In life, one of the most difficult lessons to learn is letting go, embracing the unknown and trusting that you’re going to be okay. Whether it’s a relationship that we’ve outgrown, a career that’s no longer fulfilling, or a life-changing diagnosis or event that rattles our identities, releasing control does not come naturally to most of us. Letting go feels unpredictable, and that’s scary. But if there is one thing that learning to kitesurf in Barbados has taught me, it’s that letting go is safer than holding on.
Flying a kitesurf kite for the first time is exciting and a little intimidating. When you have that harness strapped tightly around your waist, and the bar firmly gripped in your hands, you certainly feel the power of the wind. As you learn to control the kite with a qualified kitesurf instructor by your side on land or in shallow water, those unpredictable moments will happen. A slight maneuver to the left or right or a gust of wind might catch you off guard, and suddenly, you’re in a state of panic. In that moment, your natural instinct will be to regain control by pulling down on the bar (even with echoes of ‘LET GO OF THE BAR!’ from your nearby instructor). That’s when shit hits the fan— you’ll be launched across the beach or into shallow waters, bracing for impact. Without going into the technical details, pulling down on the bar gives the kite more power.
After some scrapes, bruises, and few earfuls of sand, I finally caught on. In a moment of panic, pushing out the bar (known as ‘sheet out’), which means keeping your grip but pushing it as far away from you as possible, actually helps you depower the kite, and regain control. Completely letting go of the bar itself, as in taking your hands off the bar, will allow the kite to fall out of the air, and crash onto water or sand with significantly less chances of hurting yourself, or ego.
When you are learning to kitesurf in Barbados or anywhere else in the world, or even when faced with difficult life moments, just always try to remember— when you let go, you’ll be ok.
Quick Tip – To speed up the process of being comfortable with letting go of the bar, one of my instructors actually had me repeatedly practice letting go of the bar, and allowing the kite to fall. It was a good way to train my brain that letting go would not hurt me, but keep me safe.