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Posts tagged “freedom in life

The kite community, friendliest group of people

The thing I love about the kiteboarding community is everyone is so open and friendly. I travel around the world a lot by myself and when I get to a new location one of the first things I do is look for the locals who kitesurf either by word of mouth or via media. Every time I email random people or facebook friend requests to strangers in the area they usually accept or respond right away. They are warm, friendly and helpful. I’m not sure if it’s because i’m a girl which makes people more open to talking to me but whatever it is, i’m stoked.

I just arrived two days ago in Merida, Mexico and last night I came across a competition / party  happening close to here on Saturday. I took my chances and friend requested the people who were attending. Within an hour, half of them accepted. One of the attendees who also lives in Merida chatted me and after talking for a bit decided to hang out. He didn’t speak english and my spanish is not great so it was very difficult to chat via facebook. He picked me up one hour later and took me to meet half the kitesurfers in town. Everyone I met was very receptive and even invited me to ride with them anytime. This is not something i’ve encountered in snowboarding, surfing or anything other sport to this extent. It makes me proud to be part of such a great group of people. There is just something different about people who kitesurf. It is such a unique sport, completely solitary but very communal too.

When I thanked my new friend for being so kind and picking me up, he said “you kitesurf, we take care of each other so its no problem”. So true…… 🙂


Are we all artists?

Where do we see the light, the colour, the detail? How do we put them all together? From artists to , to dancers, to players. We all have an art. We see the world in our own eyes. We live it in our own way. Each one of us has the ability to showcase our designs whether it be on the water or on the stage we all have our fantasies.

When I was a child I was convinced I didn’t have a talented bone in my body. I wasn’t particularly good at anything. I know people look at me and think I was one of those star athlete kids but nothing could be further from the truth. I was so embarrassed by my lack of co-ordination in school I was relieved when I got mono in grade 9 and was excused from gym class for the remainder of that year and the follow year too. I hated team sports and running around playing games until I discovered snowboarding.

Snowboarding to me was an outlet. An outlet from my life. My life was not an easy one. My mom was divorced and my little brother lived with his dad. I spent most of the time alone. Tormented by the process of growing up I turned to smoking weed and drinking which helped me make a place for myself. A place where I belonged. I went up to the mountain as much as possible. I loved the sense of freedom I got when gliding down the slopes on carpets of freshly laid powder. It became my obsession. Riding is what I lived for. I felt like a bird looking back from the chair lift to the cloud forest settling in-between the crevices of the mountains, up here nothing mattered. The better you rode, the cooler you were. The latest trends were easily stolen from the local ski shop and if you were good enough the hash smoking hide out was well hidden off the powder chair. Life was great up here. Part of a crowd of rebels and if you were included it gave you a name. At that time snowboarding was still new and few girls were doing it. You could count on one hand the number of girls that first year. We kept up to the boys, didn’t fuss and learned to take a beating on the run. This is where my obsessions came form.

10 years later after riding 30 – 40 days a season I became bored. I rode all i’ve ever wanted and after dropping a fresh deep line in France on my own I decided to look for a new sport. I tried many different avenues of sport and I was down to white water kayaking or kite surfing. These were the only two things I thought would give me the adrenalin rush I was looking for.

The first time I saw kite surfing I was mesmerized. These men were defying the laws of gravity with speed. I liked it. Dangerous, colourful like dancers spinning on ice. I felt like I was a child watching Disney on Ice and I wanted to be Snow White. The was back in 2003 and gear was still unsafe. The way I learned about it was from a guy wearing a t-shirt of smashed up skull. I asked him what it was and he told me how he was slammed into a cliff by a gust of wind while kite surfing and I knew I had to see this sport. Over the next 5 years every time it was windy I would drive down to the beach and watch these crazy few guys ride.

It wasn’t until I traveled to South America did I learn to kite myself. I was 29, newly divorced and on the trip of my life. Eventually I ended up falling in love with the sport as I knew I would. I ended up living, riding and working in Jericoacoara, Brazil for a couple of years before embarking upon opening my own school in Nicaragua.

Currently you can find me working on building Nicaragua’s first kite surfing resort on Lake Nicaragua. The 19th largest lake in the world with 330 days of year of wind.

For more information on Amayo Kite Beach contact me at kitenicaragua@gmail.com

How I changed my life to find happiness

Sometimes the pursuit of one’s career can take you on a path you may think is completely wrong until sudden signs appear showing you that indeed you are on the ‘right’ path. You might experience a dejavu or times when you know exactly what someone is going to say. Often times just when I think my life has gone astray I will have the most reaffirming moments. These times in my life has been so confusing and awful sometimes that I doubted I would ever get what I want.

Ever since I was a kid I always thought I didn’t belong, that I was part of  the wrong family, born in the wrong country. Something just never made sense to me. There was something inside me that was different then everyone else. I never understood kids my own age. I never had friends. I always hung out with adults and watched David Suzuki. I was fascinated by lost cities and amazon adventures. I dreamt of far away lands and about things i’ve only heard of on TV. I never wanted to be a part of my reality, for me it was living a lie. As I grew older I found a sense of freedom looking at travel brochures and fantasizing about being the surfer girl on the beach. The girl who looked so happy and free. I wanted to live a life of blue oceans, palm trees and beach fires. I wanted to be free. All through school I never really had any goals. I tried to be like the boys snowboarding and wake boarding. When I started doing these sports there were hardly and girls. I remember there were like 5 of us in a sea of boys. Not such a bad thing because we learned to be tough and fast. These were good training grounds for my later life.

After high school I took my first vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I was mesmerized by all the people living there from North America working at various jobs and partying. I was convinced this was the path to were I wanted to be. When I got home I began working on a series of things that would get me there ,until one day my aunt told me that my dreams were not real life and I needed to grow up, get a job, a mortgage and a husband. Not long after that I married, made a career and got a mortgage. I tried to pretend to be something I was not. I lived the life everyone said I was supposed to but I had never felt so alone.

Shortly after my divorce I traveled South America in search of my soul. Months into my trip I discovered a place that made me feel whole. A place where I felt I belonged. I did not know why but I stayed there for a year and a half, learned to kite surf and became that girl in the pictures. I’d never felt so alive, so free.

Now, my life is spent trying to keep up with my dreams, to not go back to the life I so once hated. This road has been a bumpy one and i’ve had to give up absolutely everything in order to live it but I would not change it. I once gave up and tried to go back to a “normal” life. After about 2 1/2 months I thought I was going crazy. That life is not for me. I don’t know how to live it. I never did. When I say kitesurfing, traveling and freedom is in our soul, I really believe that. I’ve always been this person I am today, I just didn’t know how to do it.

I wish school would have taught us about who we are instead of what we are supposed to be. I wish we were given the skills and knowledge to chase our dreams. As we enter the world in our teens we are really clueless as to what our options are. We do not feel it’s acceptable to be what we want to be. If I have any advise to give it’s this. Don’t wait until your 30’s like me to discover yourself. Don’t get sucked into a life that is not right for you. If you dream is to work at subway then just be the best subway artist you can be. Life is too short. If you want to read more about my journey to freedom read this article: Kitesurfing Love Affair with Jessica Winkler