4th in KTA Boracay!

(written straight after the competition has finished)
KTA

Registration day

Registration day

What an eventful week it has been! First the Girl on Fire girls kitecamp, then my first competition ever… KTA Boracay finished today at 4PM and after riding in both single and double elimination, I managed to get 4th place overall! Very happy about the result, I never thought I will be able to do it! πŸ™‚

4th place overall :)

4th place overall πŸ™‚

The first two days of KTA presented very light wind so it was all about racing racing and even more racing. It was good though, as it gave me time to talk to people and observe how everything is organized and run here. Thanks to that by the time my heats came, I was confident and calm and could just focus on performing my 7 minutes. On the first day of freestyle I managed to climb up to the 4th place in the single elimination, but during my 3rd/4th place heat I chose entirely wrong settings on my 8m kite and when the wind dropped I was completely underpowered and unable to do most of my tricks. On the double elimination day the wind got really strong and we got pretty stormy conditions. I rode my first heat well, fully powered on my 8m kite, and managed to defend the 4th place. Right after that in my next heat the wind was already so crazy strong I could not unhook anymore, which lead to my loss against the UK rider Rosanna Jury, who ended up 3rd. I am very happy with the results though, I never thought I will climb to the top four on my first international competition πŸ™‚

KTA11 KTA1 KTA5 KTA2

I feel I’ve learned A LOT about competition riding during those past 4 days. It’s all about luck, skills to perform in all conditions and being able to handle all your kite sizes equally well. For me an additional challenge was riding my 8m kite in all my heats, as this is a kite size I use VERY rarely and I am not used to it at all. I am sure in lighter wind I would be able to perform much better, but a competition is what it is, you have one chance and you either win it or loose it. There’s no use complaining about the wind or rain or kite sizes, you just have to suck it up and go for it with all you have every time. I still have a long way to go but I am sure I will be able to perform better in the future. This event showed me that it is all possible, but most importantly, I absolutely LOVED being there, riding my heats, living the atmosphere of the competition and just trying to do my best. I used to compete in sports a lot before, but I didn’t even know that I missed this feeling so much. Before the KTA I was not sure if I’ll take to it again, as I always somehow imagined I will be very stressed and uncomfortable, but instead I felt calm, happy and, surprisingly, I felt like I was in the place where I was supposed to be πŸ™‚ Now I definitely know that I want to compete in Poland this year and take part in the whole KTA next season, so I guess it’s time to start scraping the budget for 2014/2015 πŸ˜‰

KTA8 KTA7 KTA9

All that’s left for this event is the prize giving tonight and then a massive party in one of the coolest beachbars on the island, so I’m gonna finish this update right here, thank you all for the attention and go take a quick shower before the long night out. We’ve all put a lot of effort on the water over the past few days, so now it’s time to let it all go and party until sunrise! πŸ˜‰

KTA10
Thanks go to all my sponsors:
24surf.pl
Cabrinha
Evokaii
Cheeky&Coco
GoPro

May wind be with you,
Suzana

all pictures taken for the KTA by the awesome Alexandru Baranescu Photography

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New Year, Same Island

Tomorrow’s the last day of 2013 and as I sit in front of my computer after a long rainy day on the island, it makes me think on everything I’ve done those past 12 months. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a completely different person than a year ago. I know she has travelled a lot, I know she’s made some wise and unwise choices, I know she had some absolutely amazing moments in her life and some really bad ones too. And I know she came out of the bad ones as a winner and picked up the pieces and made something really good out of them and I think I am a little bit proud of her. This girl in the mirror is stronger and wiser and, most importantly, one year later she is still doing what she loves the most in the whole world and she has people who recognised her passion and decided to support her in it. I don’t know if she’s a better person, it’s not like I can be a judge of that, but even if she is not, I really hope she’s close to becoming one.

It’s pretty funny to think that this year has started and is gonna end on Boracay. I’ve been to many amazing places, but this is the only one that captured a part of me big enough to force me to come back. I don’t really know what is it because I have seen islands more beautiful than this one, with clearer water, tastier food, better weather… and still, this is the one that I couldn’t get out of my mind. Interesting how these things turn out sometimes πŸ™‚

Our life here is still magic, with enough work, surf and partying to keep us all entertained. Some days are lazy and some, like yesterday, are crazy busy, but all in all it’s good. I might be simply easy to please, but as long as I have enough time to squeeze a small freestyle sesh in or just go and play in the waves on the reef, I am happy. People were telling me in the past that I shouldn’t put so much effort and money into kitesurfing because, just like any other hobby, it will pass. But when you get in there with your kite and you know you can go anywhere and do anything and you’re free and it’s only you you you and years later you still want to scream with joy every time you hear the sound of waves, this is not something that will pass. This is a part of you and even if you wanted, you can’t just cut yourself open and get rid of it. And I still get called silly sometimes when I try to explain it to people, but I also know that every person who has found their true passion in life understands how it feels.

And so, I’d like to wish you all a happy New Year. If you already have something you love the most, I wish you enough courage and determination to pursue it no matter what. And if you haven’t found it yet, I hope 2014 will be the year when you do πŸ™‚ I’d also like to thank my sponsors – Cabrinha, Sklep 24surf.pl, Evokaii and GoPro – for having my back this year. Knowing that there is someone who thinks I am worth supporting is amazing, it makes me push myself even when I think I can’t do it, so thank you πŸ™‚

Until next year and may wind be with you!
Zuza

Greece… Can’t stay away, huh?

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It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything, but it doesn’t mean nothing is happening in my life. I’ve just returned from Rhodes, Greece, where I’ve managed to catch the last 2 weeks of summer 2013. Literally, as the day I left Prasonisi, the wind changed direction from the seasonal northern Meltemi to the southern, winter wind. It was quite fun to see everything turning upside down, the wave spot becoming flat and the flat spot getting a heavy shore-break… and all those poor kiteschools that had to turn all their trailers with equipment around.

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Prasonisi was cool, but it hasn’t conquered my heart like some other destinations I’ve been to so far. If I had to place it somewhere, I would put it right in the middle: good enough that I would go again given a chance, but not good enough to despair if I never see it again. The best thing about it was my friends back from Poland, a whole bunch of them, who came to Prasonisi as well. It was great fun to spend all that time with them, and as they are all pretty good riders (especially my Cabrinha teammate Marek RowiΕ„ski, who was there too) it was never boring to kite with them πŸ™‚

Prasonisi is a pretty fun spot, cause you can alternate between flat freestyle space and waves, and all you have to do to do that is cross from one side of the beach to the other. It’s also a very ‘Polish’ place, in the sense that most people coming here are from Poland. Two out of the three kiteschools here are Polish as well and that should probably speak for itself. It’s not exactly what I usually go for when I plan my next destination, but I wouldn’t mind coming back here next season for a short training trip. Who knows, maybe I will.

As of now, I am in the middle of rescheduling my upcoming months. There are a few goals that I’ve set for myself for this winter/spring and I have a general idea on how I would like to organize them, but I guess I won’t know anything for at least a week more. It’s a lot of shuffling and a huge part of what I want to do depends on a good will of other people (like my AWESOME boss on Boracay – thanks Glen! πŸ˜€ ), so it’s all very sketchy for now. I don’t know anymore where exactly I’m gonna be next month, all I know is that I still love kitesurfing and no matter what, I’m gonna have as much of it this winter and spring as possible! Life’s a funny thing, one minute you think you have it all and the next it turns out it’s not necessarily true, so I’d say those who say it’s never what you expected are probably right. And I guess at the end of the day you just have to stay positive, and not start hating what you love just because of a few hardships and challenges πŸ™‚

May wind be with you,
Suzana

Sorting my life out

Spending time back on my homespot in Poland has given me opportunity to finally sit down and think a bit about the upcoming months. The whole past year was a big string of unpredicted events, plans that changed one thousand times, opportunities seized and waisted and doors that were either closing or opening before me wherever I went. I travelled, I saw some things, I went to the other side of the world and back, surfed places I never though I would surf and met a few people who in some mysterious way managed to become a very important part of my present life.

It was all magical and amazing, but it was also a big, big time and money consuming mess.

So this year I’ve decided to do things differently. I am still going to go places and do stuff, but this time it’s not going to be the wild I-need-to-do-it-all-at-once craze.

After much consideration, I’ve decided the best thing for me will be to go to one windy place for the whole winter season and just settle there for a time. My final choice is Boracay, where I’ll be spending my time from 30 October until mid-April. I’ll be staying in the same awesome school as last year, so if anyone’s up for a kite lesson, you’ll find me in Ocean Republic Kite Centre πŸ™‚

Boracay will give me a great opportunity to develop my riding, as over there it’s windy almost every day, so it’s a comfortable spot with good, consistent winds that help the progress instead of stopping it. I’ve also decided to go for it this winter season and take part in the PKA tour (Philippine Kiteboarding Tour) and hopefully at least 2 stops of the KTA tour… There’s probably gonna be also one big local competition on Boracay, so I might enter that as well. Competitions help to develop your skills a lot and they give you some kind of purpose and a reason to practice, so since I’m gonna spend on Philippines 6 long months, I might just as well participate in as many as I can. So far I’ve been kind of avoiding competing, but I have a feeling if I really try, I can do it. I bought my plane ticket for the first stop of PKA today, so can’t really chicken out anymore πŸ™‚

So that’s more or less all when it comes to my winter plans. For now I am still at the Polish seaside, enjoying time on my homespot on Hel Peninsula. I’m gonna stay here one month more, hopefully producing another video… if only there’s enough wind to ride and film, it should be possible πŸ™‚

Check out a few random pictures from our daily life on Hel!






May wind be with you,
Suzana

“Superhuman”, the Tawila Island video is out!

screen
Finally! My new edit from Tawila Island in Egypt is out πŸ™‚ I hope you will enjoy it and big thanks go to Phil from Fun Kite for sponsoring me with this amazing kitesafari trip!!! Check out their website: fun-kite.com/index.php/en/

Freeriding as a way of life is very different from freestyle and competitions. It is based on traveling the world, discovering new cultures, new destinations, new riding conditions. It’s the most wonderful thing and I am very commited to it, but from a professional rider perspective it can be tough in it’s own way sometimes, especially when you are stuck in a place with conditions clearly not suitable for learning new tricks and in the back of your head you know that all your friends are elsewhere, practicing and moving forward with their riding…

…but then you arrive at a destination like Tawila Island in Egypt, where this video was filmed, you look around and see this wild, mindblowing place full of birds and crabs, with flat crystal-clear water, you realise your love for kitesurfing brought you there and you think to yourself “I must be crazy! I have the best job in the world and it doesn’t matter that others move forward faster!”, which is the message I would like to send to everyone watching this short edit.

You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone. You don’t have to compete if you don’t want to. If you discover what you love most and have enough courage to pursue it, you have already won. You are already Superhuman.

rider: Zuza ‘Suzana’ Czaplinska
cam/edit: Zuza ‘Suzana’ Czaplinska
music: ‘Superhuman’ – Virtual Riot ft. Amba Shepherd

Check out my amazing sponsors as well:

24surf.pl
Cabrinha Poland
GoPro Poland
Evokaii

may wind be with you,
Suzana

Tawila Island

(I wrote this update last week while still on a kite safari)
boat-kitesafari

As I am writing these words to you, I am seated with my laptop on the roof of a big kitesafari boat. The sun is slowly setting, seaguls are flying everywhere trying to catch their evening meal and the wind is gently blowing, just enough to bring some comfort after a long day under the scorching sun. Everyone else is on the island, probably smoking sheesha and listening to Bob Marley, cause that’s what we do here when it’s not windy enough to kitesurf. Everyone but me, since I just felt this time it’s better to simply find a quiet place and shut down for a bit. Just the little me, surrounded by amazing nature and vast, vast sea wherever I look.

Gods, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this happy.

I’ve been invited to tag along on this kite safari in Egypt as a guest rider and as of now we still have two more days to go. It’s been a wonderful time so far and I really do not want to go back to the ‘normal’ life I have on the shore… it really feels good to finally just wake up in the morning, eat delicious breakfast and spend my morning coffee time on thinking what tricks should I film rather than running to school and focusing all my energy and time on students. I love teaching, but for a while now I’ve had a feeling I am not developing as a rider, something that really depressed me deep down inside. Being here though has opened me up so much, I’ve already learned two new tricks and every day I can see progression in my riding, so all the dark things are now long gone and forgotten πŸ™‚ There are still a few new things I want to try on the water, so hopefully the wind stays with us for the last two days we hare here! I’m filming a lot and hopefully I will be able to release a nice edit from this trip… that would be my first ‘professional’ edit with Cabrinha and all the other sponsors, so fingers crossed it’s gonna work out and everyone ends up happy! πŸ™‚

We’re spending most of our time on an island called Tawila, which is almost as good as the desert island Seco on Philippines πŸ™‚ Tawila has offshore wind and a big shallow lagoon, so perfect conditions for riding AND filming (so easy to put my new GoPro on the tripod in the water, I love it!). We’re all enjoying it tremendously πŸ™‚ Today in the morning we did a short trip to another island, but by the end of the day the guys have decided we’re going back to Tawila, and so here we are again. I don’t mind, for me as long as I can just put my tripod in the water and go rock it on my awesome kites (Yes, I am so in love with them! They were a good choice!) I can be anywhere, Tawila or other islands…

That’s all for now and I wish time would run slower so that I don’t have to leave this place!

May wind be with you,
Suzana

Below you will find posted some screens taken out from the gopro footage… enjoy!

All Girls Downwind and Evokaii Ad

all girls downwind

A few days ago we were a bit bored and so we decided to organize a downwind for all the RedSeaZone girls. We packed our things, took a bus and went all the way to El Gouna border, from where we kitesurfed back to RSZ. It was really a lot of fun to be just with my girl mates, I’m always doing everything with guys so it felt good to ride with women for a change! And we had so much fun just cruising downwind, doing tricks, high-fiving each other on the water and just being silly πŸ™‚ Hopefully we can do it again soon!

I’m very excited for tomorrow, because finally ALL MY KITE GEAR is gonna come here from Poland! This means my smokin’ hot new board and my 10m kite and some other cool things… I’m already getting ready to shred it hard on the water tomorrow – GoPro is charging, tripod is sitting ready next to my backpack and the camera is packed… I’ll film as soon as I get my hands on my things, I’ve been waiting SO LONG for this! So tomorrow’s gonna be a good day πŸ™‚ Hopefully some pictures will follow!

Stay tuned for more, and check out the little advert I did recently for my clothing sponsor Evokaii:
Evokaii Grunge Longsleeve

May wind be with you,
Suzana