After the last GKA Kite-Surf World Cup event in Dakhla, Morocco we caught up with our new 2021 Kite-Surf World Champions Peri Roberts and James Carew to find out how they feel after claiming their first World Championship titles and what it took to get there.
Congratulations Peri on winning your first World Title. Can you tell us what it took to finally get here?
Peri: It took a lot of guts. God, I worked 3 jobs. I moved from Australia to Maui just to have wind during the season and then when I got to Maui I was supporting myself working 3 jobs. 17 hour days just to make ends meet, to get to Europe and then I came back to Maui to train. I didn’t have enough time work before this competition so I had to sell my car in Australia to fund myself to get here to Dakhla, so I’m proud of myself because it took a lot of hard work just to get here. That’s what makes it even more special – that I did on my own and I’ve got support from my family and my friends but knowing that I I did this by myself is a pretty cool feeling. So yeah, I know what I’m worth, I know my value within myself and that’s all that matters.
What advice can you give to other women who look up to you as a top athlete and World Champion? To all the women who want to start competing, but they’re not sure how or where to start.
Peri: I think if you have the desire to do it then you’ll find a way. I had to move away from my family, I didn’t have a sponsor when I joined the World Tour in 2019 and but I had a passion for kitesurfing and that’s what led me each step of the way. So to all the girls: know that it’s not about the money. It’s a lifestyle thing. I think everyone in kitesurfing can say that it’s a lifestyle, but it takes you to amazing places and you know that if you put in the hard work then things should look up and don’t ever give up because you know it’s an amazing ride when you’re out there.
Has this experience opened many doors and new opportunities for you?
Peri: I grew up in a family where I was told that value is within experiences not in materialistic things, so when I finished school I wanted to travel and then the World Tour actually came to Australia and presented itself as an opportunity for me to get on the Tour. I was ranked well in Australia and I did well in the local competitions. At that point I did it for the love as I was still in school, but my family and friends encouraged me to follow my dreams and supported me to make it happen. I joined the Tour and that was kind of just a bite for me to go and travel the world. I started and I didn’t want to stop because although you know money is always kind of an issue I it’s been the most amazing experience and it taught me a lot about myself and how hard I can work, the people that I’ve met along the way. It’s just amazing that I have friends forever now through the tour so I’m super grateful for that.
What are your goals now?
Peri: My goal: have a beer after this and revel in the moment of being a freakin World Champion! Ring my family, my boyfriend, tell them I love them, just enjoy the moment. I’ve been hoping and dreaming of this moment for so long I just wanna savour it . Just remember everything that today’s brought and then after that who knows. Just follow kitesurfing as my passion and wherever that leads me then that’s the road I take.
Peri: After here I’m going back to Maui for the winter. Unfortunately, I cannot get into Australia because I don’t have an Australian passport right now so I’m going to spend the winter in Maui as I’m doing a few clinics and camps there. I’m just going to enjoy the waves and the wind that Maui has to offer as it will be the best time of the year. Then eventually I want to go back to Australia next year and then continue competing on the World Tour.
What did it take for you to become a World Champion?
James: It took a few years really. I think the biggest part of it is my mindset. I really accepted what I wanted to do and and put all of the fear away. I really started to believe in myself and and I saw the vision. I wanted to win, I wanted to be champion the world. It just changed my whole mindset and really focused down and cut out everything that was distracting me. I became just fully focused on this one goal.
Looking at you it would be hard to say that you have any fears at all. Do you have any?
James: Yeah I have. Everybody has fears but maybe I have different fears from other people. I have little voices in my head telling me what I can’t do. But this time I told them to shut the **** up. It’s my life and I’m gonna take control of it.
Where do you find this inner motivation?
James: It’s a mix of everything. I’ve had my sponsors around and that pushed me a lot, my family, my dad, my girlfriend, everybody that was around me pushed me.
Now that you’re the World Champion, what is your next goal?
James: I don’t really know but I guess now I will take a little rest and will really appreciate what’s happening. Maybe I’ll go to Cape Town and have some trips planned but all I want is to push my level even higher. I wasn’t very happy with my riding here in Dakhla, so that’s something I want to work on first. I want to push myself to the next level where I want to be.
What advice can you give to the younger generation who want to join the World Tour but are not sure how to go about it?
James: Just come and try. I wasn’t sure at the beginning if I was ready and I had the level to compete with all of these incredible riders. If you really want it, you will have to work hard and there will be a lot of hard times but it’s also very rewarding to win. In reality, it doesn’t really matter if you’re ready or not because until you are here you won’t know what your level really is. The Tour will shape you as a rider, your personality and it will help you to develop yourself. Other riders will really push you to train more and become better.
Do you have any preferences in discipline?
James: I want to push the big air side of the sport now but I am originally a wave rider. To be honest I like both disciplines.
Do you have a training strategy?
James: I don’t really have a training strategy to be honest. I’ve always adapted depending on the conditions – if it’s strong wind I go strapless big air, if it’s big waves I go wave riding. I like rough conditions as then I can really push my limits and improve my riding.