It’s already been a month since returning from one of the best kiteboarding trips of my life. However, I’m not sure if asked one day after returning I would have dubbed it with the same potent title. Not to say that I took the trip for granted in the present, on the contrary, reflection has only added to the impact the trip had on me.

Colleen Carroll enjoying a slash of solitude on the Red Sea.

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In late September, I headed to Egypt with four of my team mates; Francesca Bagnoli from Italy, Hannah Whiteley from The United Kingdom, Paula Novotna from Czech Republic and Mikaili Sol from Brazil. It was the first time the five of us had come together for a trip and we were on a mission to make a video that would warrant legitimate media attention who would critique us on our power, execution, style and grit. In short, we wanted to make a badass kiteboarding shredit. Sure, the location would be beautiful, we’d have a lot of laughs and easygoing moments, but on the water, each rider was challenged to bring their best.

14-year-old Mikaili Sol levels up against the horizon.

I had dreamed of doing a shoot like this with my teammates for years and with the support of Duotone, I finally had the chance to make it happen. I lined everything up, confirming our itinerary and planning our route to various spots strewn about Egypt’s Red Sea. I booked Vincent Bergeron to do the video and brought along Toby Bromwich to shoot photos. Upon arrival, everyone was bursting with energy and really focused on only one thing, landing tricks — not just their own but as a group. I asked the girls to all make a trick list and we reviewed clips regularly to make sure everyone was achieving their goals. It was systematic and already, I would have dubbed the trip a success albeit rather contrived.

The Sum of 5 from left to right: Colleen Carroll, Francesca Bagnoli, Mikaili Sol, Hannah Whiteley, Paula Novotna

It was about a third of the way into the trip when I realized that our video shoot had already become about more than just the action. The trip was about a sport that brings people together from different backgrounds because it’s their most favorite thing to do in the world. Cliché? Maybe. However, I can’t help myself but remark about the way our group dynamic worked so effortlessly with each rider stepping up each day to bring to the table whatever worked best for the group.  Kiteboarding can be a particularly selfish sport especially at the professional level and for those at the very top, this is probably a crucial component to a rider’s success. But not on this trip. Working together with a common goal resulted in something far better than if each athlete was out for her own intentions, giving us a sum that is greater than it’s parts. Stay tuned for the ‘SUMof5’ video — coming soon!