A Cayman resident recently earned fresh props in kite surfing.
Amy Strzalko, 33, represented the Cayman Islands at an international meet, called Kiteboard Tour Asia, in China and placed fifth overall. The photographer states weather impacted her final standing.
“I knew it was a challenge, I was up against some really amazing kiter surfers so I could only do my best,” Strzalko said. “I came overall joint fifth place. Unfortunately, because the wind died, we couldn’t have the double eliminations so the final result had to be taken from the first heats.
“This is what it’s like, it’s a gamble, you can’t guarantee the weather so you just can’t predict the conditions. I was very happy with fifth place and very proud to represent Cayman too. It took three days to get there and three days to get back so I wont be rushing back there, however it was an amazing experience and I met some incredible people.”
For the record, kite surfing, often called kiteboarding, is a water sport combining aspects of windsurfing, paragliding and gymnastics. It involves harnessing the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite.
Kiteboard Tour Asia, sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation, completed its fourth round on Pingtan Island earlier this month. Strzalko faced eight other competitors, from countries like Australia, Japan and the Philippines, in the freestyle segment.
Strzalko states her next stops will be the US state of Oregon and Brazil.
“I felt it was time for my first competitions. I went to Mexico in March to compete in The Mexican National Freestyle competition where I came second, so I was really pleased with that. Then it was a complete last minute decision to go to China.
“My next adventure is Hood River, Oregon in July to compete in The Bridge of The Gods. I think wind is a guarantee there, it’s pretty consistent. Then late August I am off to Brazil to train for three weeks. The conditions are perfect.
“There may be a competition I can enter too but dates haven’t been released yet so fingers crossed. I can’t get better unless I keep getting experience so I am just entering everything I can get to. Basically, I want to get out and train as hard as possible to push myself to the limits and challenge myself to do as well in competitions as possible.”
Strzalko, who is sponsored by Waterman, Evolving Island, Subway, Picture This, Kite Logo and Shinn, states the travelling is part of her passion for the sport.
“Kiting has changed my life, I can not imagine life without it, however silly that sounds. It really has become that important to me. If I can’t kite I am very unhappy.
“It not only keeps you fit but it’s the most fun you can have and all you need is your kite gear, the ocean and some wind. You just forget everything else and literally escape into a world of pure satisfaction. Sometimes, after a session, I realize that whatever worries I had left me during my whole time on the water. It’s incredible, it’s really exhilarating.”