Jenny Campbell is an adventurous California local who has a very exciting hobby. Jenny kite surfs at Half Moon Bay 3 to 4 times a week. The INVIGORADE team decided to sit down with Jenny and ask her how she got started in such an awesome activity!
INVIGORADE: So how did you get started Kite Surfing?
Jenny: Well the story is really really long. But essentially I had just been living in Africa for 5 years and I was finally moving home. I had a boyfriend and we were deciding on whether or not to move home together, and eventually I moved out and he stayed. Shortly after he had a new girlfriend move in to our apartment. That was awful. I was having a really hard time moving home, so I ended up getting a dog because I missed my dog in Africa so much. But then a few weeks later my dog got hit by a car. It was a really awful time for me. I was just this walking ball of heartbreak. To try and deal with all of this I was running, doing triathlons, I was still climbing, but I could tell something was missing. I wasn’t sure what it was, but something was off. There was something missing in my life. So a few weeks later I went to Greece with some girlfriends of mine, and we took this bus to some random town, we turned the corner and there were all these people kite surfing. And just in that moment I was like ‘Thats it, this is what I’m going to do.’ Just in that second.
Before then I had always known that Kite Surfing was a thing, I just thought it was something crazy people did.
INVIGORADE: Now that you kitesurf, do you still think it is for crazy people?
Jenny: [Laughs] Well yeah. I think they are all a little bit insane in different ways. You definitely need to be a little insane. It is definitely for the crazy people because you need that part of you to be a confident Kitesurfer.
INVIGORADE: So what happened when you came home from Greece?
Jenny: Well I never looked back. It was never a question of how am I going to do this or even if I can do it. It was just ‘I’m doing this now.’ It was really hard. Like really hard. But I put everything I had into Kite Surfing and it just… I don’t want to say it saved me or cured me or anything, but it did. It did totally save my life.
INVIGORADE: How long ago was this?
Jenny: Well, I’ve been kiting for about 4 seasons. When I started I didn’t know anything about it. At all! I started in September, which is at the end of the season. Everyone in the kiting community that I met was telling me that this was the wrong time to start and I should wait until the next season, and I was like, “No you don’t get it, I am starting right now. I am starting today.”
INVIGORADE: So how was your first season kiting?
Jenny: [Laughs] It was a sh** show. I took some lessons, maybe two because they are expensive. But most of it was me driving up to Half Moon Bay, missing the wind and driving home. Or it was me getting tangled up in my lines, losing my board, getting covered in mud. I’m a lot better now, but that first season was hard.
INVIGORADE: So you’ve traveled a lot, where are some of the places you’ve kited?
Jenny: By now I’ve kited in four continents. Europe, Africa, North America, South America, oh and I guess Asia too, thats 5 continents. The best is the Kenyan coast of Africa. In Kenya I saw miles of sand and waist high water for as far as you can see. Thats a place you could actually learn to kite. Here in Santa Cruz you get thrown into the rocks and the waves are huge and the water is freezing cold and deep.
INVIGORADE: Do the waves make a big difference?
Jenny: The wind is more important than the waves. It needs to be the right kind of wind and the right kind of waves, but you make it work even if it’s not perfect.
INVIGORADE: So how often do you kite?
Jenny: Well in season, if it’s a good week I go about 3-4 times a week. If my work lets me or my social life lets me.
INVIGORADE: So, what advice would you give to people who want to kite surf?
Jenny: I would suggest that you understand that there is a huge learning curve. And until you get to a certain point where you can actually do it, it’s not fun. You have to be dedicated and you can’t be like, ‘eh, I’ll try it some day.’ Because it can be really frustrating. You can lose your kite and their are lines everywhere and you can’t find your board and you’re covered in mud and there are rocks closing in. There are awful days definitely. But if you can get past that it is the most fun you will ever have in your life.
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