I had been warned, but making arrangements with the University of the West Indies was more difficult than I could have expected. My counselor tried to explain how it had been about a decade since my school had sent a student to the island, due much in part to the well-known fact that West Indies suffered from a ‘relaxed’ administration. However, I was persistent and I eventually lined up a semester in kitesurfing paradise—that came with a few speed bumps. When I landed in Barbados the school forgot to send someone to pick me up from the airport. A family on vacation offered me a ride but it turned out the entire school was closed for some sort of island holiday. Even if my start in the West Indies was a bit rough, once I mastered the public transit system and connected with the local kitesurfing community on the east side of the island, everything turned out for the better. Brian Talma let me stash my equipment at his deAction kite shop on Silver Beach and I became a fixture in the kitesurfing scene for the four months I spent on the island.
When I returned home to finish my degree, I got hired by Cabrinha, and in the passing years, I found myself completely submerged in the kiteboarding industry. I often think back to my time on the island and I’ve always had the intention of someday returning to the white sand beaches of Barbados, yet it took eight years for that opportunity to present itself. When Carolina Dickenson and Andrea Rabasa, the founders of Kite Sirens school, invited me down to christen their Cabrinha-affiliated kite school, I jumped at the chance.