Meet Brendon Held: he lives and breathes kitesurfing, publishes an online kitesurfing magazine and The inMotion Kitesurfing Daily, and is on a mission to make kitesurfing more accessible to everyone.
Brendon uses Paper.li to help fulfill the goal of promoting shops, kiteboarding websites and building awareness in the industry. It provides an up-to-date and unbiased industry news from around the world on a daily basis, and helps to build relationships within the industry.
Update: January 2012
Last year when we interviewed Brendon he was in the midst of promoting the Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer 2011 campaign. The campaign which spanned multiple social media platforms came to a end in November last year, and was a huge success! Over 4 000 people voted for the top 10 finalists, which exceeded InMotion’s expectations by far. In the end, it was Kari Schibevaag who took first place with a staggering 1019 votes. (Competition results)
The competition created an enormous amount of buzz, and Brendon and his team achieved their goal of creating awareness for girls in kitesurfing. They have already heard that some of the girls have been getting a lot of attention from the media (TV, Newspapers and Magazines), and a few of them have even received nice sponsorships.
We’re looking forward to seeing what exciting projects Brendon and inMotion Kitesurfing have planned for 2012!
Q. Tell us why you started inMotion Kitesurfing and what drives you
I originally created inMotion Kitesurfing to give back to the kitesurfing industry and to make our sport more accessible, especially to youngsters, the disadvantaged and girls. We have since evolved beyond just those goals, and are finding many other creative ways to make a difference.
We’re based in South Africa’s Surf City, Durban, and felt at the time, that South Africa lacked an unbiased publishing platform for kitesurfing. We wanted to build a high-quality, content-driven website to give stakeholders like shops, schools, brands, kitesurfers and people wanting to learn, a voice in the industry.
The site launched in March 2011, with Dean Bottcher, one of the pioneers of kitesurfing in South Africa and a great freelance writer coming onboard shortly thereafter.
I am very much lifestyle driven and believe success is not just having a prestigious job or earning lots of money, but being able to live your dream lifestyle, whatever that may be; being completely happy and living life to the fullest…
Q. What are you guys working on right now?
We’re going about the daily business of publishing quality articles about kitesurfing safety, instruction, great kiting spots, gear reviews and news on our website. We also participate in social media, sharing and promoting content from other websites… and of course, editing our paper.li!
We’re also really excited about our projects and initiatives to develop the sport. One that’s close to our hearts is making kitesurfing more accessible to girls. Which is why we recently launched a global campaign to promote girls in kitesurfing called the Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer.
It’s not that girls need the help, but more to break the stereotype that ‘girls can’t’. Until that mind-set is wiped out – unfortunately, in some cultures it probably won’t be – we’ll continue to fight the good fight. Women are more than capable of achieving their dream in all sports and all walks of life – and no-one should hamper that.
Kitesurfing comes with a whole lot of biased preconceptions. One is that it’s a very physical sport. Yes, it can be if you want it to be. But once you understand the concept and the technique, and have taken instruction from a reputable kite school, then it’s an easy sport for everyone from young children to grand oldies. It caters for all of us.
Q. So what are the top 3 reasons we should all try kitesurfing?
- While lessons with a qualified instructor are absolutely necessary, in most cases you can learn to kitesurf relatively quickly, especially when compared to surfing for example.
- Kitesurfing is a dynamic sport, especially if you are kiting in the ocean. The wind and waves are always different, so you never get bored, and you are always challenged by what Mother Nature throws at you.
- Compared to some sports like windsurfing, the gear is compact and can be carried in the boot of a vehicle, on a bicycle or simply by hand down to your local beach. This makes the sport accessible to more people: youth without cars, travellers and those looking for minimal fuss.
Q. How is paper.li helping you spread the word?
The inMotion Kitesurfing Daily is working very well for us in a number of ways. Most importantly, it’s the perfect means to fulfil our goal of helping the kitesurfing industry by promoting shops and other kiteboarding websites. It’s also a great source of links to the articles on our own website.
Having the paper allows us to publish up-to-date and unbiased industry news from around the world on a daily basis, which would have been impossible to do on our own website with our current resources.
We also find having all the news in one place is hugely valuable. It helps us identify content we can link to or promote on our website, or through our social media channels. Our paper.li often gets retweeted, which is great confirmation that we’re adding value to the conversation.
Perhaps the most valuable spin-off though is the strong relationships we’ve built up with many other kitesurfing websites through continuously promoting their content. This has helped drive the rapid growth of our own website.
Again, helping us, help the industry…
Image courtesy of Brendon Held (right) and Dean Bottcher (left), Durban, South Africa.