Jessica Winkler Owner of Kite Nicaragua
by Jessica Winkler
Jessica Winkler Owner of Kite Nicaragua
Thinking nothing of it we live most of our lives immersed in the routine day to day activities. Going to the office, stopping at Starbucks along the way, repeating conversations, running circles like a hamster on it’s wheel, working for “the man.” In today’s world, nothing shocks us. Whether it’s seeing a big wave surfer paddling into a 25 foot wave, watching Tiger Woods sink another putt or brushing shoulders with a celeb in the airport isn’t shocking but when it happens, and we are there to witness it, we can’t keep quiet about it!
The crowds gathered at San Jorge beach curiously on-looking as local pro-surfer-big wave rider Oliver Solis took his first Kitesurfing lesson with certified kitesurfing instructor Jessica Winkler. Before entering the water, he confidently told her that he would be able to jump and catch some air by the end of the lesson. She warned him that there is a significant learning curve as it’s a totally different sport than surfing. Well into the second day, he was unable to get up and ride more than a couple of feet. Before the end of the lesson a large crowd gathered and as Jessica demonstrated, breaking the lip and catching some air, making it look easy as most pros do, the crowd shouted …”Como, WOW mira esa chica!” (WOW, look at that girl). Oliver, feeling defeated, unfortunately never finished the lesson.
Jessica Winkler Owner of Kite Nicaragua: “I’m not personally looking to teach beginner lessons,” says Jessica
“but he was keen to learn and we both believed he would excel based on his surfing experience. I’m working toward taking experienced riders around Nicaragua to show them the best kiting spots that I have personally scouted out. My goal is to be a consultant for other entrepreneurial kite surfers interested in setting up their own business. Ideally I’d like to partner with someone that is keen and capable of teaching beginner lessons and I would take the experienced riders on safari.”
Jessica is not living a routine lifestyle that most of us are accustomed to, she’s not your Monday to Friday nine to fiver. She’s not sitting in a cubical drinking her Starbucks. She’s out scouting undiscovered kiting terrain, testing the conditions and loving her work despite all the challenges that come with this extreme sport. Jessica has over 500 hours on the water which is equivalent to 6-7 years experience. She is a certified instructor and she is considered an expert rider due to the difficulty of the conditions she rode her 500 hours in. She was part of a successful team that introduced this sport in Brazil and is the first to bring it to Nicaragua. She chose Nicaragua due to the ideal wind conditions with 300 + days of off shore winds, dessert sandy beaches and warm water temperatures.
Recent challenges include dealing with the male ego, scouting out and testing new riding spots on her own and actively looking for sponsorship.
Although Kitesurfing is the fastest growing sport in the world it is still in an infancy stage with so much potential to grow and evolve like surfing, wake boarding and windsurfing. “Looking for sponsorship is challenging,” says Jessica “the sport is still so new that most people don’t even know what the sport is. I recently got my first sponsor which was really difficult because there is not even a section on sponsor applications specifically for kitesurfing. I had to register the sport under wake surfing.” Jessica is currently swimming against the current. This extreme sport not only requires some guts to get out there and kite, but she’s also faced with the challenges any new sport requires to bring it mainstream. “Oliver’s ego was bruised when he couldn’t ride at the same level as me. The applause from the crowd didn’t help much as he’s usually the star of the show. One of my biggest challenges is finding guys that want to ride with me, and that won’t be offended if they can’t keep up.”
Sponsors: GoPro, FUEL, Jet Pilot, O'Neill eyewear, You Scared? and Heart & Huntington
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