This month's spotlight shines brightly on: Julia Brown
Date in the Spotlight:
June 2011

I started kiteboarding in 2007 and opened the first kitesurf school in Jamaica last year.

I am originally from Hameln, Germany, but I am lucky to call Jamaica my home since 2002. Being on the beach every day teaching and riding is living my dream.

For the future I'd like to help develop the sport in Jamaica, share my passion and keep doing what I love!

ikitebecause: Hi Julia! Congratulations on winning the June IKB Star of the Month. Tell us a little about how you got into kiting.

Julia: I had been living in Jamaica since 2002 but never heard of kitesurfing here before. I had just started an Event and Destination Management Company in 2007 and I was doing a site inspection at a hotel in Trelawny and I saw this guy kiting on the water. From a distance it was the most intriguing sight, and I went down to the beach for a closer look and was fascinated by what I saw. I remember asking people on the beach what the guy was doing and they all told me that he was some crazy guy. But, to me this was one of the most fascinating things I'd ever seen with someone mastering two elements and he made it look so easy.

I walked down to where some other riders were rigging their kites and began asking them a hundred questions and eventually they agreed to give me a lesson. A few days later I was in the water taking a beating from a 9m C-kite but that didn't deter me at all. They turned out to be very good teachers and they actually work for me now as instructors at Kiteboarding Jamaica. Six months later I went to Bonaire and did my IKO Instructor course, the rest is as they say history and I've been kiting ever since.

ikitebecause: You opened a shop in Jamaica. What is kiting like there? What are some of your other favorite spots around the world?

Julia: Jamaica is an incredible country, there's a bold vibrancy to living here that you can't find anywhere else in the world and with the combination of the people, the culture and the stunning natural beauty I knew that I wanted to live here. Bounty Bay is where I had my first kiting experience and is actually where I have set up the shop. I wanted to really develop the sport in Jamaica and with the support of the local kiting community and encouragement from the Jamaica Tourist Board I started the school in April 2010.

At first it was a bit hectic running two companies, in our first winter season we had five instructors and were booked solid every day. Since then I have chosen to focus a little more on the school and haven't looked back.

Our spot is just perfect, located in Falmouth on the North Coast of Jamaica approximately 25 minutes from Montego Bay. Bounty Bay is a 3-mile stretch of pristine beach with shallow glassy water, white sandy bottom and a side on shore wind. We get some good waves out at the reef too and I just got my first surfboard to get more into wave riding. I have only been to Tarifa, Bonaire and some spots in Germany to kite so far but I hope I will get the chance to see more places soon.

ikitebecause: You mention you would like to see the sport develop in Jamaica. What are your hopes for the sport? How would you like to see it develop?

Julia: As I mentioned before kiting was literally unheard of in Jamaica - as a destination for kiting it was completely 'off the radar'. I'd like to see Jamaica take off as a major kiting destination, the wind is perfect, strong trade winds from end of November through June/July, plus we can kite at least 3/4 days per week during the rest of the year. The tourism infrastructure is one of the best in the region in terms of range of accommodation and air connections from Canada, the US and Europe.

I'd also like to see Jamaican kiters emerge on the world competition scene. We already have great talents here on the water. Jamaica has a tremendous legacy of sport excellence from track & field to cricket and soccer and I have no doubt that we could perform at the highest level in international competitions. We would also like to host a few international kite boarding competitions here. So far we are on our way to achieving these goals, besides teaching mostly visitors we also have trained over 60 locals and recently started a program to train new instructors.

ikitebecause: You’ve made it into our homepage images, now you’re Star of the Month! What are your proudest achievements?

Julia: I feel honoured to be in your homepage, I'm also very excited to share the pictures of this incredible place. As we say 'Once you go, you know'...I've been described as a pioneer of the sport here and I'm flattered but in truth all I'm doing is keep believing in and living my dreams. I feel that it is a true blessing.

My greatest blessing and what makes me really proud is my 7 year old son Maximus, he has just started kiting and I am sure he will be joining IKB soon.

ikitebecause: We love your “day at the office” pics, it looks like you’ve a strong interest in photography. What are you top passions?

Julia: Thanks, I am just trying to catch the positive vibes on our beach and show the relaxing beauty of our spot. My passions are kiting, teaching and being with our guests and friends on the beach. I also do Motocross once in a while when there is no wind. In general I am in for anything fast and adventurous!

ikitebecause: Finally, what do you think of IKB, now that you are in the Hall of Fame?

Julia: I love IKB, I'm always logging on to see all of the new pictures of different places and see some new tricks which I will hopefully pull off one day. It really connects to the Kiting World. I'm truly flattered to be in the 'Hall of Fame' and I look forward to sharing more pictures and experiences!! ONE LOVE!

ikitebecause: Thanks Julia! Remember you can take a look at all of her pictures at her profile.