ITW of Adriana Harlan – The Mokuleia’s Naiad

ITW of Adriana Harlan – The Mokuleia’s Naiad

ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad

Oceanographer researcher and ocean ripper… Let’s dive into Adriana’s world with this recent interview. She is one too rare girls shredding the gnar in the strapless kitesurfing tribe.

Hi Adriana, can you introduce yourself. Where are you from and what was your life before you started kiting?

I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and have lived on the North Shore of Oahu since 1997. I have been a bodyboarder for most of my life and for many years I competed professionally and I still love to bodyboard when the wind is not blowing. I also enjoy scuba diving and taking my dogs for walks on the beach.

ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad
ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad
ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad

You studied biology at the University of Oahu. Was it only an excuse to spend time in Hawaii or are you really involved in environment? What topics have you worked on?

I first came to Hawaii when I was 15 years old to compete in the Pipeline World Tour contest. I always wanted to live in the USA and after I finished high school in Brazil and did one semester of college I had the opportunity to move to Hawaii. I was 17 years old and I came for the contest once again, but this time I decided not to go back to Brazil. My idea did not go well with my parents. I knew that in order to be able to live in the USA and get the support needed from my parents I would need to go to college, so I enrolled in Hawaii Pacific University. The ocean is my life and I wanted to learn more about it so I got a degree Marine Biology.

Today I work for the University of Hawaii as a Research Oceanographer. My research is focused in understanding ocean climate and variability at a deep-water site north of Oahu.

What motivated you to settle down there?

I chose to live in Hawaii simply because the waves are amazing and the weather and water temperature are warm all year round. I also have a lot of Brazilian friends who live on the North Shore and this gives me a feeling of home even though I am far from my family.

And Now, do you feel more Brazilian or Hawaiian?

After all these years living here I feel more American than anything.

ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad

What or who made you start kiting? and when?

My husband would always watch the kiters surfing the waves near our house and wanted to try it and he insisted that I take a lesson. I was reluctant at first but after my first lesson in July of 2008 I wanted more lessons and since then I could not stop thinking about kiting and wanted to go everyday. For about 7 months I practiced flying the kite and getting comfortable on a twin tip board before riding a surfboard in the waves. I had my first session in the surf in February of 2009 and since then I have focused my riding in the waves.

So, you have recently started kiting and you can pull off some radical strapless moves. I suppose that you are quite gifted. I guess you have secrets to reach such a high level in wave riding so quickly? Which are they?

I do not have any secrets but I would say that because I have been around surfing and waves most of my life I understand how waves break and where the critical section is to hit. I am also very determined in my learning and have spent countless hours on the water trying to improve. My husband spends a lot of time on the beach filming (thank you Chuck!) so we can watch my riding and see what I need to do to improve and that has helped me tremendously. I think time on the water is my special training and I also study what Felix, Reo and John Amundson are doing.

ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad

You have entered a video contest in order to win a wild card entrie to “The 2011 Triple-S” (Surf, Slicks and Sliders ), held in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in June. Why did you decide to start competing and who is supporting you?

I decided to enter this contest to help promote and get more exposure for females in the surf. There are so many girls ripping at freestyle and I think now we need to help the surf side of the sport grow. I am currently looking for sponsors and support from companies that share the same vision and goals as I do with the sport of women’s wave kiting.

You have a solid surfing background but what is your training program ? Do you practise the other disciplines included in the Triple-S?

Whenever I am not at work I spend hours practicing kiting in the waves. If the wind is light I go bodyboarding to keep in shape and if there is no wind or waves I take my dogs for a walk on the beach. I also eat very healthy and do some stretching at home.

What does strapless kitesurfing represent to you?

I ride mostly strapless now unless the conditions require the use of straps. Having watched surfers rip the waves for so many years I want to try to do the same. Not having straps on my board allows me to use my legs and feet much more to move the board on the waves. I enjoy that freedom and also like the challenge that comes with it. Hitting the lip with power and completing the maneuver strapless is a rewarding feeling.

You’ve been to the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia to bodyboard, is it also a good kite destination? What are your plans for next trips?

ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad
ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad
ITW of Adriana Harlan - The Mokuleia's Naiad

Yes I did spend three weeks on one of the most amazing islands in all of Indonesia but in general the Mentawai Islands are not a kite destination. When we were there the wind would blow in front of storms but it is very dangerous if you do not have a jet ski because the currents are very strong between the islands. This trip was only for surfing and we did not even bring our kites.

I hope to spend a lot of time traveling this summer and fall in search of new wind and waves. Right now I have a few destinations in mind such as Indonesia, Micronesia and perhaps Peru.

Kitesurfing, as many extreme sports, often drags a “macho” atmosphere. What could you do, concretely, to change that?

That is a great question! I do not have the golden answer to this question but I know that if more women put more time and effort into improving in the waves they will be given the recognition they deserve from the men and this may help calm the macho attitude a bit. I know that my skills have earned me a solid place in the line-up at my local beach and I hope that other women will be inspired to do the same.

Muito obrigado para sua participaçao ! 🙂
(Thank you for your participation, Adriana !)



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