“Did you go by yourself?” This is the question I am always asked when I talk about that time that I went to Cape Verde. My response: ‘well, yes, but you meet so many other kitesurfers and everyone is so friendly, you’re never really by yourself’.
Aside from how much I enjoy being on the water, the kitesurfing community is one of the best things about the sport. So when none of my friends were able to travel with me, I went on my own knowing well and truly that I would have no issue making friends once I get there. In the back of my mind I also thought, ‘maybe someone from the group chats might be there at the same time’.
Kitesurfing group chats are a treasure trove of support, advice and kite buddies. I can’t even tell you how many I am part of now, but all of them embody an incredible sense of community. Especially those that promote female-focused positivity. I grew up playing all sorts of sports: I was big on football, baseball, cricket.. following whatever my older brother and his friends were up to. And still today, I’m always playing football with the boys. But when it comes to kitesurfing, I’m constantly surrounded by incredible women who are all about bringing each other up. We’ve all been our own beginner journeys and with many of us being the only kiter in our friendship groups, we’re all there to support one another. Groups such as She Flies and #GirlsKiteTogether have amazingly harnessed the best of our feminine energies, which we use to power ourselves and each other to fly.
So while others might raise eyebrows at solo trips to Africa, you’ve got 100-or-so girls, most of whom you’ve never even met, that really hype you up for it. And when I asked if anyone is, or knew anyone who is in Cape Verde, they had me sorted. Annalisa put me in touch with her mate Rolf, Sylwia got me through to a friend of a friend, and, the response I was hoping for, Barbora replied with ‘I’m coming there on Tuesday!’.
Barbora and I kited together for two days before I headed back to London. I gave her the low-down on the spot, the aptly-named Kite Beach. She encouraged me to get out on a bigger kite. We’d share a session during the day, share a meal at night, all while sharing stories and experiences and learning from each other. Before she arrived, I was in good company thanks to the lovely Amy from Surf Hub Cabo Verde as well as the other friends I’d been connected with. It’s all quite remarkable, a group of girls with one shared hobby, meeting up around the world. So just as I always say to anyone who asks, you’re never really by yourself when you kite and you’ll be able to find other Girls to Kite Together.