The history of barrel riding had long been dominated by men. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re throwing it back to this article from 2018 when Jalou Langeree, Catharina Edin and Olivia Jenkins challenged the gender barrier at the birthplace of the kitesurfing coverup.
This article first appeared in our Winter 2018 issue | Vol. 15, No. 4
WWhen it comes to getting barreled in the surf with a kite, this sector of the sport has long been dominated by an all-star cast of male athletes establishing the gold standard. This fall, Jalou Langeree put together a trip to the birthplace of the barrel that broke a decade-long gender vacuum that has existed within the green room.
When the Mauritius stop of the GKA Surf Tour was canceled, Jalou lined up an Indonesian barrel hunting mission with friend Catharina Edin, photographer Ydwer van der Heide and last-minute tagalong Olivia Jenkins. No stranger to Indo, Jalou was hoping to make up for the lackluster wave quality on the surf tour this year and Catharina was looking to step up her surf game. Stuck in the no-swell doldrums of summertime Maui, Olivia was scouring international swell maps for potential forecast-based strike missions and discovered Jalou’s plans over social media. Olivia purchased a last-minute plane ticket, flew out the following morning and the three converged on a peaking swell so large that Indo’s barrel machine was closing out in the channel.
As this was her fourth trip to the famed Indonesian village, Jalou took note of how little things had changed. The people and places were mostly the same with the exception of small improvements in the local homes and restaurants (warungs). Jalou recognized a local photographer named Mammet who had sold his camera a few years back in order to open a restaurant in his front yard with his family. Hanging from the walls inside his new joint were pictures he had taken of Keahi, Reo, Kevin and Jalou on Indo’s famous left during one of their previous trips to the island. The girls ate at Mammet’s almost every evening as it was cheap, clean and the best place to avoid ‘Indo belly.’
According to Olivia, “the guys in the videos make it look so effortless, but it’s not as easy as it looks.” Only certain waves offer the chance to get barreled and all three girls struggled with the challenges of finding the right speed and position on the wave. They found the best time to kite this wave was at low tide when the reef was sucking dry beneath them, which made pulling in highly intimidating. Over the course of the trip, Jalou, Olivia and Catharina all endured washing machine wipeouts which included reef cuts and downed kites. However, they each got a taste of hollow waves and a better appreciation of the art behind barrel riding. Having learned so much, by the end of the trip, the question arose: Where will the girls go on their next barrel riding mission?