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PROFILED: Chelu Guardati

Photo Clara Gudlielmi

Age: 26
Years Kiting: 3
Favorite Spots: Red Sea, Egypt; Paracas and Zárate, Peru
Sponsors: PeruKite and Slingshot Peru

GEAR

Boards: Klimax 5.6 and Crazy Fly Rocky Chatwell 130
Kites: Slingshot Rallys and RPMs
Harness: Mystic

TIPS:

  •  Be patient when you are learning. If the conditions are not good for kiting, wait for them to be better.
  • Don´t get obsessed and frustrated because you can’t seem to nail a certain trick. We all have good and bad days, so it’s more important to enjoy the ride.
  • Learn from other riders, not only from kiteboarders but also from wakeboarders, surfers, and skaters.
  • For girls: We can have the same level and style as the men, so think and act as an athlete and you will be respected as one.

Chelu grew up in Campana, about 50 miles from Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires. She got a degree in Advertising/Public Relations and worked various marketing jobs in the city for a few years but realized that being in an office was not what she wanted for her life.

When she discovered kiteboarding, she also discovered her calling.

How did you first get into kiteboarding?
In 2008, a friend was getting into kitesurfing and told me that I should learn too. I´d heard about it but didn´t really know what it was, so I started to search and came across Martin Vari´s video from the PKRA Chile and saw how girls were killing it on freestyle.

I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do. I took a course and loved it.

What first brought you to Peru? What made you want to stay?
Octavio, my boyfriend, and I first traveled to Peru for swell. We´d been working as kite instructors at different flat water spots and needed waves (we surf too).

When Jose Rosas from PeruKite offered us the opportunity to run his school, we jumped on it.

Your nickname is Chelu. Does it have any particular meaning?
In Argentina, a nickname for Cecilia is Chechu. As my name is Celina, my friends started to call me Chelu and I´ve had that nickname since I can remember.

You were involved with the KSP tour stop in Pacasmayo. What was that experience like?
I´d organized events before but it was my first time with a world tour. Kitesurfing in Peru is still young, so getting support from local sponsors was hard work.

As a competitor, riding with the best girls was a great way to start my competition career.

Photo John Bilderback

With one competition under your belt, do you plan on doing more?
Of course I want to keep competing, this is just the beginning! Competitions give you experience and you learn so much from other riders that motivate you to push yourself further.

You started offering Girls Camps last year which has grown into the launch of your new company Kite Sisters. Do you plan on expanding the concept into other countries?
After the Peru Kite and Yoga Camp last October I decided it was time to launch Kite Sisters Kite Trips for Girls (www.kite-sisters.com) and expand the program to different spots around the world.

The idea is that girls from all over and every riding level travel together to explore new spots while sharing experiences, progressing their riding abilities, and making new friends.

Our seven-day trips include meals and lodging, kiteboarding lessons, and extra activities depending on the destination.

What is your favorite style of riding?
Waves! I love feeling the power and energy of the waves. When I´m in the water, nothing else matters and I just enjoy what the sea has for me.

Where is your favorite place to ride?
Peru has an important quality: uncrowded beaches! For freestyle I choose Paracas which offers flat water, constant wind, and just a few other riders.

My favorite spot for waves is Zárate, which is in the National Reserve next to Paracas. It’s just you and the waves there.

Any words of wisdom you want to share?
If you want something, go for it. Don´t doubt because other people don’t believe in your dream. Whatever in life you do with passion and love, it´s going to work out one way or another.

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