Katie Chandler is one of the top 10 Finalists in the “Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer 2012” competition!
Do you think Katie (a.k.a. Kate) should be crowned the most influential or most inspirational girl in kitesurfing this year? Read all about her in the interview below.
Congratulations to Katie Chandler!
Interview with Katie Chandler
Katie, tell us a little bit about yourself or your story.
I’m a British girl who followed her heart to Brazil and never looked back. I ran a kite hostel, have a kite school and have been living the Brazilian kite life for almost 7 years now. I’ve had the most fantastic experiences, worked with some amazing companies and met so many beautiful people along the way!
Where are you from?
North East England. There are not many places in the world where you can kite with 3 medieval castles as a backdrop but there you can!!
Where do you live and kitesurf now and what brought you there?
I live in a small fishing village in Ceara, northern Brazil called Taiba. People always ask what brought me to Taiba and seem pretty shocked when I answer “Because it’s windy!”
Favourite kitesurfing spots?
I’m spoilt for choice! I ride the Taiba lagoon most days but my fave “spot” is really the 19km stretch of coast that runs between Taiba and Paracuru. It’s such fun doing a super fast downwinder, hitting the kickers and flat sections on the way. If you’re lucky you can see giant turtles and dolphins!!
Do you have any sponsors? Who are they?
Nope but a girl can dream
Apart from kiting, what are your other Interests?
Some Brazilian friends taught me to surf and I got the bug bad! I love to ride horses, galloping across the English countryside or down Brazilian beaches, either is perfect! I train capoeira here in Taiba and like to make and paint stuff!
How did you learn to kitesurf, who taught you and when did you start?
I had my first lessons in 2005 in the U.K it was terrifying, no harness involved! It almost put me off completely!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your kite career and how did you overcome it?
I had such a stupid irrational fear of deep water, I think it came from sneakily watching Jaws too young! Even before moving to a tropical climate I would panic if I was out of my depth. My friends and I were of the first girls to join the Sea Scouts in the U.K when I was growing up. We used to mess around and capsize boats all the time but I’d always be the fastest at righting the boat and getting back in! I’m not exactly sure when I stopped being scared, I guess my love of kiting was a much stronger feeling and in time it just went! I’ve even been cage diving with great white sharks since!
What is your proudest achievement?
Last year a friend and I took part in the annular “Downwind da Indpendancia” here in Brazil, a grueling 260km independent downwinder over 3 days. Not only were we the first foreigners to take part, we were also the first girls to make journey. Some of the guys were not too happy about us joining, thinking we would hold them back. On the first day I was the first person to reach our destination for the night and my chic Ashley was just a few guys behind. The mood improved and the guys were stoked to have us with them by the end. It was tough going, some days we kited for 7 hours straight with no beach support or another person in sight. Out of the 17 that started only 7 finished including Ash and me!
What is your preferred riding style?
What would you like to learn?
I was trying for my first (unhooked) back roll to blind today and it was pretty funny! I get brain freeze and wipe out! But seriously, I wanna learn to race!
Who influenced you to start kitesurfing? Is there anyone you really look up to?
I’ve met quite a few female pro kiters over the years here in Brazil, last year I met Colleen Carroll while she was out here with her brother Devon and we became friends. She’s a super fun chica and for sure inspirational to kite with, she’s always offering tips and telling you to go for new tricks! She is such a focused, determined kiter, has an awesome wakestyle, but at the same time doesn’t take herself too seriously and is always up for a giggle. I’m sure her hard work and determination is going to pay off in a big way!
Describe a time you inspired someone to start kitesurfing?
The night we finished the “Downwind da Independancia” some girlfriends of the guys who took part asked me to teach them to kite. They had been kite girlfriends for years and never really felt they could be kiters themselves. So a few days later everyone came to stay with me in Taiba and I taught the girls to kite. They were the first big group of Brazilian girls I’d taught, it was so much fun and they were just amazing!!
How has kitesurfing changed your life?
I have moved to the other side of the planet, learnt new languages, made so many amazing friends from around the world and keep having the most amazing experiences everyday all because of kiteboarding! I can’t imagine living a life that doesn’t include kiteboarding now!
Besides kitesurfing, what are you most passionate about?
This spring I became a RYS certified Yoga teacher in Bail. Santosha’s founder Sunny Richards was such an inspiration to be around. She’s a former champion surfer and we would all hit the waves in-between classes! So the two things I am most passionate about after kiting were perfectly combined, surfing and yoga!
What are you doing for Kitesurfing in your community or globally?
From the beginning I’ve been behind the local guys and community 100% helping in any way I could. Next year I’ll be running kite and yoga retreats with the aim to get more girls involved!!
How do you think winning the 2012 Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer will shape your life and the positive work you are doing now?
It would be an amazing achievement and hopefully inspire more girls that it really is ok to follow your heart and the wind!
What do you think the future holds for kiteboarding / Kitesurfing and what can we do to improve our sport?
Kiteboarding is going to get more and more popular. Spots will get busier so we need to keep smiling and keep it fun!
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?
The Olympics will be here in Brazil and I’m sure it’s going to be mega exciting during the run up! For the first time ever the WHOLE WORLD will be watching so without a doubt it’s going to have a huge positive effect on kiting!
Update: Sadly, the ISAF reversed its decision to include kiteboarding in the 2012 Rio Olympics on Saturday the 10th of November. We asked Katherine to share her thoughts on this.
It’s so sad, I was lucky enough to get to the London 2012 and was so excited that kiting would be part of the next games. It’s a huge blow to kitesurfing and the kite industry! Kitesurfing is most definitely in keeping with the IOC’s goals and is one of the few sports that really is open to all. I think had the question been simply “Should kitesurfing be an Olympic sport?” the answer would have been a definite yes! It seems against the IOC charter to have made a decision the way they did, and making the committee choose between one or the other, hardly promotes harmony and unity between sports, which is something the IOC strive to do.
I’m hoping that there will be be some kind of movement in revolt to the decision, and that kitesurfing will make it in to Rio 2016, and that the IOC will realise that both windsurfing and kitesurfing deserve to be part of future games!
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
I’m hoping to get onto the U.K kite scene next year, who knows maybe get into racing and go for gold
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