the beginning) with people you know well - who can keep an eye on you - or at the very least please try to bond with some people on the beach. In general I have this rule of never kiting alone, but I think the extra dimension here, is to let people know if you have doubts, and if possible, kite with friends.
And then something happened. A self-boost of sorts.
The last day in Esposende we had awesome waves. For wave surfing you know. No kite attached. So my morning was spend on a surfboard and the afternoon on a twintip, with a 9m. Perfect combination. And I discovered something. First of all that I don’t define as either kiter or surfer - I absolutely define as both. I have kinda known this since the beginning, but still. Second of all, my success in the wave surfing resulted in such a confidence boost. When it was time for kiting, I just upped and went there. No worries, no second guessing, no nothing. Just clean riding and a big smile on my face! My technique even improved remarkably. I mean WHAT?!
I wanted to share some of the worries I am struggling with in this sport. I don’t think they are often highlighted, but I do think they are okay for people to have.
I think some people might have a fear that worrying is a sign of weakness and that if you show doubt it’s the same as saying you should not be on the water.
But for me, there is a big difference in worrying because you don’t know what you are doing and worrying because you need to check in with yourself. So by this, I just wanted to say that even though you are in love with the ocean, you love your sport and are completely dedicated to it, doubts along the way are okay. I believe in an ongoing growth and if you don’t doubt your abilities once in a while, or feel a bit nervous, how are you supposed to evolve. Therefore: keep pushing yourself and respect your feelings, and trust that you will be better for it in the long run.
Lots of love