Summer = sea, fun, great emotions and… Kitesurfing! I present to you a young instructor who has dealt with extreme sports for ages. His name is Nikolay Galabov and he is a professional kitesurfer, who practices on the South Black sea in Bulgaria. Whether you have no idea what this sport is ,or you’re well-grounded, take a look – you’ll see a different perspective on what you know!
How many years have you done this –as an amateur and professionally?
As an Amateur – as young as fourteen years old .Professionally, I started doing this after 2 or 3 years ,coaching people from the beginning of summer. Now I work as a kitesurfing instructor , but I also improve on freestyle, free ride , waveriding and other similar performances. They require good physical training for serious weather conditions in which a normal person wouldn’t even dare to leave the house.
What attracts you to this sport?
Most of all the joy of the thrill. The way you catch the wind and the waves ,the way you are left riding in the mercy of nature. This is because the sport holds many risks, some of which are life- threatening.
Would you say that this is an expensive sport? How much money does it take a person to practice it?
Overall, this is an expensive sport and everyone knows that. However, it doesn’t take a lot of money for the practice itself. There are many schools that offer the necessary things at low prices and daily fees. But in the beginning, those who want to do this professionally have to spend at least 1000 – 2000 lev for some quality equipment, even if it’s second hand.
What are the most important things you need to know about kitesurfing?
The Most important thing is to be aware of the dangers of the weather conditions. Also – Being aware of your physical condition and capabilities. Don’t underestimate the condition of the equipment which will be used. There is equipment that is second hand, but the quality is always important.This also applies to the kite ,trapezium and the lines. If something goes wrong, bad equipment could cost your life. It often happens when you kite in bad weather, there appears to be a problem with the equipment – a defect or damage. Then you can be sent, as they say, in the middle of the sea – because of the speed of the wind and other weather conditions. This is a situation that could endanger your life, especially when you don’t have enough experience. Another important thing is dangerous bays. In Bulgaria there are a few, but they exist. They are extremely dangerous because of underwater streams ,underwater rocks and even dirty water. So far, the Bay of Burgas is one of the places where kitesurfing is practiced the most. At that Bay has formed the so-called “funnel” – even in gentle breeze, there is enough air power for a person to kite. Of course, the conditions are not that great for big air jumps, but the place is preferred by many people.
What do you think are the advantages of this sport? What separates it from the rest?
The advantages can be divided into two categories. First, the nature and preferences of the person, because it’ s a sport that has a lot of adrenaline in it. Second, compared to other similar sports such as windsurfing, in kitesurfing you can do high and spectacular jumps. Such jumps cannot be performed in almost any other sport, because kitesurfing is directly related to paragliding.
Tell us an interesting experience while you were kiting.
There are interesting experiences almost every time I kite. I’ve been close to drowning or serious physical injury.
When the kitesurfer is self-taught and is not under the attention of the instructor, sometimes the beginner jumps straight into a quite strong wind. Then he flies so high that at times it’s frightening. In fact, beginners are not prepared for such high jumps and not everyone knows how to react in that or in simillar situation.
Are there any girls in this sport?
Definitely ,but they are few. Maybe it is not because a lack of interest from the girls, but because no one can introduce them more closely to the sport.
Are there many who want to kite?
There are many people who are interested and want to try, but the problem appears to be financial. The sport is not cheap and is still new for Bulgaria. We don’t have the necessary equipment and schools where you can get appropriate training and everything else. Also we have few instructors, which is bad.
At what age are people willing to go into this sport?
Trainees and professionals so far are between fifteen and thirty years old. There is no age limit. It is better for a man to be younger, because it will be easier to learn the theory and the techniques faster, and put them into practice.
Do you think the sport has a potencial in Bulgaria?
Of course it has potential as any other sport. Currently kitesurfing continues to spread in Bulgaria. This sport has many varieties. Kitesurfing is a subset of a large section of water sports. There is also landboarding -the board is used on a flat surface with the help of a kite. On the bulgarian Black Sea coast the wind is not very strong, so kitesurfing can be developed here. You can’t always try the different techniques which I mentioned earlier, but the place is perfect for beginner kitesurfers. I think we should pay attention to the state subsidies for sports clubs. In theory it is possible to establish a sports club and to grant money in the amount of 10 000 Levs, but in reality that rarely happens.
Who would you recommend to deal with kitesurfing?
I would recommend it to people who love sports ,the thrills and fall for technical adrenaline sports. This is suitable for people who deal with more extreme activities – paragliding, mountain biking and more.
What is kitesurfing to you and why?
I think kitesurfing is a very interesting sport and is even elegant. Anyone can practice it, but not everyone can build on to more serious subjects like hangtime, airstyle, freestyle and other things who require serious physical exercise. There is indescribable ecstasy in kiting. The higher the wind speed is, the stronger the experience is. Professionals who have reached a high level of kiting will understand what I mean , they can feel the exact energy which I feel emotionally as well.
What would you say to our readers who want to go into the sport , but still don’t have the necessary motivation?
The truth about kitesurfing is that anyone can try, but the sport is not for everyone. Those who show enough talent and understanding can be built as athletes with professional skills. They will be able to experience the real pleasure of the sport.
And finally, what would you wish to our readers?
I wish to every enthusiast who deals with sports, the best of luck and trouble-free exercising. Everything else comes with time!
TRANSLATOR: KREMENA SPASOVA