We recently caught up with Sophie Chevalier, one of the top 10 finalists in the 2012 “Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer” competition to find out what she’s been up to lately and how the competition has impacted her kitesurfing career.
Sophie placed 3rd overall in the 2012 MIGK and has since been travelling the world and secured herself a few new sponsorships from the likes of F-One, Mood and more…
Where is your local riding spot?
I primarily ride in Brittany (North West of France) at a spot called Trestel, but I move and travel a lot… and I was in Zanzibar for 6 months … so for me my second home spot is in Paje, Zanzibar.
Where are your favorite places to ride other than your local spot?
Zanzibar of course, but I just came back from Coche, Venezuela and I had a really great time over there and I loved the spot and especially the family who run Coche Kites Sport Centre (Chris, Yenni and Luci).
What do you do for work?
Previously I was a sports teacher and now I’m running my own online magazine, KiteSista. I’m the editor but I’m also working with my partner Marcus Graichen who is in charge of all things technical. Right now we are working together on our new project and new website Kite Camp Pro where I am organising special kite coaching clinics in association with F-One and Céline Rodenas (F-One International Team Rider).
What gear do you use?
I’m currently riding the F-One Bandit 6 with the F-One Acid freestyle board and the new F-One Trust in the surf with my F-One fish surfboard.
How has the MIGK impacted your life?
Actually a lot! After the competition I landed a few great sponsors like Lastage, Mood, Femi-Pleasure and F-One! I became an F-One family member and I’m so grateful for that. I’m really happy to ride for this huge and amazing brand and it’s a real honour to be one of their riders. They have been so nice and welcoming to me and I feel really comfortable in the team.
Who were you sponsored by before the comp and who are you sponsored by now?
My first sponsor was Lastage… a brand that is really important for me because we share the same philosophy and because they have always supported me from the beginning. It’s partly because of them that I’m here today. I’ll never forget who helped me out when I was a small ant amongst giants!
Do you compete? If so what competitions have you participated in and what have your results been since the MIGK competition.
No I’m not competing because I kite for the love of the sport and promoting its positive image to all levels whilst encouraging others to start. There are so many amazing young talented riders out there and I am pleased to be able to support all of them.
Has the MIGK competition helped you gain any additional exposure or publicity in the kiteboarding world?
Yes it has… Lots of people supported me during the competition and shared my interview and profile. After that I did a lot of photo shoots for my different sponsors and specifically for F-One, and of course I got a lot of exposure via Facebook and other forms of social media.
Now I have the pleasure of working with Céline Rodenas who is really involved in the kite industry and with whom I have a really great relationship. So as this project evolves we will be able to travel the world and share our passion with people whilst of course giving the best exposure to our sponsor F-One.
How have you used your new sponsors / media connections to influence others who want to get involved in kitesurfing?
Via the images, pictures and exposure… but I think what is the most important for me and also the other riders and the sponsors is mostly the way that you are, your attitude and transmitting a positive image at all levels.
Be nice, friendly and never forget why you are kiting… because you love the sport, you love to be connected with the water and not because you always have to be the best. I think that the best way to influence people is to remind them that we are really lucky to be doing what we do and share this feeling and philosophy with everyone we can.
What advice do you have for the up and coming MIGK nominations?
As I said… don’t forget why you are kiting… the spotlight can be amazing, but don’t let it distract you from your ability to have fun on the water. That magic secret spot with just your friends, the pleasure of helping someone else experience the magic kiting has given you and potentially changing their life as it has changed yours. If you can keep this in your mind then it won’t matter what position you finish in the MIGK or any competition… you will have already won just by being in the position to enter in the first place.
iMK: Sophie, we really appreciate you taking the time to update us on your adventures and the great success you’ve achieved since the MIGK12. Thank you for your insightful advice to this year’s nominees which perfectly sums up what we are trying to achieve with this competition. We wish you all the best with your new kite camp venture and kiteboarding career.