I’ve always loved the ocean and the beach, but after a particular near-drowning experience, I developed a fear of the water,and did not go in, unless it was still and there weren’t any waves. Last year I decided to challenge my fear in the hopes of overcoming it, by learning to kiteboard for a cause that is very close to my heart- supporting victims of domestic violence, the majority of whom are children.
It was a life-changing, empowering experience for me, and I want to share it with you, because I had no idea I could be so happy standing in a shallow bay in a wetsuit controlling a huge powerful kite. The event- Dream Extreme- is an annual weekend empowerment extravaganza- it’s a charity fundraiser, beachside bash, dinner dance party, and kiteboarding clinic in the Hamptons, NY. Check out the fun slideshow below!
Learning to kiteboard in a calm bay with shallow water was not scary at all. The women’s kiteboarding clinic was led by 9 time world champion Kristin Boese, the Founder of KB4Girls, a non-profit that organizes kiteboarding clinics for females, to get more girls and women into the male-dominated extreme sport. I can tell you it worked for me. I now dream of improving my beginner kiteboarding skills on exotic beaches with clear calm waters… but I haven’t had a beach vacation in a couple of years 🙁
I convinced my friend Kelli to do the clinic as my partner, and we had such a blast, dorking around in the sunshine wearing wetsuits, diaper harnesses, and booties. Her fear of the water also dissipated, as soon as she saw how calm and shallow the bay was, and that we were having hands on private instruction. It helped that we had an incredible pro instructor, Juan Carlos Morales, who voluntarily flew from his kiteboarding school in Puerto Rico, to donate his teaching expertise. He was super calm and patient, when we were practicing flying the kite on the beach, bodydragging in the water, and finally- attempting our first water starts. He never let us feel out of control.
It was absolutely exhilarating, the mental focus, and intensity of being present, learning the technique, and being so conscious of the elements… My friend Linda Argila founded Dream Extreme four years ago to empower women to overcome challenges in their lives through learning the sport of kiteboarding, and raise money for a great cause. I am so proud of her work.
This year, not only am I involved in organizing the event again, LivLuna is one of the sponsors! The critical funds raised are for STEPS Against Family Violence, a program by Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families. Every day NYC shelters provide emergency housing for 1,000 people escaping domestic violence. More than 60% are children. STEPS offers a wide range of services from educational and therapeutic groups; individual counseling for children, teens and adults; as well as advocacy and legal representation.
Dream Extreme is a unique event, and this year it’s going to be bigger and better than ever, with pros flying in from all over the world, a men’s clinic, and an incredible dinner party with a luxury silent auction that I’ve been working hard on organizing, and a fun beach bash. The 4th Annual Dream Extreme is taking place on September 21st. To learn more about the event, donate to the cause, or participate, go to challengetotriumph.com