- 20 May 2009 | Kiteboarding
F-One USA is stoked to announce the addition of Paula Sonnenberg to its national team of riders of riders.
Paula has been a fixture in the US kiteboarding scene since she started kiting in 1999. She is a very talented rider, a wave junkie and a great competitor.
Recently, she finished first in the long distance race and first on the course race out of 14 racers (4 women) at the Kitricity Kitebash in Melbourne, Florida.
Paula is extremely professional and will help F-One develop its network of dealers and riders on the East Coast, specifically in Florida and in the Hatteras area.
Paula’s gear of choice is a 4-kite quiver of F-One Bandidos and a 5’6” F-One Custom Bamboo directional surfboard.
More info about Paula:
Where do you live: Sebastian, Florida.
Occupation: Currently a wind and wave junkie, but I try to maintain my 24-year career as a Captain of private yachts.
How long have you been kite boarding: Learned in Alameda, California in 1999 shortly after recovering from knee surgery from a wakeboarding incident My first set-up was a 2-line kite and a Sky Pirate directional. There were not a lot of people kiting back then. Let alone girls.
What made you want to learn how to kite: After windsurfing for 20 years, I was bored of the sport and wanted to try something new. I started snowboarding and wakeboarding but then I saw kiteboarding and I knew it was a perfect sport for me. The compact size of the equipment was the biggest lure. Working and traveling on boats with windsurfing gear was really becoming a drag.
Favorite Spots: Ripping the lip of a big wave, I like to travel around to wherever the wind is. Mostly I am in La Ventana, Mexico for the winter and the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the summer.
Future spots to visit: I am really looking forward to seeing the Madeleine Islands off Prince Edwards Island in Canada maybe this summer. And hopefully someday I’ll go to Perth in Australia and then Indonesia.
Worst Kitemare: A summer in Europe in the early years (2000 or 2001), I was trying to launch alone on a beach in Nice, France. I saw windsurfers so I figured it was a good spot. I was still new and sporting a wrist leash (the current safety system). After self launching on a stony beach, I quickly realized that my kite was too big for the wind and there was a twist in the lines which was compromised by the wrist leash. I decided to go out on the water and get away from the highway and from the on-looking people on the beach before I tried to take care of the twist but the kite had other ideas. As I reached down to pick up my board the kite took a nose dive straight down. I got my feet in front of me and dragged through the stones to base of a cheese grated staircase leading up to the road. I arrived stunned, still standing upright with the kite crashed somewhere on the highway which I couldn’t see from my vantage point. I could hear the cars honking and screeching. Still alive I thought I was spared the worst including the steps but then I was yanked forward again and went for a ride up the dreaded stairs in one quick burst before I could unhook. Thinking the kite was wrapped around a car and pulling me, all I could do was go for the ride. I went up the stairs face down with my fingers and palms on top of the bar to avoid the grated surface and then suddenly stopped when I reached the last step and was looking up the tailpipe of a parked car. At this point I jumped up and disconnected quickly. Back then there were no safety releases like today, you had to pull in to unhook like windsurfing. Amazingly, the kite had no damage. It hadn’t wrapped around a car like I thought. It had relaunched somehow and only made it a short distance before it hooked the bumper of the parked car I was staring at from the ground. I felt so lucky to walk away with only a few minor scrapes and cuts and a very bruised ego.
Current equipment: All F-One Bandidos kites and a F-One 5’6” directional board.
Number of days per year of kiting: Every day there is wind. Maybe 200 or more.
Favorite move: Taking turns on waves with my directional. Going big when powered up.
Move you are currently working on (or would like to): handle passes and anything unhooked.
Goals: To ride as much as possible and become the next wave champion.
Sponsors: F-One, H2O Audio, Spy Optics and GoPro Camera.
Recent Races: April 2009, Kitricity Kitebash in Melbourne, Florida: First in the long distance and first on the course race out of 14 racers (4 women). January 2009, La Ventana Classic in Mexico: Took 3rd in the long distance and 2nd Overall in the course race out of 16 women.
Other hobbies: Snowboarding, mountain biking, and fishing.