Freestyle Girlpower: Therese Taabbel
Danish champion Therese Taabbel has started kiteboarding at a very young age and has come a long way since then! We talked to Therese about her pro career, how to keep fit and motivated, and how she supports women in the sport.
Hi Therese, you’ve been kiting for some time now, how did you get into the sport and how old were you?
Hey guys, thank you so much for giving me the chance to share a bit of my story. I first discovered kitesurfing 11 years ago, when my dad got into the sport. It was love at first sight, and I knew straight away that I wanted to learn. I have always loved adrenaline, trying new things and the ocean so kitesurfing just seemed like a “Therese kind of a thing”. I was only 25 kg and a tiny girl. One and a half year later, I got my first kite and have not left the water since. But I have to be honest here… It took me quite a while before I felt a hundred percent confident. And blood, sweat and tears were also included. So, I know what it is like to be a beginner in that position. I am so thankful and happy that I kept trying - so I am able to do what I do today, live my dream life.
Your girl camps are an absolute hit. Can you share a little bit more about them and what’s involved?
I see more women on the water each time I go kiteboarding. It motivates me so much to see girls stepping up in a pretty men-dominated sport. In Denmark we did not really have a strong women kiteboarding community. So I wanted to do something about it and bring all these unique and badass women together. And I can tell you one thing: When you bring girls together with the same strong passion - magic happens. I have been focusing on creating a safe and fun environment around my camps. I want the girls to feel comfortable, when they enter the water. Because that is where I see they need extra support. When we feel good and comfortable on the water, the progression comes more naturally, and we can challenge our self to try new things. The level is variable, and there is space for everyone. From complete beginner, to going upwind or trying your first back roll or unhooked. My goal is to create a social network between the ladies, so they are able to meet up when it is windy. So they can motivate, help and have fun together. Some of the girls from my last year camp, even went traveling to Cape Town together. It makes my heart SO happy. I am organizing the camps in Denmark with our local Cabrinha Kiteschool; Lynaes Surfcenter close to Copenhagen. For this year, I only did the camps in Denmark but are looking forward to expanding the concept and connect women all over the world so we can share our passion for kitesurfing together.
You’ve been riding some of the new XO collection this year from Cabrinha, what are your thoughts on it?
LOVE it. High performance. And… the colours! My first 3 thoughts about the collection. I am so happy about the XO range board and kite. Without being to girly, it sets a tone of power. I feel very honoured to be able to express myself on the water and feel comfortable at the same time. Also, I think it so cool we as girls have our “own” equipment. When equipment is made specific for ladies to improve the comfort and make your sessions even better, I do not see a reason why not to take advantage of it.
You are super fit and are always motivating others to stay fit, how do you stay motivated and can you let us in on some of your secrets?
Working out makes me feel so good inside, it gives me a boost of positivity and surplus. It is how I prefer to start my day, to get started the right way. Staying fit is also a very important element in being an athlete. To prevent injuries and be on the top of your game. My physically shape is also very linked to my mental mindset, so whenever I am working out a lot, my mental mindset feels stronger. I love to share and motivate other people to be active and do workouts with me. I want to share the good feeling and boost it can give you afterwards.
Your last videos from Brazil and the Cabrinha rider academy in Sicily were amazing, the tricks were of the highest level. What are you working on these days and what keeps you pushing your level?
I love kiteboarding and the way you can always push yourself in different directions. The sports include so many different aspects, and there are endless possibilities to improve, so it never gets boring to me. I am always looking for a new trick, and really want to extend my repertoire. I try not only to focus on new tricks, but also being able to do my current tricks in all kind of conditions and wind. I also just started foiling and it is like learning a completely new sport – so fun!
Denmark seems like an amazing place to kite, hows the scene over there?
Denmark offers so many undiscovered sports for kitesurfing, it is unbelievable. Few of them is some of the best sports I have discovered. Denmark is a flat country, so we have lot of flat-water spots in the fjords. Another unique place is what we call Cold Hawaii on the west coast of Denmark. The name speaks for itself. The season is from April to October, and during winter it can get pretty cold, so I prefer to seek to warmer destinations. Denmark is a small country, and therefore the community is very close. People are so open and helpful. I love my local kite community. It is always the same people showing up on the beach when it is windy. If anyone wants to explore Denmark, do not hesitate to contact me, I am more than willing to share some good insides. I am dreaming of making a video next summer showcasing some of the beauty Denmark has to offer.
If you could have one perfect session anywhere in the world, where would it be?
This is a very common answer: Brazil's Taiba logoon. I do not know what it is with that place, but someone might have put fairy dust in that lagoon.
What are the rest of your plans for 2018?
We just finished the first World Kiteboarding Championships stop in Turkey, where I ended up 5th place. Next competition will be Marocco Dakhla, and after I fly straight to Brazil for the final freestyle stop of the year. But before I am off, I have a few exams at home, and then it is time to escape the cold! I am so thankful to travel around the globe with my kite.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Therese and the best of luck with the rest of the year!
FOLLOW THERESE ON INSTAGRAM @theresetaabbel