Gina has been with team at kiteboarding.com since late 2015. Working as the marketing and social media manager for KB, you've probably seen her posts or clicked on one of her newsletters or banners. After moving to South Texas from Colorado, she has found a real passion for Kiteboarding, if you hear cheering, loud exclamations, contagious laughter, and high-fives at Wildcat, most likely you've just met Gina. She's kind of loud and a bit of a goofball, but is sure to make you smile!
Born: I'm a Capricorn! that's all you get ;) you never ask a girl her age...But I'll let you guess! ;)
Favorite Kite Spot: Wildcat Park, everywhere else I've been has a sandy launch! Yuck!
Favorite Equipment: 2017 Airush Lithium, CrazyFly LTD 132, Dakine C1 harness, and O'Neill Tropical booties to keep my toes safe!
Best Riding Experience: hmmmm, the day I nailed back to back transitions was pretty awesome! But I'm sure more exciting days are ahead, I just started learning to ride strapless!
Worst Riding Experience: I slipped and fell walking my kite down to the water, little did I know my kite was hanging by the lock tube. #foulhookfail When I realized it and tried to correct it, the PU just slipped out of my hand, I hit the release and my kite just glided down into the grass. Everything had gone wrong that day so I packed up and went home before I got hurt.
Likes: Happy people, dark chocolate, trucker hats, high fives, baseball, snow, good food, and passing on an enthusiasm for kiteboarding to others!
Dislikes: SAND, sharp shells, and the little creatures in the water that pinch toes.
Why I kite: Kiteboarding is such an amazing sport which challenges my coordination, there is always something new to learn. I'm hoping one day soon I'll get to kite next to dolphins!
Interests: Kiteboarding, Snowboarding, Baseball, spending time with close friends, and long visits to the Rocky Mountains, I miss home!
Height: 5' - Weight: 128lbs - Waist: 27in - Hip: 31in
Shoe size: women's 6 - Shirt size: Small
Favorite Equipment - Gear Reviews:
Great kite - Very stable and predictable
Tested Sizes: 9m and 12m - I have been on the 9m the most this season
As a newer rider (just a little over a year experience) I love everything about the Lithium, it's super stable and very predictable. Both the 9m and 12m are very easy to relaunch. Heavier bar pressure means I always know where the kite is and what it's doing without having to look. There is no shortage of power and it handles gusts with ease. Turning speed is perfect as well, it's not as fast as the Pivot but a little faster than the Switchblade.
My favorite part about the new Core Cleat bar is the throw. As a short rider, bar throw is very important to me. I can reach the bar and depower line with out having to reach or pull in on the PU to get the bar back if I drop it. The below the bar swivel is an added bonus! The center lines are super easy to untwist with just a few turns of the swivel.
2017 CrazyFly Raptor LTD (Allround bindings also pictured):
Great for popping off waves and lightweight!
Tested Sizes: 132cm is my "everyday" board size - 140cm is fantastic for the light wind days when I don't want to switch to a bigger kite.
I think everyone has heard the praises of the Raptor LTD, this board preforms in all all conditions. Drives upwind, is a smooth ride in chop, and SUPER fun to pop off waves and gently land killing your legs. 4 out of 5 star review simply because I have small feet. The new Hexa bindings come with a wide strap making it difficult for me to keep my small size 6 foot in the foot pad. I love all the adjustments the Hexas offer, but for smaller feet, the Allround bindings are a far better fit. Allround bindings can be added to this board, but do have to be slightly modified to fit the insert spacing of the board in order to take advantage of all 3 stance options.
2016 Dakine C1 Waist Harness: The 2017 C-1 fits the same, Dakine only made changes to the colors.
Size: XSmall with 8" Hammerhead Spreader Bar
All harnesses are not created equal. I've had the opportunity to try on every harness in the Kiteboarding.com inventory and have also been able to test many others on the water. I prefer the fit of the C1 over other women's waist harnesses. The low profile and lumbar support fit my girlish figure, dual strap adjustments allow me to tighten the harness around my narrow waist and the hold down strap prevents the harness from ridding up and smashing my chest :-/. The hardback design provides exceptional support and the adaptive fit technology Dakine uses truly does adapt to your body. It does take a few sessions to break in, but stick with it, the more you ride, the more comfortable it becomes.
I usually only ride in a rashguard, but on the few cold days that I go out the XSmall harness gives me plenty of room for a wetsuit. A 3/2 is all I ever need, but there is more than enough room for a thicker suit.
Size: 5 (these booties are in men's sizes)
I have seriously put the miles on my booties! When I was learning to kite, I was always walking to get back upwind. I've been wearing the same pair for 15 months now and they show very little wear. The split toe took some getting used to, but are a must for kiteboarding since they keep the bootie from rolling over your foot. I've stepped down in oyster beds and many sharp shells and rocks. Each time my feet have been protected. I will not kite without my booties!
A few more of my "MUST" haves:
Ozone Kiteboarding Wet Bag
I LOVE this bag, it's like a big "cinch sack" with so many functions. It holds all my gear (harness, booties, helmet, water shades, neo top, wetsuit, water bottle, towel, I even throw my pump in at times) pull the draw strings and you have everything in one bag. Open the bag up and you can see everything inside, no digging around searching. At the end of a session, throw all your wet sandy gear in and it's all contained. Your interior doesn't get wet and sand filled. When I must go to a sandy launch, at the end of a session, I open the bag and stand in using it as a changing mat. When I get home and need to rise my gear, I just open the bag a little over 3/4 of the way keeping the drawstring tied just enough to keep the circular shape and turn the wet bag into a small pool, fill it up with water, rinse all my gear and hang it up to dry. Best invention ever!
I like both the Dakine and Kiteboarding.com water jerseys. They not only prevent sun exposure with UPF protection but they also help to eliminate bad jellyfish stings.
Protecting your brain is important!
Aqua Azul Water shades
I have sensitive eyes, say no to cataracts!
If you have questions or want to know how something fits, just ask. The best part of my job is helping customers, it's always an added bonus to help more women get into kiteboarding! :)
-----More Gear Notes Below - This is for the ladies!---
I know how difficult it is to find the right fit in kite gear. Being involved in such a male dominated sport, it's hard to find candid responses on how gear really fits a woman. And when you call a kite shop and ask, it's rare to find a girl in the shop. The guys try, but don't exactly have the answers. So... I'm adding in more details here of things I've tried on and tested. My biggest challenges as a female kiteboarder have been harnesses and control bars. Finding a harness that fit and was comfortable was a real task. I tried EVERYTHING in the shop. The next challenge was the control bar, bar throws vary and some are just totally out of reach without making adjustments. I'm sharing my experiences here, and I'll keep adding more. Keep checking back!
If you have more questions or don't see something and you'd like an opinion on it, please give me a call or shoot me an email. If we stock it, I've tried it, I just haven't take the time before now to write about it (I have some catching up to do!)
Flotation and Impact Vests
KB T-Shirt Size: Small
Ladies T-shirts: Medium
NP High Hook is my choice.
The M-L size if my preference (with or without a wetsuit/top), though the XS-S does fit, it's just not as comfortable at the chest. I like the NP High hook because of the quality. This is a vest that offers a CE50 rating for buoyancy. The Buoyant class varies based on vest size. The NP High Hook is made with a heavy duty ripstop material that lasts longer than other options. My favorite color is the neon yellow, I like to be seen on the water in the event of a "kitemere" ;)
The NP like other float vest has webbing straps which give you a huge amount of adjustment. The side entry zipper isn't metal so you don't have to worry about salt water corrosion. It also has a Velcro closure at the top and a clip at the bottom. As well as the very popular webbing strap at the middle of the vest which your spreader bar goes through to prevent the vest from ridding up. This vest is worth the money.
ION Booster X Vest - This vest is great if you don't need a float vest very often. It's available at a much lower price point than the NP High Hook and boosts almost all the same features (adjustable webbing, SE50 buoyant rating, center hold down strap for your spreader bar, side zipper) except the material durability. The ION booster X vest is made with a traditional nylon that is not ripstop. This is truly the only reason I choose the NP High Hook over it. I take good care of my gear and I like it to last. The blue is my favorite color ;) but the neon yellow again is better for visibility. I do like that the Booster X vest has a soft material on the inside of the vest, if you ride in a bikini top, this one is more cush. ION sizes run a bit bigger than brands, the XS is my perfect fit - with our without a wetsuit/neo top.
Dakine Surface (Impact) vest - The Medium size is the best fit for me, however, it is tight in the bust and the least comfortable of the vests I've tried. The large is more comfortable around the bust, but is just too big for a good fit. The vest gives you the most impact protection, but not something I'd want to wear at every kite session. If you're learning new tricks, the durability and protection of this vest is top notch, you not only get protection from impact, but it also offers some float which is nice. But on a comfort scale, it's my least favorite. On the style side of things, the fit is less bulky than the NP high hook and ION Booster vest, and the blue color is my favorite! But the comfort for the lady lumps is lacking. All that said, Dakine has been in the kiteboarding industry since it's inception! They have long been making high quality gear that lasts year after year. The Dakine Surface vest has heavy duty stitching, a durable zipper that wont corrode, and a dual Velcro zipper cover, the quality can't be beat.
Great kite - Very stable and predictable - slower turning than the Airush Lithium (not not slow by any means!)
Tested Sizes: 8m, 10m, 12m, 14m - I have spent more time on the 8m & 10m
The Switchblade is a popular kite year and year. And for good reason! The kite can do it all, it's very stable and forgiving, has great relaunch and power. The Switchblade has a 5 strut design so it is PERFECT if you are riding in gusty conditions. I'm lucky to be a Corpus Christi local where we have steady winds almost year round. But on those few days where we do have more gusty conditions or high winds, I love the switchblade. the switchblade has fantastic "pull and go power/grunt" and surprising power, even at the low end of it's wind range. It's perfect for learning, yet you wont get tired of it and "out grow." For this very reason it's great for new and veteran kiteboarders.
My favorite bar of anything I've tested is by far the Cabrinha Recoil bar, I prefer the overdrive version of the bar so that I can adjust with various kite sizes. I give it 5 stars without hesitation!!! I'm a shorter rider (only 5') and the recoil portion of this control bar is the PERFECT solution to my short reach. I can reach the bar with ease. The strap trim system (depower) took me a little getting used to since I've spent most of my time riding with bars which have a Cleat system, but once you try it once or twice, it's simple to see how much you've trimed the kite. The recoil works as an active stopper you don't have to adjust, if you need to sheet out further, just push the bar against the "spring" away from you. The other super nice thing about this bar is if you are in gusty conditions or drop the bar, the recoil helps prevent a sudden surge. My only dislike with this bar is wrapping up the lines. At the end of a session, winding the lines on the bar with the recoil is a little frustrating since there is "so much going on" with the bar. But again, with some practice, you get into a routine. In my opinion, the benefits of the recoil bar far outweigh the challenge of winding lines.
I have also tried this bar with the new F!reball system. Personally, I loved it! The few centimeters gained from having a hook point closer I found to be a big advantage since I am so short. However, as I'm sure you have read in many other reviews, if you are kiting with other bars which do not use a F!reball system or other kite manufactures which have the traditional chicken loop, changing spreader bars is a pain. Unless you have two harnesses you plan to use, one with the F!reball SB and one with a traditional, it can be a bit impractical. But if you are a short rider like I am, the F!reball system with recoil bar is a combination hard to beat.
The Cabrinha Trimlite Overdrive bar is a much simpler bar option, I was surprised that when I tested it; the throw is a little longer compared to the recoil, I actually struggled to reach the bar to relaunch the kite on the water. I do like the cleat system of the Trimlite better than the strap system used on the recoil and the fact that it's a clean simple bar easy to wind lines around, but the bar throw is what makes prefer the Recoil over the Trimlite.