Cynthia Brown is one of the top 10 Finalists in the “Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer 2012” competition!
Do you think Cynthia (a.k.a Cynbad) should be crowned the most influential or most inspirational girl in kitesurfing this year? Read all about her in the interview below.
Congratulations to Cynthia Brown!
Interview with Cynthia Brown
Cynthia, tell us a little bit about yourself or your story.
I attended an all-girl’s boarding school through High School, and then graduated cum laude from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY, with a degree in Design. During the summers, I would commute by train to New York City for a job in an advertising agency, to earn money for college. When the train would drop me at the station in Connecticut, I would jog, in my jeans, to our yacht club 3 miles away, and windsurf, in my jeans, until the sun went down and my Sister would pick me up. This was back in the 80’s, windsurfing had just been invented, and it was my passion.
After college, I moved to Santa Monica CA where I windsurfed for Hollywood with many rolls in television shows and commercials, all while creating a successful graphic design business. When the Northridge earthquake trashed most of my neighborhood in 1994, I headed for the hills of Aspen Colorado, where I took my graphics business to a new level winning many regional and national awards for logos, campaigns, and publication designs. While in the Rocky Mountains I discovered wake boarding and threw myself into sports of the terra firma like polo cross, fox hunting, mountain biking, snowboarding, and skiing. Eventually the need for wind and waves caused me to yank roots again, downsize my business, and head South across the Mexican Border, where I am now a permanent resident.
Where are you from?
I hail from Darien and Greenwich Connecticut
Where do you live and kitesurf now and what brought you there?
I live in La Ventana, BCS Mexico. When I came up over the hill from La Paz and spied La Ventana Bay for the first time, I was awed by its beauty. This was back in 2000, and La Ventana was a tiny, quiet fishing village. There was no telephone, no internet, no gas station, only one hot dog cart, a handful of kiters, and the wind blew 25mph everyday!
Favorite kitesurfing spots?
Absolute favorites include big wind and waves; Northern California, Northern Baja, and the North Shore of Oahu. Otherwise, any place that involves a 6m kite, a surfboard, and friends.
Do you have any sponsors? Who are they?
I owe a great deal of gratitude to my sponsors; Ozone Kites, Firewire Surfboards, Amundson Customs, and Dakine.
Apart from kiting, what are your other Interests?
Surfing, SUP surfing, SUP fishing, mountain unicycling, oil painting, ukelele playing, and rock and roll drumming.
How did you learn to kitesurf, who taught you and when did you start?
I had two marginal afternoon sessions with ‘the Godfather’ himself, Cory Roesler. It was 1999 and I was equipped with his non inflatable frame kite, Reel Bar, and a slalom ski. Talk about challenging. I had to throw the kite into the air, while using a bicycle brake to attempt to let the two lines out evenly, and keep the kite flying while standing in the shore pound with one foot in the binding of a slalom ski. The only time I was allowed to hook into the harness was on the rare moment when everything was perfectly aligned and I was on a plane. The kite was like flying a high speed stunt kite or possibly a fighter jet, so when it went into a dive it happened fast and there was almost no stopping it. When it did hit the water, it would lay flaccid or sink. I had to retrieve it using the reel attached to the massive aluminum bar while floating with my attached slalom ski, and then try to toss it back in the air to start the process all over again.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your kite career and how did you overcome it?
Being lofted, knocked unconscious, and dragged across the rocks, back in the two line, no de-power, wrist leash era. I loved the sport so much that I wasn’t going to let a little mistake, like almost dying, stop me. The first time I launched several months later, I had two friends help, and did breakdown into tears. The concussion I suffered is also to blame for my current memory issues, or at least that’s what I tell people when I can’t remember their names.
What is your proudest achievement?
In 2011, I won both 1st and 2nd place in Course Racing and Big Air Freestyle, in three separate, back to back events (The La Ventana Classic, The Lord of The Winds, and The Mexican Nationals), all while competing against girls at least half my age. I also landed a 38lb Yellowtail on my stand up paddle board.
What is your preferred riding style?
Strapless freestyle and wave riding is my current passion, but I still enjoy the big air/old school, and high speed race sessions.
What would you like to learn?
I want to land a strapless backside 360 no grab forward. I think the Sea of Cortez has dropped several inches from all the crashing and water swallowing I have done while trying.
Who influenced you to start kitesurfing? Is there anyone you really look up to?
My big Brother Jamie, who lives on Oahu, sent me a video he had taped of kiteboarding on the Hawaii Extreme Sport channel. This was back in 1998, and I couldn’t sleep for weeks after watching it. I wanted to fly a kite so badly. He is also responsible for getting me hooked on windsurfing in the 80’s.
Jamie is a rock solid, positive guy. Just last week he entered his first ever windsurfing competition at Hookipa Beach Park and made it to the semi finals in both the Amateur and Masters divisions, with solid 10ft surf, light winds, and about 60 competitors.
I also admire good friend Mike Doyle, whom I mentored in kiting. He is a surfing legend who pioneered big wave surfing among other disciplines, in the 1960’s. He has been an epic ‘waterman’ for almost 3/4 of a century, and to this day is always so stoked to dive in whenever the wind is howling or the waves are pumping. He also has the most creative sense of humor ever.
Video: California Tripping
Describe a time you inspired someone to start kitesurfing?
Last summer in Hood River Oregon, a veteran windsurfer, whom I did not know, approached me. She was amazed at the strapless airs that I was throwing, and was blown away at the possibility of what could be done with just a kite and a surfboard. After chatting her up some, she was determined to put her big rig aside and sign up for a kite lessons.
How has kitesurfing changed your life?
I now have a large network of people across the globe who embrace similar lifestyles and drive. Everywhere I go, I’m bound to make a new friend.
Video: Hucking & Hurricanes
Besides kitesurfing, what are you most passionate about?
Art and laughter.
What are you doing for Kitesurfing in your community or globally?
I am using my Graphic Design skills to do pro bono work. In partnership with a local resort, I created a campaign to raise awareness about littering in our town, called “No Mas Basura”. Yearly, I design posters and tee shirts for Baja Paws, a local organization that spays, neuters, and finds homes for stray dogs and cats. I also donate my time to the local ‘girl’s Kite Camps’ for all those lassies that want to learn strapless skills, as well as create and submit monthly strapless video tutorials for an online kitesurfing magazine, based out of New Zealand.
Video: Strapless Grab Tips
How do you think winning the 2012 Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer will shape your life and the positive work you are doing now?
I think it would be amazing for a ‘mature’ woman to be globally recognized in this sport of youngsters. It would imply not only that females can rip, but that anybody can. Kitesurfing is a new sport and the possibilities to it’s fun/stoke potential are limitless to anybody who wants to make the effort.
What do you think the future holds for kiteboarding / Kitesurfing and what can we do to improve our sport?
Kiting is still in its infancy with equipment and techniques evolving yearly. Who would have predicted that strapless riding or course racing would become such quick sensations? I believe the future will see more congestion at the popular kite spots, with kiters and kite manufactures needing to evolve and maintain stringent safety precautions to avoid conflicts with other beach users.
How will the fact that kitesurfing is now an Olympic sport affect you personally, and what effect do you think this will have on the sport?
I don’t think that it will have an effect on me personally, unless I decide to make course racing my exclusive kite discipline, and with all of the waves that need riding, I don’t think that is going to happen. With Olympic exposure it’s possible that young athletes will enter the sport just for the racing aspect, which should spur even more development of racing equipment and events worldwide.
Update: Sadly, the ISAF reversed its decision to include kiteboarding in the 2012 Rio Olympics on Saturday the 10th of November.
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
Excellent physical health and a few more smile lines!
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