Voor Girls love Sports heeft gast blogger & surf mom Diah Koesoebjono pro kiteboarder Aina Renolen geïnterviewd.
My first interview with a pro kiteboarder is with none other than Aina Renolen.
I am very excited as I am planning to pick up kiteboarding this summer and as I have heard Aina is a household name among pro kiteboarders. Or as she says: “I’m not the most famous pro kiteboarder, but people know who I am ;)”.
Born in Trondheim, Norway, 28 year old Aina recently moved to Spain. After a tough year, she decided it was time for a fresh start and what better way to do so than moving to warm and windy Tarifa.
Let’s first start with some general questions so our readers can get to know you better.
Can you tell us a little bit about the family you were raised in and the place you were living as a child?
I grew up with separate parents, living half the time with dad and half the time with mom. With my new stepmom I gained two amazing brothers. They took me in as their sister, and treated me like that since. My dad has two kids from previous relationships and I have a lot of contact with them as well. I had a happy and healthy childhood living first in a big city called Trondheim and later in a small town called Namsos. I had a few rough years with my scoliosis disease needing a big surgery putting titanium in my spine, but I have always been active with all kinds of sports, so I recovered quickly. I had a 30% chance to become paralyzed, so I am quite stoked about being able to kite at my level.
When and where did you start to kite?
Dominican Republic, Cabarete, I went there in 2008 to take Spanish lessons for three months and also took kitelessons, but didn’t properly start to kite before May 2009. And I love life every day since I made that decision.
At what point did you decide to become a professional kiteboarder (what was the most important reason? Did sponsors approach you or did you decide yourself that this would be your future)?
I realized that I loved this sport and lifestyle. I wanted more and to improve, but equipment was too expensive and the second hand I could afford kept breaking on me so with the level I already had back then I decided to just try. That’s when GIN kiteboarding happened to me and how my kiteboarding career started: I owe them everything. They changed my life from a boring normal life to the life I was always meant to be living. Also some other sponsors came along with that!
I have read you have been travelling a lot: fifteen countries in six years! Not just for kiteboarding but also spending and living 3-9 months in different places learning about the cultures and customs. This means you must be a very open and world-oriented person.
Among those places visited: is there a specific favorite kitespot/place where you have lost your heart to or would you rather keep that a secret?
Hehe, I don’t think any place that I have been is a secret anymore as I make a lot of movies and pictures as a part of my promotion. But Sri Lanka was the place where my level went from just ok to pretty good. Plus the place is absolutely stunning. It is a culture like nowhere else. I had such an amazing time there and a piece of my heart will always be in Sri Lanka. Brazil is ofcourse very special to me, a lot of tricks and good life happened there.
Is there a specific reason you chose to move to Tarifa? Have you been here before? How long are you planning to stay?
I have been here before, but back then I didn’t love it because I was fresh out of an injury and very sick at that time. I decided to move here because I want a lifestyle including more than just kiteboarding. Skating, working, living the beach life, wakeboarding and also having a good time with good people. I am staying until the end of the season, so October/November. As long as I can find a room for the summer, but it’s in progress. Tarifa already is in my heart and I can’t imagine doing anything else this summer or maybe even the summers to come. This winter I might hop off to Asia for some fun in Thailand and the Philippines.
Most pro kiteboarders still have a day-to-day job next to kiteboarding to make a living and pay for their expenses made.
Do you still study or what kind of work are you doing at the moment?
Now I study, but before I financed my travelling with working in a 7/11 shop: selling hotdogs, candy, cigarettes and so on. In Norway a month’s pay at this job makes a living for 5-6 months in Asia. So I lived with my parents and just worked for 4-5 weeks. My parents were amazing, always supporting me with a bed to sleep in. Can’t thank them enough! Now I study and get support from the government, but in return I need to go home to Norway in December and May more or less. It’s a bit stressful, but I’ll do it.
What do you study? Is it easy to combine your studies with your professional kiteboarding? How do you see your future combining both?
I study Marketing and Management with tourism as main subject. It’s very relevant to what I do already and I know a lot what I study just from practising it. So it’s fairly easy to combine with my professional career. Now I am over half way and already way over average in grades and feeling confident for the last year. I want to make sure that if something happens, I have something else to rely on, and you never know what turn life will take. Plus it’s very interesting and will help me to push my career in another direction when I can’t progress in kiteboarding anymore.
Now something very different. In 2011 you joined the Ragnarok competition and your plan was to participate again this year. Yet due to work obligations and limited time, last-minute, you choose not to go. As the Ragnarok is one of the world’s biggest snowkiting venues to be participating in, we are still interested in how one can prepare for such an event. This year was the fifth edition in which more than 300 kiters gathered on the plains of the Hardangervidda to kite and battle each other fighting the cold and heavy elements.
How did you prepare yourself in 2011? For such an event as a pro kiteboarder most of the time you are practicing in other elements like warm weather and of course the ever changing water besides good wind.
The Red Bull Ragnarok was an experience I will never forget. It was truly mind blowing in so many ways. It was actually my very first time snowkiting in a race, so it’s no shock when I say I didn’t do too well. But I finished one round and was super proud of that. During that round we had rain, snow, wind, light wind, super strong wind, sun and no wind. It was totally mental – at one point I found myself sitting on the top of the hill with my kite completely dead drinking a Red Bull and eating a chocolate in the middle of nowhere. The view and situation were magnificent, totally unreal. I will never forget that. But unfortunately, this event was extremely hard on my back.
Do you take special training beside kiteboarding to make sure you will be performing at your best?
Yes, I make sure to do other activities when I am not able to kite, but when I kite a lot I just stretch and do yoga. I don’t want to overdo myself, I have been through that a few times and it’s no fun. But I try to eat healthy and with a lot of variation. I love dark berry smoothies for breakfast and vegetable dishes with red pure meat.
What other (big) competitions did you already participate in and how are you ranked at the moment?
Well, I stopped doing competitions before my level was actually good enough, so I can’t brag too much. But I did PKRA in Thailand 2011 and got in 7th and I did quite a few KTA – Kite tour Asia, and ended up 5th. But I always got stressed out or injured, so I never really got totally into the competition mode. I love the smaller and more chilled comps like Boracay Funboard Cup and Thailand Nationals. Always a good time and good prices! And of course good parties – I do like a good party from time to time.
Are there any (near) future plans in competition? Have you ever visited the Netherlands? We have awesome (quite constant) winds over here!
No plans, I heard rumours about KTA starting again and then I might have a look what they are doing. But mostly because I love the crew and the organizers, since I did the tour so many times. I have a lot of good friends in the Netherlands so you never know. At the moment I don’t have much plans for the future – I just know I want to be on the beach, kite and be happy. And finish my studies.
Are you superstitious or do you have a special ritual you do before a competition?
Not really, but I always like to have the number 8 in my participation number. Since I’m born on 28.08.88, the number 8 has always been special to me. I used to have some lucky shorts, but after I dislocated my knee in those shorts, they don’t feel so lucky anymore. Haha. I had a lot of stupid injuries.
Do you have any tips for aspiring talented new kiteboarders and something you want to say to our readers?
For new kiteboarders, just relax and have fun – don’t push your self too hard, in the end it is just going to destroy you. Feel your body and feel the fun of it – if you are not having fun in a session, stop, take a break and go back in later. Being angry on the water doesn’t help you or the people around you. I mean, there should be a fair amount of serious training, but if you take a funny crash: laugh – do not throw your bar away and scream. No matter how good you are, you are pursuing a passion for a reason – it’s a passion and not something you HAVE to do. This goes for everything in life!
Thank you for answering my multitude of questions and hopefully see you soon on Dutch waters!
Meer informatie over Diah Koesoebjono
Diah is 36 jaar en getrouwd met Melle. In haar dagelijks leven is ze huisarts in opleiding, super mama van 2 kids en actieve blogster met haar blog Have a swim in a calm sea. Ze sport al sinds haar kinderjaren; tennis, hockey en skiën. Maar door een kruisband blessure van het skiën, een operatieve reconstructie en maandenlange revalidatie is zij zich meer gaan richten op individuele sporten. Pas rond haar 26ste raakte ze echt geïnteresseerd in boardsports.
Het begon allemaal met een surfles in Jeffrey’s Bay, Zuid Afrika tijdens een roadtrip. Een nieuwe liefde was geboren! Eenmaal terug in Nederland nam zij haar vriend (nu echtgenoot) mee en sindsdien liggen ze samen in het water in Wijk aan Zee, maar ook in Frankrijk. Rond dezelfde periode is ze ook begonnen met snowboarden en ondanks haar drukke leventje probeert ze dit in ieder geval 1 keer per jaar te doen. Hiernaast is ze ook nog erg actief met hardlopen, zoals de Nike Women’s Run en de Dam tot Dam loop en yoga via You Tube en het Ebook van Kayla Itsines.
Volg Diah op Instagram voor haar green happiness maaltijden en unieke handgemaakte headwear!