Cayman will soon hold its first all-female watersports event.
Ride Like A Girl will give participants a taste of watersports which may have seemed inaccessible to some – for either financial or fitness reasons – and bring together a new community of women who want to have a good time at the beach, enjoy the outdoors and motivate each other.
The event is on Sunday, Dec. 14, at Barker’s National Park and Public Beach in West Bay and offers an array of water sports – kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding and wakesurfing – as well as beach yoga, beach games and a closing BBQ at Calico Jack’s.
Registration is $60 and includes an event T-shirt and a donation to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.
It is organized by Waterman Surf Company in association with the Rock International Open to inspire women of all ages and fitness levels that they have no idea how strong and capable they are.
Maya Lewis, Amy Strzalko and Kiristen Cousins are team riders for Waterman Cayman Surf Company and sponsored by Best Kiteboarding, Slingshot Kiteboarding and Coreban Stand Up Paddle boarding respectively.
By hosting this event they hope to share their passion for their chosen sports whilst raising funds and awareness for a good cause. “When I started kitesurfing I was in the minority as a female,” said Lewis.
“Most of the people I was out on the water with were guys. Since then, more and more girls have joined me but there’s still a common misconception out there that you have to be super strong and that’s just not true. Girls are quite often faster than boys at learning.”
“I love seeing other girls getting stoked on kitesurfing,” said Strazlko. “When I started kitesurfing I dreamt about being sponsored and just over four years later I’m living my dream.
“I want to inspire other women to go after their dreams and not be scared of trying something new.”
Jhon Mora, the world-class kite surfer who runs a school here, taught the Englishwoman to kitesurf.
Strzalko competed at different levels in the U.K. in swimming, trampoline and cross country before finding water sports.
Ride Like A Girl has already received a tremendous response with over 25 women already signed up and both local companies and international brands have jumped at the opportunity to sponsor and partner with this event.
All ages and abilities are welcome from total beginner to advanced and the youngest registered participant is just 10 years old.
Sponsorship packages are still available and all funds raised will be donated to the Crisis Centre.
“We’re really proud to be supporting such an amazing charity which helps so many women in Cayman,” said Cousins. “Trying action sports is just one way we can help to empower women and help them realize that we are equals to men.”
Lewis took up kitesurfing five years ago in the blistering cold waves of the U.K. A competitive skier, she was initially looking for a sport to keep her entertained during the summer months but was instantly hooked. In 2010 she decided to make the move to Cayman to further her skills in the more comfortable conditions here.
Over the last four years she has watched the sport develop as she has grown herself into a sponsored athlete on the national team of Best Kiteboarding.
She is also partly responsible for the growth in the popularity of kitesurfing in Cayman as she was heavily involved in organizing The Rock International Open (TRIO) event this year.
As well as organizing a successful competition for over 40 international athletes, she also competed, placing third in the ladies division.
Lewis is passionate about encouraging other people to get involved in water sports. When the wind isn’t blowing, she can be found whizzing around behind the Wakeboard Cayman boats or simply taking a long swim along Seven Mile Beach.
Cousins has always had a passion for the water and action sports. She first discovered stand up paddleboarding when living in Orlando and was instantly addicted. She loves to kiteboard, surf and wakeboard, however stand up paddleboarding is her passion.
Cousins is a firm believer that stand up paddleboarding is not only an amazing way to stay fit, but helps to take anyone’s health, mind and well-being to the next level. Cousins has been paddling for a few years and has been training with professionals like Brody Welte and Rob Rojas.
She is a certified Level 3 PaddleFit coach and the PaddleFit affiliate for the Cayman Islands. She also holds a World Paddle Association and Red Cross CPR Certification.
For more information and to sign up for the event log on to www.ridelikeagirl.org