Saturday, December 16, 2017

Laila Puehringer - A World Traveler On a Kite

Laila Puehringer Cabarete Dominican republic LifestyleYou wouldn’t normally consider it a possibility to land in a Caribbean country for a trip and end up becoming a professional sports athlete and a lifestyle embassador shortly after, right? You just wouldn’t. But this isn’t the case for some, and then there’s the sweet case of Laila Puehringer. With a Moroccan and Austrian background, Laila is no stranger to new sights and trying different things while marching to the beat of her own drum. Always in a sunny mood, specially when it comes to flying on a board or hopping on planes, a woman in constant motion.

“I learned here in Cabarete, back in 2007, a late bloomer who’d just turned 21. At first, I didn’t like it so much, surfing was more easy for me. But I kept going and after a while I got addicted! Antonio from Cabarete Surf Camp borrowed me a board for free. I always go back and he has it there for me, it feels like I’ve never really left.”

It wasn’t until two years later that things got serious. Laila followed her instincts and started making her own name in the sports scene.

While competing and touring she positioned herself on the 9th place in the Overall PKRA World Tour on 2009 and for the next year she became the 12th in the World Cup, also competed the KTE Kitesurf Tour Europe and the Freestyle Pro Women. From 2009 til now she’s been in kiting in Germany, Fuerteventura, Cabarete, Marokko Egypt, Austria, Southafrica and Czech Republic, all the while becoming a Sports Teacher and currently finishing her Sport Science degree.

Laila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic LifestyleLaila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic Lifestyle

With a swift turn of events, Laila’s plans were postponed...
“In 2013 I broke my spine while kiting in Egypt. I had been in a competition a week before (which I won) but my accident got me out of the water for 10 months. I had to do therapy for a while and let my body heal on its own. It took me a trip back to Cabarete before I started kitesurfing again by Febuary 2014.”

Why every Febuary?
“Because it’s the only place you can kitesurf in a bikini!”

Good point.
Now a days, Laila’s style has evolved.
“I’m more into waves lately. Feels more natural and fun, besides I like to go strapless.”

Laila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic LifestyleLaila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic Lifestyle

How does Laila keep busy during the year?
“I’m studying Sport Science in Vienna, I’m in the University athletics which is basically a pot of professional athletes where they allow you to study, train and compete. For this year there’s only one stop planned for the World Championship in Morrocco and I want to participate in that one. I have the support of my husband and sponsors.”

And by sponsors she casually refers to Adidas, Camp for Pro (official distributors of GoPro in Europe), Injoy Fitness and Ozone Kites.

On Women and Sports:
“While acknowledging that the female body will never be physically able to reach the same level as the male however it shouldn’t stop us. Theres a lot of girls that are really stoked to be a part of this. I understand that I will never jump as high as some other male athletes even if it’s in ballet or other disciplines. Just focus on being the best version of yourself.”

Laila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic LifestyleLaila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic Lifestyle

Any difference to you being in the water around boys or girls?
“I like to practice with the boys, we always have fun, however practicing with girls is a different vibe because it’s more social and men are more independent. For example, Laurel Eastman came up to me and said she saw me in the water, that it was beautiful and that I’m getting better; with boys you probabbly won’t get these comments. It’s always cool if someone who is a good rider says they like your style, that means a lot!”

Who do you look up to as in female kiters?
“I like Gisela Pulido in freestyle, she’s a 10 time World Champion, also Moona Whyte and other high class riders.”

How did you ever consider competing?
“Susy Mai was the first one to ever suggest I started competing, it was tough at the beginning but then after a while I was very thankful. Eventually you get used to it. It’s just a good feeling to go compete with your friends and people you know, hang out, see everyone again. And just get better and better! You’re not mad at anyone for winning, it’s not so bad. You are competing against friends. One minute you’re chilling on the sand and the next you compete in a heat.”

It would seem the Kiting Community is tight.
“Definetly. Whenever I go kiting, I end up meeting someone I know. The kite community can be small. I have never been on a kite beach and not know someone.”

A regular day in the life?
“Here I wake up at 7am, have breakfast maybe some fruits and cereal then go surfing, if there’s no waves I go running. Come back and eat something, study an hour and go for a swim. If there is wind I go kiting, sometimes even 2 sessions a day for an hour and a half. I take short breaks in between and then go back and have another session, when I’m done I ussually like doing a yoga session to shake it off. Finish that off with a shower on the roof (there’s a shower inside the house but you would want to watch the sunset while shampooing too). Afterwards, I check my mails and social media, then take a stroll in town while deciding where to dine with my husband and friends.”

Laila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic LifestyleLaila Puehringer kitesurfer Cabarete Dominican Republic Lifestyle

Not bad Laila, not bad. By the way, congratulations on your wedding!
“Thanks! Well, it’s been 2 years now, my husband is a kiter as well. We met in Egypt while trainning on a boat (he used to manage a kite school there). He came with me to Cabarete and we married here, on the beach. Even though he’s not in the kiting business anymore, he supports everything I do and my goals, I married my best friend. Best caddy i could ask for!”

We love your hair, any beauty tricks you want to share?:
“I use conditioner without silicon and morroccan oil for my curls, sunscreen for my skin, barely use cream on it. Not too much makeup either, I’m allergic. And when I do wear it I make sure I take it off before bed. I can be as tipsy as the next one when hitting bed after an off-the-water session, but I always take my makeup off. Try to eat healthy and train at least 4 times a week with various cardio and body weight lifting. Go easy on the bread.”

You are a female athlete, student, teacher, wife, etc. How do you juggle with everything:
“I try not to overthink too much. As soon as you think you have to prove yourself to others, you have a problem. The sports world can be tough and a bit male dominated but I’ve never felt less worthy just because I’m a girl. It’s just about being okay with yourself.”

Any tips?:
“Avoid expensive equipment at the beginning. Bought my first gear (used) for around $300 dollars. It wasn’t the latest model but it got where I am now.”

On Kitesurfing and life:
“Don’t take everything too seriously. Go with the flow, even if something doesn’t work out. I grew up with my grandparents, and they both passed away on January. But I cant let myself down, can’t be sad all the time. Force yourself to smile, it’ll come out naturally. More people should do it.”

What’s in store for Laila?
“I have to travel a bit now. Going to Austria, then Morocco, France and back to Morocco for the World Tour. I plan on continuing my trainning, my studies and make fun videos in the water, stay tuned and follow me on social media or my webpage! Also, “Girls, dont learn sports because you want to impress a guy, do it because it feels good.”

FB page:

Photo: Private or as mentioned


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