We have already featured her video… she is a Wainman Team rider who rides with style and commitment. KiteSista spent 2 months with her in Zanzibar where she was a part of the KiteChix Clinics and spent an evening around a table for an exclusive interview. Please meet our friend Lisette Blankestijn.
KSm: Hi Lisette, would you like to introduce yourself?
Lisette: I’m 25 years old, I just finished my studies in international relations. I live in the North of The Netherlands, not really close to the sea… It takes 1H30 to get to my spot… that’s why I moved to Zanzibar!
KSm: How did you start kite surfing?
Lisette: I was into wake boarding and I loved the tricks you can do that’s why when I was 20 I started Kitesurfing.
KSm: You ride with an quite an aggressive style… did you discover this naturally, or was it always something you were aware of?
Lisette: I think it’s kind of natural actually because I never really thought about how I have to ride aggressively, but I do know that’s when you take pictures it looks nicer if it’s with power… beautiful tricks with good landings, clean as possible.
Also when you ride on your own you make the most progress when you are feeling the best about yourself, when you do stuff while you are really working your kite to get the most out of it.
KSm: Do you have any secrets to motivate and to push yourself and also to remove any fears and inhibitions?
Lisette: I think, if your a really afraid to try a new trick… you shouldn’t try it. Don’t force yourself into something you don’t really want to do.
If you want to learn new tricks, most of the time it’s about learning how to work your kite but you can progress also by doing another trick to avoid the frustration… for example, I was focusing on the railey to blind for a really long time which is very technical but some how I didn’t manage and I was so frustrated … so I thought “let’s start doing something else, I don’t feel like doing this, I’m not going to force myself, I’ll just practice other stuff”.
For almost a full season I was learning only transitions, grabs, slides and the back-roll, just because they felt right at the time and when I start to be bored with a trick, I’d try something else. You get to know your kite better so you are more confident when your ride and then the trick becomes better as well.
KSm: How does kiting with other girls affect your time on the water?
Lisette: It depends of what girls are kiting. If for example they have the same level then when we ride with each other between girls in holland it’s all about who is the most extreme!
For example when I was riding with Marcus we were pushing each other to do kite loop handle-pass… we had a good connection. But with a guy it’s different… you just think, ok he’s a guy, he is a good rider… with a girl you just have to try!
In Holland I ride with girls and when I see one of them try some real hard trick and push herself really hard as well, I just tell to myself you have to try it now if not you are such a pussy!
KSm: What are you media obligations now that you are a team rider, and does this change the way you approach your kiting, travels and competition?
Lisette: It’s a lot of pressure, people are looking at you and wonder all the time if you deserved to be sponsored? In the beginning when I started to be a sponsored rider I really felt like I had to do competitions and I had to catch up the girls who were riding better… I had to learn other tricks, show what I can do; but after one season I realised that if you really push it, you can loose your motivation and the fun side of the sport.
I’m still in the competitions but I don’t really mind about the results, I just want kite and have fun. For my sponsors it’s not about my results it’s more about the atmosphere and image I convey when I’m riding. So for me competition is not as important anymore compared to the beginning. I realise if you are focusing only on competitions and the technical level of your riding, you will soon lose the joy.
KSm: What about your future, your professional career and your degree? Do you have any idea how you are going to manage these two different parts of your life?
Lisette: Erm, I don’t really know at this moment. I’ve only just finished! The reason I went to Zanzibar was because it is nice to get some time-off and get out of Holland and get some distance, … to figure out what I am going to do, …or at least what I think I’m going to do. Right now I am happy to just continue to travel a little bit, enjoy my life as a kiter and if I find a really nice job maybe do it.
KSm: Do you have a boyfriend? and if so is it easy to manage a relationship and your life?
Lisette: Yes, I do :) … in Holland it is not a big problem because he is a windsurfer and also wakeboarder but not a kiter… so he understands the passion for wind. Also he’s really active and likes to go outside and do stuff… but if you go away for 3 months gets a lot more difficult… calling a lot, texting a lot,…
KSm: Do you have any things that you never travel without?
Lisette: No not really, everything is in my laptop. Pictures, music, Facebook… it’s just technology to let you connect with your friends at home.
KSm: Any girlie product secrets you can share with us?
Lisette: Hair conditioner and something that you can put on your hair after riding and just leave it until your shower… and a lot of sun screen.
KSm: Are there times when you just want to switch off the world of kiting and sit on the beach and not answer questions about equipment and the wind.
Lisette: Right now I do… but only because there has not been much wind… and if it’s not windy, find another hobby.
KSm: Can you tell us a bit about your style?
Lisette: Nonchalant and chaotic… and definitely nothing is really in order… I just mix it all around :)
KSm: Finally, some advice for the girls…
Lisette: When you find something that you really like so much, that you want to spend hour after hour doing it… you should dedicate your life to it because it’s really special to have something that you love even if it costs you a lot of time training.