Marie ranks 2 on the KSP tour after One Eye, Mauritius and Pacasmayo, Peru. Here’s an highlight on the french rider before the ultimate event in Capo Verde (02.12.2011 – 11.12.2011) on Ponta Preta mythic wave.
Hi Marie, can you introduce yourself. Where are you from and what was your life before you started kiting?
I’m 27 years old and grew up in Les Rousses (Moutains). Before living in Montpellier I was practising Ski and Telemark in competition (I was in the French National Team of Telemark and participated to the world tour). I’m working currently as a dental assistant and preparing an acupuncturist degree.
You studied at the University of Montpellier, South of France. Did you move there only for your degree courses or because Montpellier is also one of the most active places in Kitesurfing around the Mediterranean sea in Europe ?
At first I moved to Montpellier only to study. But I had to find another sport to practice because I couldn’t ski anymore. Furthermore my boyfriend practiced windsurfing and I really didn’t want to stay on the beach waiting for him!! I had already heard about kitesurfing before and wanted to try this sport. As almost all mountain girl I hated the wind and didn’t really like salted water (not used of it).
How and when did you discover kitesurfing ? Do you practise other water sports ?
I took a 3 hour course with Optimum kite in Montpellier about 6 years ago so as to know the basics of a kite and security things. After that I’ve met many people from Kite 34 (a kite forum which doesn’t exist anymore). The aim of that forum was the allow people with different level to practice together and give advices. To share the passion.
1 year and a half ago I started to practice kitesurfing with a surf and the feeling was so good that I never touched a twintip again. But now I really want to learn pure surfing, that’s why I have practice Stand Up Paddle for 6 months. I’m sure that learning SUP without a kite will allow me to improve my level in Kitesurfing.
You used to compete in Telemark Worldcup. How did this experience helped you as regards mental and physical shape for the KSP tour ?
I’ve grown up in a competition environment. And it gave me a chance to become mentally stronger it gave me always more far, always trying to do my best to reach a higher level.
You ranked 4 in Canaries Islands on the PKRA, beaten by Ines Correia. You had a revenge and ranked 2 on her in KSP at Mauritius. Congrats ! How were the sailing conditions in One Eye ?
That’s true, Ines ranked 3 in the Canary island, she’s a real good kitesurfer. At the first heat of the Ksp she beat me again and I was so angry against myself that I wished I could win my other heats to compete with her again and fix my mistakes. And I did it! Let’s see whats gonna happen in the next events if we meet again in a heat!
The sailing conditions in One Eye were incredible! I have never seen such a big, powerful, fast and beautiful wave. I was really lucky to surf on one of the most beautiful wave in the world.
We arrived 5 days before the competition in Mauritius and we started with very big swell (4 to 5 meters). All the local kite surfers told me « hey you shouldn’t go out its a suicide, even most of us don’t have the courage to surf that wave » I decided to stay on the smallest wave « Little Reef ». But when the competition started the waves were still very big but I had to go! WOOWW what a feeling ! So much adrenaline !!
For my first heat I did very bad, lots of wipeout, but I think it helped me because every time I got washed I took the waves on my face I think to myself « OK it doesn’t hurt that much, lets try it again » the waves were scaring me each time less.
Four strapless guys in the men’s semi-final. Can you tell us a few words about the KSP staff and the radical turn the contest has taken toward a real strapless kitesurfing tour ?
The four first guys are amazing in strapless. They represent the best of our sport in riding strapless with power and pulling off innovative moves in the waves. That’s what made the difference for the judges. Most of them are well known judges on the Surf tour and we had the chance to be also judge by Felix Pivec a strapless and unhooked addict rider.
I don’t think their goal is to set up an exclusive strapless tour, but for sure their judging guidelines give more points to the guy who make at least as good as the guy with straps. If someone strapped did more impressive manoeuvers than Airton or Mitu, for sure he would be first, but that wasn’t the case.
What does strapless represent to you ?
I started Surfing with a kite only strapless. I really love the feeling of surfing without straps. Here in Montpellier you will never see me with straps. But unfortunately I have to train more to get more power and be more confident in competition in strapless. That’s why I used straps for KSP. When the heats ended, I free my feet by taking off my straps and trained in one eye in strapless. I’ll go few days before the competition in Perou so as to train strapless on the Pacasmayo’s wave, and I hope I could do it ! Be cause that’s really what I love.
You have got the youngest supporter on the tour. How can you manage to be both a mum and a ripper ?
Hey that’s amazing, let me say first that the first 3 women are mums (Ninja has a 2 years-old girl, I have a 4-years old girl and Steph has 3 children)!!! Its at the same time really hard and really a chance having my daughter with me on the Tour. I think that she gave me more strength to fight for the competition so as to make her proud of me. And in another way its quite hard because when all the riders are in the water training I have to share time with my husband who is a kite surf addict too and someone always has to stay on the beach taking care of Mahïti and waiting for his turn.
You are working on a educational project around “water and kids”, can you tell us about it ?
I want to create an educational and community project to teach the kids in every country we visit how to preserve environment and initiate them to kite and SUP. In exchange, kids will draw something about water and environment on 1 x 1,5 meter boards. Back in France we will put together the boards so as to create a huge 200m2 kite-fresco.
It’s an opportunity for me to help as much as I can kids and to some extend the environment. I think the children will be amazed to see such a huge work. It will be great for them to feel involved in such a project, a way to share our different cultures through sport.
It’s also an incredible visual medium for our sponsors and I need more partners to achieve this project for the next year.
Thank you Marie, good luck for your projects and the next stop in Ponta Preta.
You can follow Marie Gautron on her blog at : http://mariegautron.blogspot.com/