We are the 15% to 20% of females in the male dominated sport of kite surfing.
Even though the number of girls in this sport is slowly rising all of us girls have probably experienced the following: We turn up at our home spot and as usual there is no other girl in sight.
The boys and the girls in kite surfing
More often than not the boys are super encouraging towards us girls and I find there is a lot of mutual respect going on, which I love!
But sometimes I still find myself feeling intimidated and doubting my knowledge and skills.
So why is that?
I guess in general (the exemption proves the rule) us women tend to rather underestimate our skills while men have a higher tendency to overestimate their skills.
Also I see it quite often that our skills are underestimated by others.
So how do we get more confidence?
Know your gear and what you're doing
I find it very imported for any kitesurfer to be independent.
We should all know how to launch and land our kites safely. In my opinion it is not good enough to only be able to launch your kite when your partner/friend is helping you. We should be able to ask a random fellow kitesurfer to give us a launch and be able to get ourselves into the right position. (Of course this is all a learning curve and I encourage everyone to take it at their own time and get the person you know to launch and land you).
Knowing our gear is very important as well. I've seen it too often that the guys are setting up their girlfriends gear, launching it and passing it over in the water (this is great when you're still learning!)
But especially as a girl who tends to underestimate her skills it is important to be able to do this! It will give so much more confidence when you know your gear and how it functions and how to launch and land safely.
At a certain point in everyone’s kite surfing carrier I also believe we should be able to safely self launch and self land (I recommend a drift launch and self landing by pushing your quick release)
Trust your gut
Knowing your gear and being independent is going to help you to trust your feeling.
Determine for yourself which kite size to take. Find the right launching spot. Check the conditions and decide for yourself whether or not the conditions are right for you.
Of course we should consider the advice of someone who is more experienced in kite surfing then us but after all it should be your knowledgeable and informed decision that you end up trusting.
By knowing your gear and your safety you will be able to trust your gut and pull yourself out of a shitty situation if you did make a wrong decision.
Don't let yourself get pushed away from your gut feeling by something someone else feels is right. If you end up making a wrong decision at lest you have learned something.
We all got our own unique style of riding! It's easy to feel intimidated by someone jumping higher, popping harder, going faster, doing a more extreme trick. This is not what kiting is about. Kiting is about making it what you want it to be and not comparing yourself to others but only to yourself.
So next time we're on the beach feeling intimidated or like our skills and knowledge are being underestimated, stand tall and trust yourself!