Reposted with permission from Dominique Granger of FLUXwater.com
What you will read about in this article is the unusual path for a water woman…In contrast to most other kiteboarders you will meet or read about, I didn’t grow up on the beach I haven’t had a board under my feet since a young age, and I have not been a fan of extreme sports all my life… In fact, I was pretty much… a big chicken.
For as long as I can remember, I have been scared of a lot of things and mostly, I have been afraid of water. As a kid, I would not even take a shower: having water in my eyes was one of the worst things that could happen to me then. But growing up around Montreal, I never had to face my fear. With years, it became a little better but I would still avoid being in deep water for more than a few seconds. During my few trips to the beach, I would barely play in the small shore break before getting a panic attack and getting out of the water. Up to about four or five years ago, I had no reason to get over that fear, until I discovered kiteboarding.
Since then, things have changed a lot for me: the learning was slowed down by my fears until the day I decided to take 3 day camp at REAL Watersports. I guess being taught by someone I didn’t know made me suck it up a bit more, and eventually get over the fear. Since the first ride on the board, kiteboarding has become the goal to reach, the guiding light that makes me work harder to get over my fear of water. Can we call this Kite Therapy?
Today, I can say that it has been a great success, even though the fears come back sometimes. But I know I am on the right path, because the panic happens less and less often. Seeing what my fellow Flux Athletes do in kayaks make me queezy… I know that one day, I’m going to ask them to bring me for a ride, but that will take a lot from me! The best thing is that now I can pretty much control my fears, and control myself more every time. Panicking never helped anyone in the water, and it never will. Now when I surf and get tossed after getting a set wave on the head, fall off my board way off shore in the ocean, I just have to laugh and most importantly, not to think, and it works!
I decided to write about this because I think a lot of people can relate to my story, and because a lot of people have told me: “What are you afraid of? It’s just water!” In my head, I know. But reasoning is not always strong enough to overcome a thought that has spread its roots in your brain all your life. Fear is not always easy to control, and still to this day I sometimes have to go a few steps back when I get in a new environment to kite or surf. Sometimes I have to go back to the beach to calm down, and force myself to go back and I end up having fun!
As a coach, I met a bunch of people who were scared and didn’t think it was normal. And I have to say that I love the look on my student’s faces when I say: “ I truly have been where you are, you know, but I work on it as much as I can so I am able to enjoy and appreciate one of the best sports in the world!” They then accept their fear and they can move on.
So next time you have a fear of something, you can tell yourself it is okay to be afraid, and the best is to go forward and meet your fear: most of the time, you will win. Don’t think about it, just try it. You will see that most times, it’s not nearly as bad as it looks! And if you don’t succeed this time, well… try again.
See you on the water ~ Dom
Dominique Granger is the Online Editor in Chief and Media Translator at Stance Kiteboarding Magazine. Dominique is also a member of FLUX, whose mission is to showcase the determination and drive of women in a wide range of sports: Kayaking, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Paragliding, Surfing, Skiing, Snowboarding and Climbing.