Karolina Winkowska gives us a glimpse of what she's been up to over this unfamiliar period and why She still might just be the best Women's Kiteboarder out there irrespective of multiple discipline world titles.
Film and Edit: Alexander Lewis-Hughes
Bapolina! Any idea how that nickname came about? Aussie humor 2020
What a year… Yes, what a year!
Everyone has been having a hard time, but it looks like you pulled it all together for another hammer filled edit. How have you been? I’ve been like everyone else, struggling, looking for new opportunities, questioning my life, as well as doing odd jobs, courses and figuring out what’s next. For me, watersports are the best remedy for bad days, so kiteboarding has definitely helped me to stay sane and excited this year. Working on this edit was a great task to keep my motivation going and reminding myself why I chose to be a pro kiteboarder.
Were you happy with this edit? What was the process like? It’s been a really good start, we went to Brazil, I had an amazing time riding with the Kite Park League riders. It was so great to push riding with everyone. Then 2020 came, and ruined all our plans to shred with everyone. It’s really hard to push riding when there are no other riders to push your limits. As the pandemic caught me in Australia, I stopped riding freestyle because the waves were too good. Then I pretty much went out of shape for freestyle riding as I stopped doing it for few months. I really wanted to focus on freestyle part in this video, but when you not going to the gym and not performing the tricks over and over again, your body doesn’t feel good for freestyle anymore.
It looks like you’ve been getting into the waves, this is the first bit of that we’ve seen in a full edit from you, how long did that process take? As I said before waves and surfing was too good to miss out this opportunity. I focused on what was given to me, 6 months in Australia with winter swells and no other tasks on my mind. I always wanted to focus on wave riding, but never had an opportunity like this before.
It seems like you’re growing a pretty varied approach to your riding. What does Kiteboarding mean to you? What Impresses you about it? Kiteboarding has always been my biggest passion, with so many opportunities. I definitely had moments when I was tired off it and wanted to quit or simply not do it for some time. These moments usually came after a really long year on the tour, frustration with sponsors or other exhausting periods. Once I realized my discouragement was created by these specific situations, I simply started to rediscover kiteboarding with other disciplines that are giving me personal pleasure and are not driven by the need to perform.
"I simply started to rediscover kiteboarding with other disciplines that are giving me personal pleasure and are not driven by the need to perform."
No matter what is going on you always seem to be having fun almost as if you didn’t take kitting too seriously yet still perform very well. Has it always been like that? Pretty much always :) Kiteboarding gives me so much joy, and space for self-development. I ve been kiteboarding for 16 years and usually consistently looking for more challenges and that adrenaline release. If you keep doing one thing over and over again, you will stop getting excited. This is why kiteboarding is so great, because you can find new ways to get that adrenaline going. Even going riding at 10’C will give you the big release of endorphins and will make you smile for the rest of the day!
What was the hardest trick in this video do you think? Each section in park, freestyle and waves had challenging tricks to perform. In Brazil, trying anything new on the metal single rails was frightening every single time I approached it. In Australia, the big wave days were giving me goosebumps before I even pumped my kite. The freestyle section was also challenging, as in the past I went through a shoulder surgery and I still had psychological blocks to go for air swaps. I couldn’t name the hardest trick, as there are days there is no way you can perform something, and the next day that trick becomes easy pie. For me, this video was about getting over these challenges and pushing my limits to get that adrenalin going and showing what is possible when you work for it.
I saw you did a regular stance tootsie roll and a switch stance crowmobe off wave and park kicker, that’s a pretty hard thing for a lot of riders; approaching switch stance toeside, you don’t seem to be too fussed though? Well, it’s not natural, but once you turn off over analyzing what’s natural or not it becomes easier. Last year I found my first clip hitting a kicker at the cable park in 2010. To my surprise, I was doing bs3 from the opposite side to what I normally do. I must have been so excited, I forgot what’s my natural and my switch stance. Ever since I discover this, I try to approach switch stance tricks without thinking its my ‚switch side’.
Begs the question; are you a rider that feels switch from their stance or the way you pass the bar? Both, my right leg and right arm are not natural at all.
What’s your most comfortable setup (e.g. left foot forward, right to left pass). Left foot, left to right pass.
let's talk about gear a little bit what is your go-to quiver for a trip, now that you're getting into waves is it a big board bag? That’s always a hard one, as I want to bring so many things with me. Depending on the conditions at the location I am going to I will pack differently. Recently I’ve been taking both freestyle 141 Vision board and 4’8” Sci Fly surfboard for waves, they both fit in a regular 145-150cm quiver. Then 6m SST kite for waves/foil and then 10-12m RPM for freestyle.
You've had a pro model board for quite some time, what are your thoughts on it as its something that is very underrated in this industry and a lot of brands dont really care about.
That’s been so amazing to work on a pro model board for 5 seasons! I really enjoyed riding the board I designed. Its a hard one in the kiteboarding industry everything is focused on amateurs and weekenders who apparently don’t want the best gear out there.
What do you think makes a good kiter? Love to the sport and constant progression. If you are driven to get better and do everything in your power to get there you are surely a good kiteboarder. No matter what discipline, and how many years you ve been doing it, just the fact that you are focused, and excited gives you the best qualities to be a good kiteboarder.
What about Kiter of the year, there has been a lot of talk and voting contests. What do you think about that? My most inspiring riders are not on the list, so whatever the public says, I will not agree on this one.
What’s up with the Kangaroo in the video? Can you just go up to them like that? Kangaroos are the cutest animals ever, and their fur is the softest. However, you would not want to encounter a male kangaroo, they are quite dangerous and will definitely harm you. Female kangaroos are smaller and usually will not run away when you approach them. The one in the movie has been coming to this household for 11 years, and knows there is plenty of good food and nobody to harm it.
Are you planning some more videos in the future? Have you got more left to give? Hell yes! But it’s hard to beat your own tricks! I am still working on few freestyle tricks, new park setups and wave riding is always challenging. I want to spend the entire summer in Sardinia, and let's see where this takes my riding in 2021!
Lastly, where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hopefully, sharing my love to kiteboarding with younger generations!
Anyone you want to give some shoutouts to? Le Tranq, for motivating me even without words. He just looks at you and you know you have to go do it better.
Anyway, thanks for answering these questions and congrats on the film!
THX for the screen time on your platform!