Kiteboarding: Session with Colleen Carroll and Sensi Graves - Sessions w/Rygo s1 ep7
Last time on Sessions, we were exploring Taiba, a small fishing village in the northeast of Brazil.
We caught up with a couple riders to chat about gear. First we linked up with Lucas Arsenault from Cabrinha to chat about his transition from the Chaos to the FX. We also did a bit of filming with Machu Lopes of Duotone. You can read up on their gear and catch their rider segments in part one.
After spending a week riding and filming at the local lagoon, it was time to head south to the kite mansion in Icapuí. We had plans to catch up with two inspiring female figures, Colleen Carroll from Duotone and Sensi Graves from Liquid Force. I actually first met these two back in Taiba 6 years prior. They were launching their professional kiteboarding careers, while I had recently launched my profession as a freelance video producer.
There were two goals for the second half of the journey. First, to see what the Kite Park League was all about. Second, to session with the ladies and do a segment about their gear picks.
The Kite Park League is a niche but growing aspect of kiteboarding. Imagine a cable park, but for kiteboarders. Wakestyle has been a part of the sport since the beginning, but the last few years it has had less coverage. In that time a small group of dedicated riders have been practicing and doing their own thing, Colleen and Sensi among them.
Red Bull Athlete Christophe Tack is one of the most stylish wakestyle riders
These riders bring elements of wakeboarding into the sport. They keep their kites lower than most freestyle riders and they focus on style and grabs. This has long since been my favorite aspect of kiteboarding to watch. A stylish front to blind with a grab is more relatable than some of the wild powered tricks we see in the PKRA. Not that I don't have respect for those insane athletes; they are next level and the embodiment of sports in general. More so, wakestyle is stylish and something one can practice for many years. It looks good on camera, it’s fun and it brings new creative elements to the sport.
The park here in Icapuí is something special. Alex Maes and Annelous Lammerts, along with some friends, have put in some serious work down here. The energy and passion behind this place is incredible. I'm looking forward to putting in the hours at our local cable park to come back and ride here longer next year.
Colleen Carroll kiteboarding in Brazil
Learn about the riders from our sessions and the gear that they are using. Colleen is one of the top athletes in park style riding and the Marketing Coordinator for Duotone Kiteboarding USA. Her style is stylish, controlled and fun. She's at home practicing freestyle or park style tricks. In fact, she's won the Triple-S four times now and is going for a 5th.
Style: Freestyle / Wakestyle
Home Spot: White Salmon, Washington
Current Gear: Duotone Dice, Duotone Vegas, Duotone Gambler
Colleen is a professional rider for Duotone Kiteboarding. A top competitor in park style riding, she’s won the triple-S 4 times and aiming for a 5th.
Sponsors: Duotone, ION, Sensi Graves Bikinis, Stoked Roasters
What’s your history with Brazil?
I've traveled to Brazil 7 times now, however, this is my first year visiting Icapui, Brazil and riding at the Kite Mansion Kite Park. Brazil is known for its consistent winds and thus has attracted me to come each fall to spend most of the season kiting daily in the flat water lagoons that the region is known for. I absolutely love coming to Brazil as the conditions really couldn't be better and it's a great place to pack a lot of hours kiting into a relatively short amount of time.
How did you get started kiteboarding?
I grew up outside of Seattle, Washington and now live in White Salmon, Washington (part of The Gorge). I've been kiting for about 10 years now, 7 of those professionally for what was North Kiteboarding and now is known as Duotone Kiteboarding. I mostly compete in Park riding and on the Kite Park League world tour. I also enjoy freestyle in addition to park riding and also love a good cruisy or boosting freeride session! My current goals mostly involve getting more kids and women into kiteboarding and also using my platform as a professional athlete to spread awareness about environmental issues.
What are your kiteboarding goals this year?
Goals concerning the Kite Park League and competitive kiteboarding: I would love to win the Triple-S Invitational again. It's my most favorite event of the year and an event where we typically have really amazing conditions to showcase our best riding. Last year, we had very difficult conditions and only finished less than half of the event and I felt that I wasn't able to ride to my potential, so I guess you could say my goal to win it this year would be a redemption for myself. I also want to finish top 3 overall for the 2019 KPL Season; this would be something I would be really proud of as the level on tour is getting incredibly competitive.
Ride the gear
Check out Colleen's gear
The Duotone Dice
The Dice is a crossover freestyle kite with great wave capabilities. It likes to be flown aggressively and caters to intermediate to advanced riders. It's user friendly enough for new kiteboarders but not the optimal choice. This kite is nothing short of explosive and in tune with the rider's feedback. I've written a complete review that you can check out here. Ride this kite if unhooked riding, kiteloops, side and side-off waves conditions are your discipline.
The Duotone Vegas
The Vegas is an amplified version of the Dice. More pop, more slack, more in tune with the rider. It's meant to be flown aggressively and it requires an advanced rider. As far as freestyle performance, this is the pinnacle. All this performance does come at a cost. The Vegas lacks the forgiveness and wind range found in the rest of the lineup. Hence it's the right tool for advanced riders looking to compete. Ride this kite if you dream of three things: pop, slack and kiteloops.
The Duotone Gambler
The Gambler has a heavy rocker profile, a stiff flex, a slider base and a durable construction. The rocker makes it a little slower than the Team Series, but softer on the knees and body. The stiff flex allows for a powerful pop when you load energy into the board. The slider base and durable construction make this the perfect choice for kiteboarders who are rough on their gear or if you like to hit features. Ride this if you want softer landings or want to hit features. The Gambler can be used at the cable park, but like most crossover kiteboards, it may be a little fast on the cable.
Style: Freestyle / Parkstyle
Home Spot: Hood River, Oregon
Current Gear: Liquid Force NV, Echo
Sensi is a professional rider for Liquid Force Kiteboarding, an entrepreneur, and a positive empowering female figure. She works incredibly hard at everything she does and still manages to make time for fun.
Follow her adventures on Social: #Sensi
Sponsors: Ride Engine and Liquid Force Kiteboarding.
What’s your history with Brazil?
Brazil is a well-known stop on any kiteboarder's bucket list and it was no less important in my development as a kiteboarder either. I first visited Brazil in 2011, at which point it was my first dedicated kiteboarding "training" trip. We would get up, eat breakfast, pack some snacks and then head down to the lagoon for a full day of kiteboarding. Kite, break, kite, break, kite, break. Colleen was on that trip as well and we had a blast learning new tricks and just hanging out. I do remember that I was very frustrated at first and that it took me a longggg time to master a raley to blind before I was even able to start thinking about more maneuvers.
How did you get started kiteboarding?
I started kiteboarding in 2007, after my dad took my three brothers and I out to North Carolina to learn. I was in college and had never even heard of the sport, but quickly fell in love. Fast forward two years later and I found myself back in North Carolina, teaching kiteboarding at the school where I had learned. Once there, I lived, breathed, slept and dreamt kiteboarding. After graduating from college, I started traveling to kite and began pursuing a career as a professional kiteboarder. I simultaneously launched my swimwear brand, Sensi Graves Bikinis, because I couldn't find swimwear that looked fantastic, but more importantly, stayed put while I was kiting and being active.
What are you working on now?
Today, my current goals are to make the best possible swimwear for the active woman, combining fierce functionality with fabulous femininity. Additionally, I want to continue to push women's kiteboarding and inspire the next generation of female athletes to join the ranks of the KPL. The level of riding on the KPL has had a dramatic upward tick and I want to continue to push upward and lift my fellow female competitors to a new level. Kiteboarding has given me so much and this community is truly special and I want to share that good energy with as many people, women in particular, as possible.
Ride the gear
Ride Sensi's Gear
The Liquid Force NV
The NV is an all-around kite. It caters to all levels and all styles, meaning no matter where you are in your kiteboarding or what you want to do, the NV will deliver. Of all the all-around kites available, the NV has the lightest bar pressure and is the most responsive to rider feedback. This is thanks to the lightweight three-strut design. Ride this kite if you want to be a jack-of-all-trades in kiteboarding or if you want something light and playful.
The Liquid Force Echo
The Echo has a heavier rocker profile and a stiff flex. It's one of the faster rockered boards out there. Of all the rockered boards from each brand's lineup, it has a unique feel. Expect a smooth consistent pop and controlled landings. It's made to be used with straps or boots but favors freestyle, parkstyle and wakestyle riders riding with power and boots.
Sensi kiteboarding into the sunset
These two never stop. If you want to learn more about these incredible ladies, I've included a couple links.
Aside from being a professional rider, Sensi owns and operates Sensi Bikinis! Her mission is to empower women to get out there and do what they love by giving them a tool that they can rely on and that gives them more self-confidence.
These two also run kiteboarding camps for women. They pursue the mission of progressing women's kiteboarding by providing elite intermediate and advanced coaching on women's retreats around the world
They bring together intermediate to advanced kiteboarding ladies for a week of all-inclusive kiteboarding retreats. They typically incorporate a daily yoga practice as well as healthy eating and offer instruction for taking your kiteboarding to the next level.
Next time on Sessions
I'm making my way to Florida to visit a couple of MACkite's original team riders, Steve Lee and Chris Bobryk. Before I was a content creator, I was a shop rider. If it was windy we would always run into each other on the beach. These two showed me what kiteboarding is all about. It was only natural that we all became great friends. All these years later, we still make time to link up and session during the winter months.
The goal for this trip is, first and foremost, to session with these boys. I'm also testing out the new RPM and filming a Versus video comparing the 2019 RPM to the 2018. We'll also be filming the FX vs. the Chaos video that I promised, as well as a couple more Versus videos. I don't know what the conditions will bring, but there is always something fun to do between wakeboarding, cable, surfing and kiteboarding.
See you next time on Sessions.
Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic
Just a dude from a kite shop testing all the gear one session at a time.
Many people dream of quitting their job, traveling the world and pursuing their passions. Rygo is one of those people who pulled the trigger. About eight years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a freelance videographer & writer. This took him from coast to coast and a variety of countries. Nowadays you can catch him on the phones, doing lessons, or working on videos. Of course, he still makes a point to travel as often as possible. His mission is to help people and share the stoke with his customers and students alike. Get out there and kiteboard.
Producer of: Ride with Blake I Sessions I Versus I Destinations I Foil Fridays