So here we go….My name is Jenny and I am crazy about this sport.
After nearly 8 years of watching from the beach, following Christoph Martins developments and achievements, I constantly received remarks….
“NO you cant kite, your disabled”
“Its to dangerous”
“I cant help you” or simply not replying!
I finally found a group of what I now call friends in Northern Ireland who made my dream possible and linked me to some invaluable resources, I am forever grateful.
I have been into sport and the outdoors all my life, I had a sporting accident when I was young and was paralysed from the neck down, after 2 years 7 months of rehabilitation I had my breathing and hands back! I continued with the standard route of wheelchair court sports and I competed to a high
level due to my love of sport but I always had one eye on the ocean and outdoors, I wanted to be fit, I wanted to be active with friends both walking and not, I didn’t want to follow the standard route and I wanted to be outside!
At University I studied Sports Science and Biomechanics, when I had free time I would kayak, abseil, surf, water ski with friends and after leaving university this continued. I have spent time travelling to work as a strength and conditioning coach and in every country where there was water I would be under it scuba diving or on top surfing and fell in love with the ocean all over again. Id just like to point out I learned the hard way of how to adapt these sports for me, I didn’t know anyone else and there was some interesting adaption’s to a surf board to name a few : it involved half a football and gym mats!
I first watched kite surfing in Australia, I watched how they jumped and moved with such grace – from then I was hooked or actually I wanted to be unhooked;-)Once I returned to Europe I spent a few years searching for someone to teach me, I couldn’t find anyone and for the first time in my life I felt different, I felt disabled because this sport was new and not open to everyone….
That all changed after years of research, youtube and emails….. and an instructor and now friend who told me I was crazy but he would teach me because he new the passion within me was strong.
The goal was to be a totally independent safe kite surfer, just like any one else and so it began with a blog called Madness on NIKiteforum.com which turned into an amazing adventure with a group of friends on a beach in the middle of winter when it’s snowing and any sane person would be curled up on a sofa watching TV! But no not us we spent the winters teaching me to set up lines, launch, land, loop, inflate my kites, fly from my chair, adapt a buggy and after all the land work was done ….and a few eye lashes batted to get my kites inflated (being a girl does have its perks after all!) we moved to the water.
During all this time I followed christophes developments, spoke with him and others, crossed ideas and eventually had a wakestyle seat and board…..
I then was then put in contact with the Global Kite Foundation and was intrigued to hear there was a campaign to get others like myself on the water and so the trip to the first CataKite Clinic and Seated Solo Riding arrived….. I was a little STOKED!
Role on a few months and I am sat on a plane on route to Greece, with a name, some emails and an amazing sense of excitement! Knowing that I will meet Christophe in person and get a firm grip on the knowing that my dream to not only take part in kite surfing at a competitive level but develop this sport for others both able and disabled, male and female is possible! …. To be part of the first clinic of its kind is an experience I will never forget.
My main dream is to teach kitesurfing and a variety of watersports. I want to inspire other females to be strong and believe in what they have. I want other people with paralysis to know that yes one part of your life has changed but there’s now another part that will put your pieces back together physically and emotionally.
For me Kite surfing and Kite buggying gives me my whole identity, it makes me …. ME! it puts the final piece in my jigsaw and allows me to express myself physically, using the elements that nature provides us with that I cannot do on 4 wheels (3 buggy wheels excluded!) … all I want to look back to the beach and see my chair sitting there and know I am free…. .What motivates me is knowing everyday how lucky I am.
So for me I now my next step is too raise money for a 100% carbon Fibre Seat and frame, I am one of only a select few of solo seated riders in the world and possibly the first female! I hope to be taking part in a SkyDive to raise money for seats to facilitate myself and other riders to take the next level as well as our local kitesuring rock bad BadWind playing a gig for me! So hopefully I maybe riding along side you soon…
NI KiteForum Project thread : http://www.nikiteforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/814-madness/
Episode 4 is about me buggying
And Episode 5 I hope will be me riding with the other solo kiters…………