Conversations with Susi
During the down-time today, we took a moment to talk to one of our female athletes on tour, Susi Schwarztrauber. This week, as we have been patiently waiting for the wind, we noticed Susi always glued to her laptop, working away in a corner. It turns out that the life of this female athlete is much more than just riding and competing, and she is a super entrepreneur on the side.
“I’m actually a pharmacist, and somehow I ended up competing on the GKA Kite World Tour at the sametime,” explained Susi. “Back in 2019, I just decided to try one of the competitions. I wanted to see how I could face up alongside some of the best in the world. I ended up in Punta Preta in 5 metre waves for my first competition. It was super tough, but I just really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I just got hooked, and now it’s 2021 and here I am. The downside, of course, is that you have to fund yourself, and as a pharmacist it was so hard to find a job that allowed me the flexibility I needed to continue travelling,but I didn’t want money to keep me from my biggest passion, which was wanting to compete.”
It’s often difficult for athletes to find the funding and support that they need to be able to compete full time, and for Susi, it was about finding a balance between her work life, and her passion for kiteboarding.
“I’m really lucky to have Core who really support and help me. Finding sponsors and support takes a lot of effort and work. I put a massive effort into being here where I am.”
Susi was very fortunate to eventually land a perfect remote job, developing food supplements, which allowed her to continue travelling whilst working in her chosen industry. During events, you will see her focused and concentrated on her work until the wind kicks in, which is when she switches from work-mode to competition-mode.
Susi manages to do even more than a full time job whilst competing on the World Tour, she is also an entrepreneur, and is currently creating her own line of cosmetics for active women.
“We are badass women. We like to play in the dust, yet we are still feminine. We are not perfect,that’s not our reality. When it comes to cosmetics, there is something really missing for women who are exposed to outdoor conditions, and that is what I have been working on,” she explains. “As I’m a pharmacist and a water sports lover, I really wanted to tackle the needs of women similar to myself. I have vitiligo, which is a pigmentation disorder. That’s why sun protection has always been so important to me. It’s taken us one and a half years to develop so far. We’ve tested it a lot, the texture, the perfume, everything. At this point now we are working on the branding and packaging, and being environmentally conscious is very important to us. We hope to be able to launch next spring.”
How does a competitive athlete with a full-time job find the time to do all of this? “It can be crazy. I was at the last event in Sylt, and I was in my wetsuit taking a work call right before my heat. It takes a lot of dedication. For now, I still have the energy for it, and I’m motivated,” she says. “I really believe that women need to support other women, and not always see each other as competition. If we don’t support each other then who will? Here on tour, I’m just surrounded by badass women. I’m so proud to be here with them. You have to realise that the girl next to you is not your opponent. So now I’m proud to be developing a brand that is by women, for women, and this is really important to me.”