Choosing a Kite Buddy

Candice and Rachel – post session glow

As a nearly independent rider probably the most important kiting decision you will make is who your kite buddy is. I have to be honest this is going to be one of my less useful blogs. Finding a kite buddy is not like buying a kite – you can’t research a strategy to find one and there is no Tinder for kiters. The reality is, I got lucky, extremely lucky. I have the best kite buddy in the world. I kid you not.
If you know me, you may think I am referring to my amazing partner, Szabi who runs Windhunters. Szabi has many of the qualities of a great kite buddy – he is a demon at reading and interpreting the weather forecast, he wants to get out kiting at any opportunity for even the shortest of sessions, he knows more than me about kite maintenance and he is a better kiter than me so always has useful tips. OK cards on the table….Szabi taught me to kite… in fact a couple of days ago we celebrated the third anniversary of our first kite lesson together. However, he is not my Kite Buddy. I also did not really choose my Kite Buddy. We were both taking lessons at the same (busy) school and honestly, I found her a little intimidating. Think school playground. She is the funny, confident kid that everyone wants to play with because she is so friendly. I am the quieter more bookish kid secretly wondering just how people actually make friends. So how did we end up kite buddies?
For once being female worked for me – there just are not that many female kiters who kite without their life partner. I must pause here. Kitesurfing is an awesome sport that every woman should try if they fancy it. For any single women reading this do not hesitate just go ahead and book your first lesson. Kiters are incredibly friendly and welcoming whatever their gender. In fact, most local kiting communities would love to have more female kiters. Back to my Kite Buddy. As learners, we were roughly at the same stage of learning and we have continued to learn at the same sort of pace. There are times when one of us has pushed ahead but the great thing is this spurs the other to catch up. We also like kiting in the same sort of conditions and whilst we don’t live close to each other (90 minutes away from each other unless she is driving then its only 60 minutes) we kite in the same part of the country. Three years on we even go on kiting holidays together. How did it all start? We were basically pushed together, along with a third lady, by the kite school owner. Probably because we were the only three female kiters who didn’t have partners to kite with. I am not sure but I think the kite school owner may have also tried pairing me with other kiters beforehand (by organising joint lessons) but these relationships never really progressed – a bit like my kiting at the time. Being paired up with Candice, helping each other out with kite set up and pack downs, laughing at our progression (or lack of) and most basic of all knowing that she is there, gave me the confidence to kite independently. In our first year together we had both bought kit but we ended up sharing a set up each session – it allowed us to have longer sessions as we could share the upwind walk on the shore and frankly gave each of us a break as well as instant feedback and first aid. When my progression has suddenly taken a step back (that receding tide session when I couldn’t even relaunch the kite) she was there telling me how awful the conditions were and certainly the wind was dropping and maybe we should call it a day. When the forecast looks a little beyond me Candice is there encouraging me and so I challenge myself without fear of failure because she doesn’t really care if I mess up as long as we have fun.
I am fully aware that this blog has become rather a love letter to my kite buddy Candice and I don’t care. I know I am not alone. I am pretty sure Candice thinks she has the best Kite Buddy in the world too. Seriously there are many kiters out there who count their kite buddy as one of their most important relationships. My advice on finding a Kite Buddy. Don’t worry about it. Get kiting and you will meet a wide range of people with whom you have nothing in common with other than your love of kiting and from this, if you are lucky, will develop a relationship that not only enhances your whole life but gives you someone to launch and land you and drag you out in conditions others hide under their duvets to avoid. If you are not sure where to get kiting check out the IKO website for your local kite school and if you are an experienced kiter you already know to check into the local school at a new spot for instant site assessment feedback and possible new kiting buddies. I can’t recommend enough The Women’s Kiteboarding Collective on FB (women only I am afraid) for a global community of Buddies just waiting to meet you.
Happy Kiting!
(Szabi… you are the best instructor in the world and I couldn’t do most of the stuff I do without you… but you knew already right? Please don’t sulk…)

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