With this article I want to start kind of a new series about inspiring women in kitesurfing. It will not be a series only about the super well known pros – cause I think that they are not the only ones who act as role models for women in kitesurfing! So I’d like to have a mix of women all over the world who I think are spreading inspiration with what they are doing.
For this first article I talked to Nathalie Lambrecht who started to kite at young age, has been Swedish champion 2017 and really knows how to shred hard! A knee injury some months ago forced her to make a break from kitesurfing which she used to concentrate on other projects like a girls kite event in Sweden and her (super motivating!) Vlog. In this interview she’ll not only tell us what it’s all about but also reveals how to deal with recovery after an accident like hers.
Interview: Nathalie Lambrecht
Can you tell me something about your background and how you started to kitesurf?
I’d say I’m quite international – 50 % Swedish and 50 % Belgian, born in Costa Rica and lived there until the age of three. The rest of my childhood was spent in Egypt. Then when I turned 14 I moved to Sweden to finish my studies. Luckily my dad was and still is living in Egypt so I visited him and the beach every holiday. Now I am 20, I graduated a year ago and I’m truly thankful to have two homes.
I started kitesurfing at the age of twelve, all thanks to an awesome babysitter I had that time! It all started with her learning to kite and talking about how much fun it was. So finally we could convince my parents and I got my first lessons. My passion grew stronger for every session. Kitesurfing was the best way to escape reality and feel free.
How was the beginning of your kitesurf career?
Well I would not call it a kitesurfing career yet. I do have an amazing sponsor supporting me with the best gear. However I can not live off the sport. I still get a lot of support from my parents by being able to live under their roof and so on. After I graduated I had a side job at a hotel in El Gouna as a Guest Relation to earn some pocket money, but it is not enough to live on. So it would be an honor to call it a kitesurf career then from the day on when I’m completely independent and compete on more international stops.
Which disciplines are your favourite ones and why?
My main categories within kitesurfing are Freestyle and Big Air. It’s hard to pick my favorite. What I especially like about it, is the feeling I get when I am about to jump or unhook. That millisecond just before I go for my trick, only thinking and concentrating about what is going on right here and now … After that it is just pure adrenaline and the passion that sets my soul on fire.
Unfortunately you hurt your knee … what happened exactly and which thoughts did you have after the accident?
It happened during those classic last minutes of your session when you are already tired and should have gone out off the water. I was practicing a higher Backroll to Wrapped, missed the bar and landed wrong with my knee. The doctor said that the knee cap dislocated and tore the inner ligament of my knee (MCL). After the accident he told me that I will not be able to kite for six months … These news devastated me, cause as I was not obliged to be in Sweden for school I finally I would have had the opportunity to kite 24/7. It was quite hard and I only saw a big black hole – because in the beginning I was also not allowed to swim, to run or bike or to do any training with my right leg. As I’m a very active person it was hard to accept this. However, I always try to look at things from the bright side and find new things to focus on. So plans and goals were adjusted a bit. I was still able to train my left leg and got creative with some nice upper body training. During this time I also realized I want to learn more about the human body and in addition found a new passion for Yatzy (a family dice game). And I finally had time to start my Vlog!
What’s the hardest part of recovery – not being able to kite? How do you train?
Definitely the hardest aspect is not being able to do what I love, which means kiting. In matters of training I found funny ways to train my upper body and I am strengthening my knee each day. I mainly train by myself at the gym or at home, but from time to time I get some support and guidance from a physiotherapist to rehab my knee. Having someone to help me recover in the best way is of course helpful.
You’re getting back on the surfboard now – does it make you as happy as freestyle does?
Yeah it’s AWESOME – cause just being out on the water is such an amazing feeling. I have not been out on a surfboard so much, so there will be some new things for me to learn. In the beginning I will only be allowed to ride left and right, and for sure I will still miss the thrill of Freestyle and Big Air! I just have to build strong muscles and take it day by day until I can go back on my twin tip.
If you would have to give some tips for recovery after a kitesurfing accident – which ones would that be?
- Stay positive.
- Take your time to recover.
- Try to find other things to focus on or a new hobby. My new passion grew within a game called Yatzy. When I was at my weakest, it became the best way to distract me.
- If kitesurfing is really a heavy passion, find ways to still be involved in the lifestyle. Like I joined kite demo events or coached at a girls kite event.
- Have a count down and make future plans to look forward to.
Tell me a little bit about your projects like the girls kite event in Sweden and your Vlog!
I had been thinking to start a Vlog for quite a while. However, I finally started as all a sudden I had a lot of time to plan it. Before my knee injury I always postponed it because I could not miss a windy day on the water. The girls kite event was organized by kite school/shop called Kite Kalle. It’s great initiative to push women’s kiteboarding in Sweden forward. This will hopefully become an annual thing, that I definitely want to be a part of.
Check out Nathalie’s Vlog and Social Media:
Lead photo: @ Niklas Funk