Amy Strzalko hopes to highlight the Cayman Islands further in the sport of kite surfing.
The Cayman resident has successfully competed in several overseas events and now has her sights on the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association World Tour. There are three stops left this year in the competition, which has awarded more than $2.2 million in prize money across 80 events during the past 10 years.
“My next goal is to compete in the PKRA world tour,” Strzalko said. “I would say this is a little dream but I have to keep dreaming, it keeps me happy and I love having something to aim for. Even if it’s not going to happen, at least I know I will have tried. Hopefully, along the way, I’ll inspire as many girls to take up the sport as possible and push themselves to the limits because, although it can be very painful, it is very rewarding.”
China will host the first two tour events with the Pingtan Kiteboarding World Cup from Oct. 22-27, followed by the Haikou/Hainan International Kitesurf Festival between Nov. 1-6. Argentina will host its own World Cup event from Dec. 3-8.
Strzalko, 33, is no stranger to China, recently finishing fifth overall at “Kiteboard Tour Asia,” when she competed on Pingtan Island. She faced eight competitors, from countries including Australia, Japan and the Philippines, in the freestyle segment. Prior to China, Strzalko competed in Mexico, the U.S. state of Oregon and Brazil.
Strzalko, who has been in the sport nearly four years, has benefitted from the tutelage of Jhon Mora and Kite Surf Cayman, which is based in Barkers in West Bay. Competing abroad only began for Strzalko last December, and came with injuries and knee surgery. The photographer maintains a deep love of the sport.
“I really feel if you have a dream, however crazy, you should 100 percent go for it. Kiting has changed my life in ways, in such positive ways,” she said. “I never want to stop promoting the sport, I love encouraging people to take it up because I know how happy it can make you feel. It is such a release from your everyday stresses, you can just let go and be free, just you, the wind and the ocean. It’s the best feeling.”
Strzalko also said there are plans to host athletes here next February, with a local meet tentatively planned for November.
“This next year is going to be very important. I have a lot of hard work to do, my job is to promote the brand as much as possible on and off the water. I will also be helping promote T.R.I.O, Cayman’s first kiting competition. It is going to be a huge event with some of the biggest names in kiting, so a great opportunity for locals to get involved and see what the sport is all about. More on that coming soon.
“I just want to say thank you to my sponsors because without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get this far their help has been instrumental and will continue to be along my journey.”