Last winter, five of the Duotone ladies embarked on a trip to the beautiful french island of Martinique, located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. They set out to sail around the island and explore some of the harder to reach freestyle kite spots that speckle the island’s rugged shores. However, forecasts forced them to alter their course bringing about an entirely different game plan. In anticipation of the release of the video captured over the course of their trip, the guys at Duotone caught up with Hannah Whiteley, Paula Novotna and Colleen Carroll to get their recap of the trip and their perspective on the video.
How did this trip come about and what was the plan for the shoot?
Colleen: This trip came about sort of as a follow up to the SUM of 5 project we did a few years ago, which we had a really great response to. We wanted to get the women together again for another freeride/freestyle shoot and we made the plan to all meet up in Martinique in the Caribbean and sail around on a catamaran for a couple weeks. We were looking to explore spots that aren’t as commonly ridden, however, in the end we had to entirely change our plan.
Duotone is just about to release the video from the trip titled “Reunion”; what’s your take on how the video turned out?
Hannah: I like it’s rawness. The way that it’s not glamorized and that it’s straight up and real. I think I’ve never seen a girl kite video like this before. It’s really cool.
Paula: This trip was just so memorable, it was awesome. When I saw the video, I wanted to go back. It’s exactly like it was. The video is done very nicely and yeah; it really just makes me want to go back.
It sounded like the wind conditions were kind of challenging and you had to hit up different locations as well?
Colleen: Yeah, we had to completely change our plan. Nothing worked out like it was supposed to, but luckily we were living on the boat, so we were able to adjust. We were planning to only sail around Martinique, but early on in the trip we realized that we were going to get almost entirely skunked, if we stuck to our original plan. We rerouted to sail down to the Grenadines, which typically gets a little stronger wind than other places. It was about 20 hours sailing each way, so we had to make the call early on in the trip so that we would have enough time to kite in Union as well as make it back to our flights out of Martinique.
Give us a brief recap of the trip… the highlights, lowlights, what stands out to you now as you look back on it?
Hannah: I loved exploring the Caribbean with all of you kick ass girl teammates. I loved the bond that we made living together on the boat. It was also really special falling asleep looking at the stars every night that we could see through our skylight. It was also really cool to check out the JT Pro Center. If you want the more Juicy side, some of our personalities did clash a little bit, it wasn’t always smooth sailing with nowhere to escape living on the boat [laughs]. We got stuck in a bit of ‘swell’ in the middle there, but in the end I think it actually brought us closer together as friends.
Paula: I have a lot of memories, but what pops up now is when Hannah hit her head. It was so unexpected. She survived and was luckily totally okay! It was funny to see her in a swimming cap for a week because she couldn’t get her head wet.
Colleen: What stands out for me is our very last session when we finally got to kite in Martinique. We were fully powered up on our 9-10m kites so it was just perfect. Everyone was riding really well and landing some of their best tricks of the trip. In a way, it felt like we still managed to achieve our goal of kiting in Martinique and it was a climactic ending to the trip.
The real drama happened only on day 1… What was the big incident?
Hannah: Day 1 did start out quite dramatically. I was minding my own business walking on the boat and the next thing I knew, I cracked my head open on the boat. There was blood everywhere. I was lucky that at this point we weren’t that far from shore so it was easy enough to get to the hospital and all of you girls all took good care of me. I also timed it well with the wind so my head healed while we didn’t have wind. I even had a shower cap with me, so that I was able to use it to keep the scar dry and still go in the water to swim. By the time we had good wind, my head was healed so in the end it worked out well.
What did you do to make the most of your no wind down days or days when you were sailing for the entire day? How did you stay moving?
Hannah: That’s the hard thing about being on the boat – it’s impossible to get your steps in. I would love to know how many kilometers we all swam between us. We spent so much time lapping the boat or the bays, wherever we were whenever there was an opportunity. We swam a lot.
Paula: I’m a very active person and when we were on the boat the first week with no wind, I still needed to move everyday. While we would be parked in the harbor in the mornings I’d go for a run on land, but most of the time we were on the ocean, so I’d just do a little workout on the catamaran. It was fun because some of the girls joined me too, because there wasn’t much to do with no wind so it was super nice.
Hannah: I think it’s special because it’s totally different from anything you’ve probably seen. It’s really raw and it’s a true reality of our trip.
Paula: Well I think Vinny edited the video very well and the trip was exactly like that. It captures a lot of great moments that we had and as I said before, it’s very nice to look at it, because it brings me back to the nice time that we had there.
Were you really having as much fun as it looks like you were on the video?
Paula: For sure, even more! It was so much fun with these girls. It was fun everyday. We had no wind the first week so that was different than we expected and then the second week we had wind. There was some drama on the boat as well, but we had fun and we enjoyed it to the maximum.
Stay tuned for the release of reunion. Going live February 24th!