When you start a Welcome Talk with "Who here came alone?" there is always a quiet worry that women will feel uncomfortable if they're the only one. What you rarely expect is a sea of hands rising, leaving those that joined with friends left in the minority.
In all our invitations, we offer the She Flies Promise; 'Come alone, you'll leave with friends' and our second She Kites Mini Festival on 9 & 10 April this year was proof that invite works!
We had a mountain of support including WOO Sports, Easyriders Kite, SUP and Wing, WidEYE Natural Skin & Body Care, Vivida Lifestyle - and some incredible World Class speakers including Lewis Crathern, Johanna-Catharina Edin, Rose Bungener and Holly Keenan.
This year, we left our great friends at The Kitesurf Centre in Camber Sands and moved to start a brilliant long friendship with The Beach in Littlehampton. This spot is right on the beach, with views of the incredible calm or wild ocean through an end to end glass viewing window. It's beautiful, the team are awesome, welcoming and they've big plans for that place, that we at She Flies are part of.
We woke up with a sky full of sunshine - and whilst no wind was predicted, the first of Littlehampon secret sea breeze blessed our senses just in time for us to frantically dismantle all 'do-not-use-in-high-winds' objects (spot the missing tents as the festival goes on - now that's a great version of bad luck).
Women joined us from all over the UK and we are already seeing the friendships blossom in our community chats.
We were incredibly lucky to have some of the biggest names - not just UK - globally, join us to talk of their experience, advice and support for She Flies.
The brilliant, supportive and talented Lewis Crathern. Lewis talked about his admirable journey to being a global name in Kitesurfing, that Brighton Pier jump, his opinion on Women in Kitesurfing, his beautiful new world of being a father to Sierra - and he also stepped in to give our beginners their first ever lesson as part of a brilliant display to the beach. Imagine that, your first kite lesson with a World Class Athlete!
Johanna-Catharina Edin was our very special surprise guest. 3rd in the World for Wave Riding, a long career in the Global Kitesurf scene and an incredible force supporting equality in Kite sports, Johanna-Catharina shared her truths of being a professional athlete - the good and the bad. She talked about the beautiful journey she has been on including her short film; 118ft of Freedom and her next adventure hosting progression camps and trips.
Holly Keenan & Rose Bungener, both incredible names in their own right created a warm and open 'fireside chat' with the women attending.
Rose is an inspirational Big Air rider - whilst balancing an incredible career in tech. She placed Second in the big air championships (SA), won the empress of the air (UK) and is currently 13th in the world on Woo (jumping 17.3m!). Rose fought for the big air kite league now having a female division, a big supporter of Women in Kitesurfing.
Holly is new to the global kitesurf scene and she's one to watch. British Amateur Freestyle Champion at just 15, she quickly moved into the pro scene as Australians Vice Freestyle Champ (2018) and Pro British Freestyle Champ (2019). She waited 5 years for the courage - perhaps - and made it to the GKA Freestyle World Cup in Brazil, placed 11th. I have a feeling she's going to keep on going...
Kat Burton - who regularly hosts Pilates classes in Littlehampton - hosted a deep core session of Pilates on Saturday, and again with a beautiful calming view on Sunday. Not forgetting the all important Kiteboarder Stance, hosted by Injury Prevention Coach, Sylwia.
Without our supporters, these events wouldn't be possible. We cannot thank them enough.
Our great supporters who contributed to our raffle to support Women in Ukraine:
Gemma & Andy at Easyriders Kite, SUP and Wing
Sam & Annabelle at WidEYE Natural Skin & Body Care
David at Vivida Lifestyle
Suze from Epic Action Media captured the day perfectly and we will shortly be sharing the day's edit, as usual. Join our Facebook Group to access all photos, and the edit from Dom at Resonate Visuals UK.
And of course, not forgetting our wonderful volunteers this year; Daisy, Hannah and Jelena, who without them this event wouldn't be possible.
Joining us over the weekend we had some epic stands from;
Owned by Hayley, Stax & Stix are one to watch: "Tight-fitting isn’t in our vocab, we’re oversized by design. Tired of ditsy florals, we created something to suit everyone, and we mean everyone. Embracing sustainable relaxed fits and oversized style, Stax & Stix empowers fearless women through every walk of life."
Nattie bought us some beautiful artwork, made just for She Kites! All designed and made by her, with her beaming smile she shared before the wind blew her away. You can follow her on Instagram for more of her goodness, or visit her Etsy Shop!
The beautifully talented Claire and Linda shared some incredible paintings and artwork of the ocean, including Kitesurfer heaven! They withstood the unexpected wind and enjoyed an ocean of women to watch as they displayed their talent.
Here's to see what next years will bring. But don't worry, we've got many events planned before then - if you missed it, make sure you're signed up to our community for future events, or check out what we have in store on our events page.