INTERNATIONAL kiteboarding champion Kate Ross found her passion as a teenager.
Her goal now is to inspire and teach others to share her love for the exhilarating sport.
The 22-year-old graduate has set up a new business, Getkiteboarding, in Bracklesham Bay and says with jobs not that easy to come by, she hopes her success will encourage others of her own age, especially those who, like her, have recently left university and are looking to create a future for themselves.
“I am doing something I love and I want to make sure that people go away with that same positive experience,” she said.
Kate caught the kiteboarding bug after mastering dinghy racing at Bosham Sailing Club, where she won many prizes.
She decided to pursue her dream, finding herself a sponsor and taking her passion to the international kiteboarding circuit, and achieved many accolades, including first place in the KB4 Girls kiteboarding global event advanced category in 2013.
Having graduated, she soon set off to Brazil and South Africa to join hordes of other professional kiters and enthusiasts, honing her skills and gaining further qualifications off the Atlantic coast.
Back in Britain, Kate worked with Bracklesham Boardriders and then landed the opportunity to take over the kiteboarding arm of the club.
“At a time when I was wondering what I would do next, this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” she explained.
“It has certainly challenged all my skills – not only on the water, but also running a business. It’s certainly been a steep learning curve.”
Kate says it is a great sport to take up from teenage years onwards, but finds many of her most enthusiastic students are the same age as her parents. In fact, more people aged over 40 are taking up kiteboarding than any other age group.
“There’s nothing like learning a new skill and having fun at the same time,” she said.
“Kiteboarding is an exhilarating sport but it’s important to stay safe and make sure you know what you’re doing, so there is a clear need for proper tuition in what is a booming sport.”
Justin Excell, 50, commutes to London each day but loves to get on the water when he gets back home to Bracklesham Bay.
“Learning to kitesurf has been one of the highlights of my life and Kate was key to making that happen,” he said.
“Relaxed, yet focused, she is the consummate professional and I have already taken great delight in recommending her to many friends heading down the same path.
“She is also blessed as every lesson seemed to coincide with perfect wind and sunshine.”
That wasn’t always the case, though, for Kate, a psychology student at Cardiff University until last year.
She admits: “If the wind hadn’t dropped significantly for my last two years of study, I might not have managed to get the degree.”
Private one-hour lessons cost £45, one person for a beginner two-day course (six hours) is £199, two people on a two-day course (eight hours) is £199 each.
Getkiteboarding is offering one lucky Observer reader a free two-hour taster lesson, worth £90. For a chance to win, all you need to do is answer this question: “Where is Getkiteboarding based?”
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, address, age and daytime telephone number.
For more information on kiteboarding, visit www.getkiteboarding.co.uk or call Kate Ross on 07502517847.