Verda Marley is one of the top 10 Finalists in the “Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer 2012” competition!
Do you think Verda should be crowned the most influential or most inspirational girl in kitesurfing this year? Read all about her in the interview below.
Interview with Verda Marley
Verda, tell us a little bit about yourself or your story.
I’m a kitesurfer girl- and that’s number one but besides that I’m a raw foods chef and run my own company Ombelly.com and love to make raw pies and chocolates; I am also a Realtor and enjoy finding people their dream homes. I am a very lucky girl- and very grateful. All the way from Istanbul, Turkey I ended up in Maui 10 years ago and have been working very hard to live the life that I had dreams about when I was a kid. I’ve always loved making and flying little kites, but I never knew my life is going to be all about kites.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, I went to high school in Illinois and graduated college in Chicago- been living on Maui, HI for the past 10 amazing years ; )
Where do you live and kitesurf now and what brought you there?
I live and kite on the Northshore of Maui, and every once in a while when the wind turns Easterly Beasterly, I kite on the South and West shores as well.
Wind ,waves and delicious coconuts brought me and kept me here ; )
Favourite kitesurfing spots?
KANAHA is my fav but i love kiting in CANGU, BALI. Fiji and Tahiti are also among my favorites.
Do you have any sponsors? Who are they?
NAISH Kiteboarding, Pakaloha Bikinis, Lululemon , OMBELLY.com
Apart from kiting, what are your other Interests?
MAKING RAW PIES AND CHOCOLATES, SKYDIVING, YOGA, SURFING, SCUBA DIVING, MAKING FEATHER JEWELRY.
How did you learn to kitesurf, who taught you and when did you start?
IT WAS A MIRACLE! I learned on Maui kinda accidentally – my friend Liam Mccormick thought I’d be good and gave me a lesson- I fell in love with it and bought my gear the second day. That was about 5 years ago and my life has not been the same ever since… ; )
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your kite career and how did you overcome it?
Learning to tack and jibe on a RACE board with the big fins- I just got into racing in May 2012 – and it was like starting kiting all over again- humbling experience to learn this new technique of riding, always pushing to ride faster and faster, and the tacks- the fricken duck-tacks! Now they are easy but i had moments of serious struggle, so to overcome this challenge I have put in many, many, many hours.
What is your proudest achievement?
I did my first race on the CourseRace Board this past summer and came 2nd in the State for Girls- and had sooo much fun racing.
What is your preferred riding style?
Strapless surf riding if there are waves, if not going super fast on my race board.
What would you like to learn?
How to go faster and be more efficient with downloop jibes.
Who influenced you to start kitesurfing? Is there anyone you really look up to?
The Richman Brothers def played a huge role in giving me support when i was first learning. Now i race with Alex Aguera, Paulo Rista , Christian Barcellos and Des Walsh, and try to keep up with these guys- they are def my local kite heroes!
Describe a time you inspired someone to start kitesurfing?
I’ve been teaching kitesurfing on Maui for 2 years, so I have many stories. I did a camp in Tahiti with the Butterfly Effect and we taught under-privileged local Tahitian kids how to fly kites and some of them are now kiters. On Maui I get people of all ages who just want to try it, but are terrified of ‘getting taken away’, so my goal has been to make sure all of them get the best intro to kitesurfing ever, and learn all the safety and controls so well that they feel safe and want to continue until they are shredding! I taught a lil 7 year old French kid named Maui- now he is a pro and shows me how to do tricks when they visit! I love that.
How has kitesurfing changed your life?
I had to switch offices- now the beach has become my office so i can be kiting all day every day. I love teaching and sharing the sport – kiting makes any ordinary Monday feel like the best day ever!
Besides kitesurfing, what are you most passionate about?
Raw organic food, specifically chocolate! I love creating delicious meals and sharing them with my friends. It makes me so happy to watch a person bite into a truffle I made and light up with joy, laughter and mouthgasm ; )
What are you doing for Kitesurfing in your community or globally?
I teach- one person at a time- I strive to make the beach and water a safe place for kiters and their families. I rescue people in the water if anyone looks like they are in trouble and I’m also involved in creating a community of kite racers on Maui and setting up buoys for weekly races. Come race with us!
How do you think winning the 2012 Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer will shape your life and the positive work you are doing now?
This award just might prove to me that my life has a purpose and it is to spread awareness for kitesurfing and ocean safety, and to promote this sport that i see brightens up everyone’s lives who have been touched by the wind.
What do you think the future holds for kiteboarding / Kitesurfing and what can we do to improve our sport?
The kids who are starting to kitesurf now have the best gear and instruction available – we no longer have to figure out how to ride the hard way- so they are learning really fast and getting so good – pushing the limits so hard- I’m teaching a 13 year old friend how to race and she is going to be better than all the rest if she keeps up- I think kite racing is going to get really big. It’s so fun.
I think we should all organize beach clean-ups on kite beaches. As the numbers of kitesurfers increases, our beaches are getting quite messy- if you bring something to the beach take it back – only leave footprints behind.
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?
Well i started training on the race board already -I’m originally Turkish so i will work hard to make my Olympic team back home, and I’m saving to go to some races next year to qualify to be part of the Olympics. Kiteracing is really fun to watch and once people see it on the Olympics the sport will really boom.
Update: Sadly, the ISAF reversed its decision to include kiteboarding in the 2012 Rio Olympics on Saturday the 10th of November. And since Verda had her heart set on the Olympics, we asked her what she thought of this shocking turnabout.
New: How do you feel about the ISAF’s recent reversal of their decision to include kiteboarding in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games?
I’m disappointed with the people in charge at ISAF making a joke of the Olympics. It was not very professional or Olympian of the committee to add and erase, then add a sport like windsurfing again, which has been a sailing classic- then they did the same thing to kitesurfing except our Olympian dream was lived even shorter. Was there even an explanation or a press release that I missed which explains why they all of the sudden no longer think that kitesurfing is an Olympic sport? The world championships in Sardegna this past October attracted over 240 professional kiteboarders where they raced fast and fierce and by the books, demonstrated eye-catching sailing action for kitesurfers and all spectators on the shore. I know many kitesurfers who invested a lot of time and money into the Olympic dream- and now what? Of course life goes on and we will keep racing, we will keep pushing the sport to the next level, kiting faster and better and continue to beat even the fastest tri-foiling trimarans… they can take kitesurfing out of the Olympics but they cannot stop kitesurfing from growing and I’m sure sooner than later, kitesurfing will be an Olympic sport and I will be ready
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
My dream is to go on my first world tour for kiteracing. I want to be on my National Kiteracing team and win some races. I also want to participate in island crossings on my race board, Maui to Oahu, or better yet cross a passage that’s never been crossed with a sail. I’m open to suggestions on that one.
Thank you everyone for nominating me, i am so stoked and delighted to get this notification from inMotion Kitesurfing, and will strive to keep raising the bar for women in kitesurfing, and influence younger girls to come kite!
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