When your marriage depends on being able to kitesurf

Every week, Dominique McMullan tries something different. This week: learning to kitesurf

This week I learned how to kitesurf. Kitesurfing involves attaching a board to your feet and a kite to your waist and using the power of the wind to propel you out to sea and back again.

My husband’s one true passion is kitesurfing. Whenever the wind blows in the right direction, he’s found at sea. He’d been dropping hints that he’d like me to give kitesurfing a go for a while but this year when I opened kitesurfing boots, kitesurfing sunglasses and a rash vest for Christmas, I understood the gravity of the situation. It was only my honeymoon but my marriage was possibly on the line.

We were on honeymoon in Tanzania this January, mostly because of its warm onshore breeze. This was where my journey towards becoming a pro-kitesurfer began. Before my training began, Rory thought he would give me a lesson himself. I ended up splitting his lip in half (with a kite, with a kite). By the time I was in the hands of the professionals, I was a mess.

My instructor was to be "handsome Ben"; I was immediately worried for him.

A kite is a terrifyingly powerful thing. It can quite literally pull you out to sea. My instructor was to be “handsome Ben”; I was immediately worried for him.


Day one was spent safe on land learning to kite. Day two was in the water. The aim was to direct the kite as it dragged me through the shallows. It sounds about as fun as it was. Bikini bottoms (and dignity) made themselves optional. Handsome Ben was very polite as he pretended not to notice various white, wobbly body parts shining in the sun, when, blinking like a drenched new-born, I emerged from the surf.

Day four was spent in a similar fashion, except with lots of cuts and bruises. Ben was replaced by Surfer Rob and then Gentle Hands George. I tried not to think too much about the rotating door of instructors.

Day five the kiteboard was introduced. Imagine learning to juggle, and then someone asking you to do it on a bike, when you’ve never cycled before. Then imagine the feeling of actually managing to do it. It's like flying and magic had a baby.

I’ll never be one of those cool surf babes. The girls whose hair look better with sea water and who get lovely freckles on their nose. Instead I’ll be the determined, occasionally bare-bottomed, whooping woman, with matted hair and a shining burnt nose, flying alongside the best of them out in the magic sea.

Learn to kitesurf in Ireland (or Tanzania) with Big Style. See bigstyle.ie