Girls Take Flight on Isle of Palms

Editor's Note: This week's guest blogger is Isle of Palms native Gretta Kruesi, professional kiteboarder, artist, and environmentalist.  You can follow her work at http://grettakruesi.com/

On the Isle of Palms, we don't often get great waves but we consistantly get a lot of wind. I grew up mostly surfing but the moment I first saw kiteboarding introduced at my local beach and how much fun those guys were having gliding across the water, hitting waves and soaring through the sky, I knew I'd be hooked. It's a sport that we have perfect conditions for with long flat beaches and a steady sea-breeze most days of the year.

Back when I first learned, it was intimidating because there weren't any other girls doing it in the area. There wasn't a female in the sport I could learn from or look up to and say "hey, I want to do that too!" But over the past couple years, the equipment has become more user-friendly and the sport has become increasingly popular among women and men alike. Charleston (known as Chucktown to the kite community) has quickly become a popular kiteboarding destination, with more and more women and girls entering the scene.

I've noticed a big influx of local women ready to give kiteboarding a try. Air Kiteboarding co-owner Elea Faucheron started the Air Kiteboarding Club For Girls last year.  The Club served as a vehicle for local women and girls to get together, look out for each other on the water, and have fun. I'm thrilled everytime I return home to the Isle of Palms and see the comraderie and new female faces at the beach-- and how much everyone has progessed.

Photo: Gretta teaches a girls only workshop on Isle of Palms
This past Sunday, I hosted a "Miss Independent Rider" workshop and Naish gear demo for the Girl's Club. Fifteen enthusiastic women attended to learn more ways to push their riding limits. A few girls even came by just to hang out and support. Not only did we have a blast, it's amazing to think that just a few short years ago the were only a couple female riders total in all of Charleston.

I'm excited to go to the beach and see the emerging community of female kiteboarders and I feel honored to be in the position to promote the sport and help other girls get off the beach and into the water, the way I wish there were girls to do that for me. 

As my friend Dan Floyd always says, "Share the stoke!"  And that's just what these ladies do. So if you happen to see kites flying on the Isle of Palms, chances are it's one of the girls.


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All the best,
Mary Alice