Tag Archive for 'inspiration'

I Was Starting to Feel Bored With Everything

I Was Starting to Feel Bored With Everything

Everything was becoming more and more boring. Totally dull. I got the occasional bit of a buzz from cycling and enjoyed swimming. But something was seriously lacking.

Over the past week I started easing back into my addictions. Surfing and kitesurfing again. But carefully. This felt good. My injury was holding up ok. Not much discomfort. But keeping to very small waves surfing carefully and kitesurfing lightly in underpowered conditions felt depressing. It was good to be on the water again, building up the next expressive session, but it was just dull. There was no rush, no buzz, no fear.

A good summer SE was forecast yesterday and the morning saw it coming through nicely. Eager to hit it, I rushed out early with my biggest kite. Too early. Gusty and underpowered. It was a good warm up and I took a break for lunch while I waited for it to gather momentum. In the late afternoon it looked solid. There were a few other kiters out. I went out with my regular kite. The swell had jacked up pretty solid. Still gusty but perfectly rideable. I did a few easy runs to warm up. It was tricky to make it out the back through quite consistent swells running close together. Realising that I would not make it over a wave I turned. As I did this I hit a dead patch. The water was glassy. No wind. I looked back to see it baring down on me. It’s one of those moments where you wish you could blow into your kite like a cartoon character to make it power you out of there. I took a breath as it hit me and tried to hang on and somehow get enough power into the kite but got swallowed by the white water. The turbulence felt a bit much to hold onto my board with a dodgy ankle so I booted it free.

What followed was very frustrating. When I surfaced I came within a metre of my board a couple of times. Body dragging upwind in waves for a board in currents can be a fruitless task. Fortunately boards always end up on the beach at my local spot. Usually they go one way but the direction can sometimes be a mystery. I started walking the beach the usual way until another kiter told me his board had gone the other way. As I headed back up the beach some Sunday strollers found it for me. They asked why I did not wear a leash. I explained that it’s too dangerous and I seldom lose my board anyway.

Leashes in my opinion are very stupid and should be banned from our sport. They make sense for surfing. But it’s simply overcomplicated to be attached to a kite and a board simultaneously. It’s impossible to do serious freestyle or even jump safely with a leash. The risk of it shooting back at you are high enough on flat water. In waves this increases dramatically. If you’re using the kite to pull you through a wave and the board is being pulled in the other direction the recoil from a leash can be immense. A leash without stretch could tear your leg off. Unlike surfing it’s also not so easy to swim under water and wait for the board to recoil over your head. Generally the kite keeps you on the surface like a sitting duck. Wearing a helmet is simply not sufficient protection. There have been a number of leash-related fatalities even with helmets.

Eternally grateful that my session could resume I charged out again. This time with some anger and frustration at having an unwanted search mission thrown in. Since I was landing on my healthy back foot I felt free to boost a couple of airs off the waves on the way out. Some nice little bits of hang time fueled my addiction and restored my endorphin balance. This morning my boredom is dead and buried and I’m feeling inspired.

Susi Mai

I remember seeing something on a forum a few years back that said something like: “Naked Pictures of Susi Mai.”

I didn’t know who she was but the thread obviously got lots of attention. I think it was some bloke trying to sell gear or something.

Since then I’ve known that she’s an attractive professional kitesurfer. I saw her pictures in magazines occasionally.

But I didn’t know anything about her or see any of her footage. Then I found this video on YouTube that tells a bit of her story. Inspiring stuff.

Injured Improvement

Injured.

Again. Injury is part of sport. Impossible to avoid. But so frustrating.

A year ago I adjusted my lifestyle so that I can surf and kitesurf daily. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In spite of the common reservations on how to make ends meet financially, I found that I had more energy for work and performed far more efficiently and with greater and more consistent motivation than ever before.

The only downside has been two minor injuries that have required weeks of rest from surfing and kitesurfing.

The first was a rib injury sustained during an impact with the water on a late take-off whilst surfing (weird, I know, but it happened somehow) . The second was a ligament/ tendon strain sustained on freak wipeout attempting a floater on a small wave over a shallow sand bar.

The funny thing is that there is very little written about surfing safety. Yet I’ve sustained countless minor injuries in the sport over the years. Admittedly I’ve been kitesurfing for much less time. Perhaps my relatively lower kitesurfing level means that I’m doing more conservative things, but I’ve yet to sustain any form of kitesurfing injury beyond the inevitable muscle pain that’s largely declined as fitness has increased. Perhaps extreme freestyle or kitesurfing surf-style will yield more injuries. Time will tell. But I hope not…

When I’m injured I try and keep as active as possible. Currently I’m swimming every day and doing a bit of cycling.

I’m interested in the idea of coming back stronger after injury. There are many stories of athletes to inspire this. Lance Armstrong and Mick Fanning are keeping me inspired at the moment. I read It’s Not About the Bike while I was still hopping and largely sofa-bound after the ankle injury. I didn’t know much about Armstrong before this. His story is incredible and blew my mind. Something he seems to have in common with Fanning is turning negative experiences into positives whilst competing and throughout life. More and more, lately, I think that great athletes are made mentally. Injury can’t hold you back there.