The current theme of my life has been to learn and try new things. I recently took up photography, started this blog and started kitesurfing. Who knows what else I’ll add this year… While kitesurfing doesn’t exactly fall into the “new” category since I started trying to learn before I had children but pregnancy and babies have a way of putting life on hold. The last two years I have been really trying to get over the hump and I’ve finally done it!
Several years ago, when I moved to the Bay Area, I took a drive down the coast and happened upon this spot where a group of people were flying these “parachutes” and launching themselves 20 feet or more off waves. I pulled over and just watched in amazement for 30 minutes or more. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen!
Fast forward several more years and I met my husband who happened is a kitesurfer. When we decided to get serious, I thought I should give the sport a try. Once I was finally able to put in some consistent water time, everything began to come together.
What I learned about myself
- First of all, I feel like a total badass once I get off the water. I’m a badass but I’m exhausted.
- Perseverance – It isn’t an easy sport to learn. The first few times on the water, I drank a lot of it and there were countless times that the kite flew me rather than the other way around. With most things worth doing, you have to fight through the hard stuff in order to reap the rewards.
- Pushing past your fears – Kiting can be really dangerous and you’ll hear countless stories of people doing stupid things and paying for it. So many times, I’ve gotten to my lesson location and I’m silently freaking out about how I don’t want to go out, thinking I’m going to end up swimming for a mile and have to wait for someone to pick me up in a boat. I have to take a few deep breathes, consciously slow down my body movements and reminding myself that I had a great instructor who prepared me well. I do indeed have all of the tools I need to succeed. So many times, I talk myself out of something uncomfortable and lose out on that mountaintop experience. I hope to be able to apply this to other areas of life.
- Calm under pressure – When you are on the water, it is important to not panic, think through possible solutions and choose the best option. These are great life lessons that extend far beyond kitesurfing. I don’t know that I’ll be the calmest person in the next crisis but knowing that I can be is satisfying.
- Taking time for yourself – As a stay at home mom, I am constantly guilty of not taking care of myself. When I am out on the water, the only thing I think of is making sure I keep the kite in the air and my body on the board. There is no room for thinking about dinner plans, what needs to be done when I get off the water, it is just about the present.
Kitesurfing isn’t for everyone but pushing your boundaries and forcing yourself outside your comfort zone is so rewarding. How do you push outside your comfort zone?