The weekend of the 22nd of March saw the eleventh KiteChicks event descend on the shores of Culburra located on the outside of Jervis Bay in NSW. 25 girls and 7 instructors and coaches attended the latest incarnation of the KiteChicks training camps that are run by volunteers, passionate about kitesurfing to help introduce women into the sport and aid in bringing like minded girls together. The camps cater for all levels from complete beginners to confident kiters looking to improve and hone their skills.
Kitesurfing.com.au’s Pete was proud to be asked to head down as a coach again this time around and once again, this event has been a cracker!
Culburra is a near perfect location for running this type of event,[googlemap src=”https://www.google.com.au/maps?ll=-34.93126,150.779457&spn=0.095981,0.299721&t=h&z=12″ width=”300″ height=”300″ align=”aligncenter” ]
There is almost enough of everything to suit every skill level, there are waves and sea for the more advanced girls, flat shallow water for teaching and when the water levels are right a large lake that can cater for all sorts of riding and teaching. Couple this with perfect beaches, good coffee shops and a brilliant pad for everyone to crash in you can’t really go wrong. There is also a raft of other activities that can be had close by.
The event this year has been taken over by Maja, new to organising kitechicks but not new to attending she had put a lot of work into organising everything and it paid off, this had to be the most relaxed and enjoyable kitechicks I’ve been involved in.
Saturday morning started with a mad panic of surfing, most of the girls attending this year have a passion for surfing I’d not seen before on this scale. Culburra has a few sneaky little surf breaks around. Reasonable small waves were had before breakfast and with a 9am deadline for Yoga the surf cleared out for the first kitechicks yoga session. Instructors and students alike got all bendy on the grass (and bitten by sand flies)
Introductions and formalities of a team event came next with Maja introducing everyone and the instructors to their groups. With a changeable forecast for wind and a real requirement to keep people sane the girls split up into groups for other activities like SUP’ing and surfing. Thanks to WindSurfNSnow Watersports we had the use of 3 SUP’s that proved fantastic entertainment on the flat water of the river.
A small building Nor-East breeze at about 1pm caused a sudden flurry of activity with girls and instructors dashing for kites. Mel made the most of it with a brief 15 minute session on the flat protected waters of the river before a thunderstorm and rain really screwed things up by killing all the wind! Things were looking pretty bleak for Saturday from this point but a small semi-forecast southerly came through in the mid arvo that once again got everyone moving and heading down to various locations to commence the kiting.
I took my group (the wave and surfboard riding girls) out to the main beach opposite the lagoon to check it out. There was enough wind to kite but its a little cross-off. I explained and pointed out the obvious dangers to the girls who were keen to get stuck into it. Things didn’t go so well with the wind, currents and waves proving a little too hard (I had a go and it really was a struggle) so we moved into the almost empty and VERY murky lagoon to practice a few things on twintips that the girls wanted to learn. Whilst this was going on there were trainer kites and girls getting there first feel for flying kites! Smiles everywhere! The beach at the lagoon offers an incredibly large area for teaching!
This fun continued until the light ran out. This got everyone back to the accommodation for a well deserved shower and onto dinner. I have to hand to the organisation here, with everyone chipping into helping out and a well laid food plan we were served up a real treat. I’m not sure if there are any photos but with super healthy fish and other healthy bits my tummy hasn’t seen in a long time everyone was getting stuck in!
Memories fade after dinner, I remember rum, I remember tequila, I remember a man in a bikini and playing ping pong with a SUP paddle! Happy days.
A weary start for many on Sunday and a coffee run is always welcome. The weather is great and there is a real buzz of excitement in the house. This unfortunately comes to an end after the 9am Yoga as the house needs cleaning, but not before a killer breakfast! With everyone chipping into cleaning up the house it doesn’t take long and we are out at lunch. The wind forecast is rubbish which is a shame but everyone is keen to make the most of the weekend away and heads back to the beach for a surf. I’ve never seen so many women in the surf before and after speaking to a local, neither have they!
Supping and great warm waves are being had all round, for those that don’t surf great conversation and laughs on the beach.
With this thought of a long drive home many people started to pack their cars and head home. This turned out to be a small mistake! Even tho a small Nor-Easter had been building all day at 3pm the remainder of the people decided that was time to pack up. I decided to make the call tho – It’s ON! So whilst people are packing up, I’m pumping up! with a mostly sceptical response I pump up the new 2014 12m Cabrinha Siren (yes its PINK!) and I grab the surfboard. Oh it’s ON! After about 15mins of smashing back and forth and catching waves I look back to the shore to see a flurry of activity and kites getting pumped up!
With 2 of my 3 girls still remaining its back to coaching for me I lend the 12m to Tatiana who heads out to battle her fears after a few years out of the surf to see her slip back into a familiar old skool kiting style that is sadly missing in todays kiting. Maja heads out on her new North 5’10” whip. – a seriously good surfboard for kiting! – and start practicing her carves to toeside. With a good stiff breeze that would have seen me put up a 9m the rest soon followed and great wind was had until about 5pm at which point we had to call it a day and head back to Sydney! What a finish!
Overall, this has been the most enjoyable kitechicks I’ve attended, a real pleasure to help out! remembering this event is run by volunteers just makes it all the more special. It’s also great to see help from within the industry to back it. NSWKBA, WindSurfNSnow, Alliance Gear, Kitepower, Balance Water to name the ones I can remember. The tireless efforts of Maja, Lise and Lauren in organising everything. Giovani Genovali for being the kitelauncher and photographer for the weekend (he thought it was a hard job), All the coaches and instructors and everyone who attended and help make it possible.
More pictures to follow when we get them.