Tatiana Howard is one of the top 10 Finalists in the “Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer 2012” competition!
Do you think Tatiana should be crowned the most influential or most inspirational girl in kitesurfing this year? Read all about her in the interview below.
Interview with Tatiana Howard
Where do you live and kitesurf now and what brought you there?
I am very blessed to be able to have grown up on the island of Maui, Hawaii. This is where I still live. I love to travel and see the world, but I always love to come back to my life on Maui. My parents moved out to Maui back in the 80’s for windsurfing and I’m so stoked they did, because I cannot imagine my life without the ocean and all the awesome watersports.
Favourite kitesurfing spots?
Martha’s Vineyard is super fun because there is nice wind, super glassy waters and no crowds at all. Northern Brazil is always fun in and out of the water, with a wide variety of conditions from lagoons to the open ocean, and warm water is always nice. Dominican Republic is also a lot of fun! Love it there! A recent new spot I traveled to and enjoyed this summer was Pacasmayo, Peru. It has the longest wave I have ever ridden. The rocks and launching are kind of tricky but once in the water it is a blast!
Do you have any sponsors? Who are they?
Da Kine, Cabrinha, Neil Pryde Maui, GoPro, Fly Mount, Pakaloha Bikinis, Positive H2O, Kaenon, Maui Ultra Fins, Matiko Shoes, Kialoa paddles
Apart from kiting, what are your other Interests?
Dancing, yoga, windsurfing, surfing, organizing The Butterfly Effect events/trips, hanging out with friends and family
How did you learn to kitesurf, who taught you and when did you start?
I started kitesurfing about 5 years ago. Kitesurfing was perfect to fill in the Maui days of lighter wind. I soon became hooked and love the ease of traveling with my kiteboading equipment rather than my windsurfing gear. I learned randomly in Spain with the Spanish DaKine importer. I thought I knew how to kitesurf, but really didn’t at the time and Mariano was very patient, picking me up day after day, way down wind on the beach for about a week straight. After that I got it down and have been so stoked ever since!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your kite career and how did you overcome it?
Different challenges come up all the time from learning something new, sponsorships, events, contests, nerves, planning, not knowing, unhelpful words or comments, etc., but I try to embrace every challenge as an oppurtunity to make myself or the situation better and to learn from it.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is the all woman’s water event that I founded called The Butterfly Effect that contiunes to double in size every year. It is a down-winder for kiters, windsurfers and SUP’ers. www.betheeffect.com The event continues to grow because of all the like-minded water women and men that share the same passion for enjoying watersports. I am proud of the colloboration and team work that goes into making a Butterfly Effect happen.
What is your preferred riding style?
Waves and free-riding… and always getting air!
What would you like to learn?
I would like to learn un-hooked tricks, flips, sharper turns, and to get better overall with wave riding.
Who influenced you to start kitesurfing? Is there anyone you really look up to?
Back in the day when kiting first started I only saw the Maui crew doing crazy stuff and they were so exciting to watch. It made me want to try it. Now there are so many great women riders out there. There are so many girls out ripping like Verda, Susi, Tomoko, Fernanda, Julia, Anabelle, Raquel, and Erika. I’ve been privileged to meet and ride with them all because of living on Maui or from The Butterfly Effect events.
Describe a time you inspired someone to start kitesurfing?
I hope The Butterfly Effect has inspired many women to get out there on the water. The Butterfly Effect is a non-competitive event that promotes women in water sports. We are there to encourage and help each other all succeed and have fun. A lot of friendships are made and since The Butterfly Effect includes surfing, stand up paddling, and windsurfing, I hope that the women participating can inspire other girls that SUP or windsurf to try kitesurfing or visa versa.
How has kitesurfing changed your life?
Kitesurfing and all the other water sports I love… have given me so many friends around the world. It has given me confidence, inner strength as well as outer strength, and has given me such a passion in life. It has given me so much respect for the ocean and everything in and around it.
Besides kitesurfing, what are you most passionate about?
All water sports and sharing the love of the ocean and doing what I can to help increase awareness for keeping the ocean healthy. I am very passionate about The Butterfly Effect because I feel it is a great outlet for me to share watersports, yoga, health, fitness, and giving back all in one event.
What are you doing for Kitesurfing in your community or globally?
The Butterfly Effect is the project I am continually working on and expanding. The Butterfly Effect always happens by collaborating with other water women, because we have similar goals and passions. Since the BE (The Butterfly Effect) is non-competitive it offers a lot more commrodaory rather than competition.
How do you think winning the 2012 Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer will shape your life and the positive work you are doing now?
Any kind of award or exposure helps others know what is happening in Kiteboarding, and inspires more women to go for their dreams. I would be thrilled to win the Most Influential Kitegirl award. I am not the best at kiteboading, but I am passionate about getting women out on the water and work very hard in organizing The Butterfly Effect. I can see how it helps women set goals for the next Butterfly Effect event and they work hard to try new sports or tricks, and stretch their abilities.
What do you think the future holds for kiteboarding / Kitesurfing and what can we do to improve our sport?
I think kiteboarding will continue to grow. It is a quick learning curve and it gives people so much thrill from the start, that it gets people hooked! Kitesurfing is just moving forward and up for the future!
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?
Although my main empasis in kiting or any other water sport has been more for the pure enjoyment of it rather than competition, I think it is great for women who enjoy that, and having it as an Olympic Sport is great. Each person has their own dreams and goals. Being an all-round water girl, I do have friends that have trained their whole life for the windsurf racing, and my heart goes out to them that their dreams and hard work have been cut. Too bad there can’t be both!
Update: Sadly, the ISAF has reversed its decision to include kiteboarding in the 2012 Rio Olympics.
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
I hope to become a better kiter myself and inspire more poeple to get out and learn how to kitesurf. It has given me so much joy, that I want to share it with others. If people try kiesturfing and it isn’t their thing, that’s fine, just a step in helping them find what their true passion is and to go with it!
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