WORDS BY LAUREN HOLMAN / PHOTOS BY JAMES BOULDING
There are two things I know for sure: I love to kiteboard, but I can’t kiteboard all the time. So, how do you find that balance between doing what you love as much as possible, while also accomplishing other tasks and working toward other goals outside of kiteboarding? Does that balance exist? Am I giving up valuable time and opportunities on the water every time I pursue a task outside of my sport?
I’ve been asking myself these questions for the past two-and-a-half years now, as I work through my bachelor’s degree in commerce, with a specialization in finance and marketing. As I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel approaching (my graduation), I’ve put together some conclusions that I’ve realized over the course of my degree.
WHEN YOU DO TOO MUCH OF ONE THING, IT CAN GET STALE.
(No grab pun intended). Jokes aside, it’s true. Of course, this is different for everyone and you may totally disagree with me. But, from my experience, I need more than just one thing in my day. Kiteboarding for every hour of every day for six weeks in a row (Brazil) is not only physically exhausting, but it can be mentally exhausting as well. Extended periods of time in a classroom have motivated me to make the most out of every session more than ever. School has given me a sense of productive urgency to learn something new every time I go out because I don’t want to waste the valuable time I dedicate to progressing.
KITEBOARDING ITSELF IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.
There’s so much more underneath that you don’t see. Learning new tricks, getting media coverage, producing content; all of these feats have tons going on behind closed doors. How you present your content, how you visualize new tricks, and how you prepare for a session all have a great impact on your all-around success as a rider. Certain courses that I’ve had the opportunity to take in school, like digital media research or consumer behavior, have complimented my kiteboarding career immensely. I think that taking in these concepts has made me a more well-rounded rider.
THE OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY AND RIDE.
One of the best things I decided to do over the course of my degree was to enroll in a semester-long exchange program. Of course, my decision of what university to study at was very much impacted by kiteboarding conditions. I had my eyes on Australia from day one, as I’ve always wanted to do a trip to the iconic Safety Bay in Perth, Western Oz. The delayed semester start down under gave me two months off after my December exams in Canada, so I had a solid two months to ride and train in one of my dream spots. My semester is currently running from March until June and I am studying at the University of Melbourne. Living in Saint Kilda during their summer months has also been ideal, as I can just walk down to the beach for a session after class. This combination of studying and kiteboarding has been a perfect balance for me the past four months.
WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN TO IT…
I’m really happy that I’ve had the chance to study. And I’ll be even happier once I’m done. Kiteboarding has been with me long before I started my degree, and it will be there long after I’m finished. Maintaining balance in my life has become even more important in the fast-paced, modernized world we live in. There’s no right or wrong answer about which is the best way to sustain balance in your life. Our bodies and minds respond in different ways. The key thing is that you’re focusing on the right aspects of your life and getting the right balance for you. I’m content with the balance I’ve found between ‘computer work’ and kiteboarding. And as I polish off this article, I’m more amped than ever for a session this afternoon.