Growing up in mainstream society conditions us to focus on goals, often times forgetting the journey and the failures that we will meet along the way. We grow up being stimulated by successful people and given limited options as to how to get there. The process that these role models have lived through is placed in the dark and only their successes in the light. Kiting has reminded me that this is all bullshit. Get real, every great success is met only after great failures.
As you learn to kitesurf and progress in the sport, you begin to recognize that your days as a beginner will hardly ever be over. Learning a new trick, perfecting an old one or making it seem as though you’re pioneering your own, are all activities that will enlighten every ride. I was shocked back into reality recently after not being on the water for about two weeks. As the wind kicked back in, I rushed to the beach, geared up and dove into the water, literally. After about 20 minutes of constant wipeouts and feeling like a cat in water, I was soon reminded of the progress I have made since I started kitesurfing and the many failures that I have met.
The one thing that has stuck with me the most through learning to kitesurf is that at the end of the day, you are the person you can always rely on. You can count on people close to you for help in some areas, but when it’s crunch time and things go wrong, you only have yourself. Kiting in Barbados is not easy; you battle with many different conditions including gnarly shore-breaks, choppy waters, powerful waves on outside reefs, and swarms of kitesurfers during busy seasons. With the exception of Long Beach, you also have mostly short beaches to deal with, leaving you with little room for error. All in all, if you mess up and have no luck relaunching… well, you better learn to improvise and find your way back to safety.
Kitesurfing kicked me into a profound reality check, which is that I must believe in myself. Life generally gives you choices where you may have a great supportive group of friends, family, or maybe a partner who has your back. This tends to cut you some slack when dealing with your own demons and asserting your self-validation. For me, kiting has left me no choice. I had to learn to trust myself while getting out of unforeseen dangerous situations. I have learned to embrace my failures because they have taught me the most valuable lessons. I have failed at controlling and relaunching my kite, getting up on my board, landing jumps, and my most recent one– learning to ride toeside. All failures I have repeated incessantly until finally reaching my break-through. The taste of success has never been sweeter.
The greater the failure, the greater the effort, and the greater the gain. Do not ever give up, challenge yourself, think outside the box, and take risks.
Learn to grow your own wings.