Jasmine Wallis - Kitesurfing in China
We were catching up with one of our most local dryrobe ambassadors recently - Sukie Robertson, who kitesurfs here in North Devon at Westward Ho! She runs a kitesurfing school on the beach - 514 Elemental Kitesports School - and told us about Jasmine Wallis, a 16 year old local girl and one of the team at 514 Elemental, who had just been selected to travel to China to represent the UK at a World Championships.
Jasmine and Sukie will be travelling out to the competition together in May - Sukie is the current UK Kitesurfing Champion, so she's a pretty perfect coach to have taking you to your first World Championships. We had to find out more, so we met up with Jasmine and Sukie to get the full story.
So Jasmine, congratulations on being selected to represent the UK in China, very exciting! How did you get selected for the team?
Jasmine: Well I went to Weymouth for a training camp/selection day a few weekends ago - we had to do some practice races while we were there. I won quite a few of the races and actually beat the boys in most of them! Then on the Monday after I got home I got a call to say I'd been selected to go to the World Championships!
That's amazing, congratulations! So can you tell us a little more about the event itself?
J: So it's the Youth Kiteboarding World Championships, but is also a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games. It's going to be out in China, at Hainan Island, which I can't wait to visit!
So what kind of event will this be - do you have to use a special board or the normal equipment that you use at home?
J: I'll be riding my normal twin tip, which is the type of board I ride all the time, which is good so I'll be more used to riding it. The races will be downwind slalom, which are usually really fast, and a lot of fun! We have to race down a course, and also jump over obstacles that are in the water, it's pretty cool to take part in and to watch!
Sukie: It's really fast! It can be mayhem sometimes with people crashing into the obstacles (they're inflatable so it's OK) but it is a lot of fun.
You haven't done much racing before now have you - how much had you done before this event?
J: Not very much at all! I did a couple of hours of racing last year and really enjoyed it but didn't know where to go with it.
S: I've not got much experience in the racing side of things either, we normally do more freestyle riding with tricks at home - but Jay was really keen to give the racing a go!
J: Then the training camp came up and we thought it would be a fun weekend to go to for the experience, now here we are!
S: She rang us after she got home and said "Oh I beat all the boys, I'm actually really quick!"
Fantastic - so is this your first trip abroad to go kitesurfing?
J: I've travelled a little bit around the UK for kite events but yes this is my first trip abroad to kitesurf so I'm really excited!
Amazing! So most of your kitesurfing is at home in Westward Ho! with Sukie - how long have you been training with her?
J: About 2-3 years now I think. I first started when I was 13, so Sukie was the one who first taught me to kite, all the way until where I am today.
What do you love about kitesurfing the most?
J: Just making new friends and going out on the water with them all, that's the best thing. I really enjoy going kiting with everyone from the 514 Kitesurf Team.
What are your plans for the rest of the year, any other competitions coming up?
J: I've got a couple of races in the UK that I'm going to enter, the first round of the National Race tour is coming up soon which I'm entering. Then after that there's a few more stops on the racing tour, plus I'm thinking about doing the BKSA tour as well. It would mean a competition every few weeks, plus I've got GCSEs this year, so I've got to work around them really! After they're done there will be plenty more time on the water!
OK - what's best, kitesurfing at your local beach or going somewhere else?
J: Local beach for sure. It's really nice to know everyone, it's a really relaxed atmosphere and we just have a lot of fun, there's a really great community there.
Finally, who or what is your biggest inspiration in kitesurfing?
J: Sukie of course!
S: Good answer!
Awesome thanks guys, great to catch up with you and good luck for the World Championships Jasmine!
Jasmine is currently fundraising to be able to travel out to China and is getting closer to her target - she's been out with the rest of the 514 Kitesurf Team packing bags at the local supermarket to raise much needed funds! Any contributions are welcome - if you'd like to help Jasmine head to https://www.gofundme.com/jas-kitesurf-world-championships