Interview with Crystal Veness – entrepreneur, semi-pro kiteboarder and adventure junkie

Crystal-Vaness-Marketing-designer

Meet Crystal Veness – the face of MacKite Boardsports

Crystal Veness has the lifestyle we all desire. She has combined her passion for travelling and kiteboarding with running a business. Crystal is a freelance marketing expert and graphic designer, she operates remotely from anywhere there is WIFI, even at the beach! Allowing her plenty of time to visit new kiteboarding spots and destinations. In just three years, Crystal has taken her kiteboarding from beginner to advanced, performing raley’s and unhooked tricks.

We recently caught up with Crystal at the 2018 kite Clash, where her video production and social media skills were on top form capturing all of the action. Crystal told us a little more about herself and how she got into kiteboarding.

How did you get into kiteboarding?

Being from Alberta, I’d never seen kiteboarding and didn’t even know it was a real thing until recently! I was down in the British Virgin Islands for a conference and saw this crazy sport. Best of all, the most interesting people I’d ever met were the ones on the water! I knew immediately that kiting would be a big part of my future.

How Many Years Have You Been Kiteboarding?

I’ve been kiting for just over 3 years now. I finished my beginner lessons in the Philippines… not a bad place to struggle through the learning process!

Favourite Spot To Kiteboard?

Other than Squamish (because nowhere else I’ve ever been has the epic scenery that we do here!), Cape Town, South Africa has won my heart. It’s definitely a bit stressful. You definitely feel like you might die every day you start setting up your gear while getting sandblasted on the beach in 30 knots, but every time you come off the water it feels like you’re winning at life!

Favourite Kite Gear Set Up?

I’ve been riding North Dice for a couple years, and love this kite. Anytime I get a prime 9 meter day, I’m stoked! Right now I’m on the Jaime Textreme board as well, which I think is a sweet board for traveling (super lightweight carbon) and so forgiving for most styles of riding.

Favourite Kiteboard Trick?

Trick that I can land or can’t land?? Haha, I love a good backroll to revert because it feels so natural… but I think backmobes look so sick and that’s kind of my dream trick to land.

Which Kiteboard Trick Are You Currently Learning?

I’m on a bit of an injury hold this year – six more months of no unhooked or heavy landings, so right now I’m working on adding stylish grabs to sent backrolls and frontrolls. I think a well-executed grab even on a simple trick really brings it to the next level!

What Was The Hardest Kiteboard Trick To Learn?

Raley’s were the hardest to learn just because I ended up on my face so many times, and that definitely hurt! I also got a lot of flak from my local friends where I was training in the Dominican Republic about kite position. They wanted to see that kite looow for a landing, so I took a beating making sure that my raley’s were respectable.

Who Is Your Kiteboarding Hero?

Ruben Lenten was the kiteboarder that completely inspired me to get into kiteboarding. I remember watching a bunch of his videos back when I discovered kiteboarding and wishing I could be that cool. I’ll never be King of the Air megaloop cool, but his achievements in the sport definitely got me stoked to ride hard.

Most Rewarding Part Of Kiteboarding?

Being on the water with friends is what makes kiteboarding epic – whether it was a good session or a not so good session! The best thing is when you’re all trying to learn and progress and you can share in each other’s wins and wipeouts. Coming off the water sore but smiling with your crew is an amazing feeling.

What Is Your Greatest Achievement?

In kiteboarding, simply learning the sport was probably my greatest achievement! I came from a zero boardsports background, and it must have taken me about 25 hours of learning to be able to water start successfully. It was such an uphill battle and so frustrating not being able to pick it up, but I hung in there and now I’m hooked! Unhooked too, sometimes… 😉

Outside of kiteboarding, being able to build my marketing and design career around traveling full time has been both the hardest work and greatest reward of anything I’ve done. It’s always a challenge to lock myself away from the wind and sunshine to work on a project, but being able to travel as much as I do makes any amount of work worth it!

What Would You Say To Encourage More Girls To Take Up Kiteboarding?

I’ve never felt more powerful in my life than being able to harness the wind and go kite. It’s an amazing sport for both building confidence, getting outside more, and meeting incredible people. For a sport that seems so intimidating, it’s surprisingly not that scary as long as you’re learning with the right crew. Plus, the community vibe that you experience in most kite spots makes it really easy to travel solo and make new friends on the spot!

Would You Recommend Taking Lessons?

10,000%! Self-teaching opens both yourself and everyone around you up to a lot of risks that can either put you off kiteboarding or have a negative impact on the entire kiteboarding community. Lessons are absolutely essential.

What Is It About Squamish That Keeps You Coming Back?

I’ll never get tired of the scenery in Squamish. It blows me away every time I’m standing out on the Spit! The awesome steady wind and super nice people don’t hurt either!

Are You Into Any Other Sports, That Help With Kiteboarding?

I am in love with snowboarding, and what I learned in kiteboarding actually helped me learn how to snowboard well. Riding at the cable park and surfing are both sports that I love (but am pretty awful at) that help with kiteboarding and vice versa.

What’s Next For You?

I’m still on the move! After North America this summer, I’ll be working on a project with Surfin Sem Fim in Brazil, and then off to Mauritius for a little kite holiday before I head back to Cape Town for their summer season. And of course, I’ll be back in Squamish next summer for more perfect mountain sessions!

With Crystal’s magnetic personality, kiteboarding skills and business acumen, we will likely see her take the industry by storm. We look forward to seeing Crystal back in Squamish next year. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about Crystal or follow her, visit her website – crystalveness.com

KITEBOARD LESSONS

If you are interested in kiteboarding lessons we offer tailored lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced where you can learn some of the tricks Crystal mentioned.

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