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Wherever I Lay My Hat 1 1200x800 - Wherever I Lay My Hat

Wherever I Lay My Hat

Where is home if you’re often on the road traveling to kite events? Camille and Capucine Delannoy, although originally from France, currently call Brazil home, as their family all moved out there when Camille was 12 and Capucine seven. But a recent trip to Maui has seen it steal a little piece of Camille’s heart, as he told our editor Sarah, and their current, temporary home is Tarifa. Celtia Rebolledo Heil caught up with Capucine there to find out more about her competition mindset and preparation for the GKA Big Air World Championships. [Note as we were going to press: she won!]

WORDS: Sarah Sylvester and Celtia Rebolledo Heil
PHOTOS: Frankiebees (Maui) and Samuel Cardenas (Tarifa)
Wherever I Lay My Hat Camille 1 - Wherever I Lay My Hat


I feel honored to be a team rider for North Kiteboarding and Mystic, and happy that our values and lifestyle aspirations are aligned. I think it’s fair to say that my lifestyle doesn’t fit the average preconception of what a ‘normal’ life is. The first few years of my life were relatively ordinary – we lived in Annecy, France and I was into skiing and took part in ski competitions. My parents were into windsurfing and we went on holiday to Jericoacoara, Brazil where I started kiting. My parents liked it there so much we ended up going back four years in a row. When I was 12 they decided to think outside the box and move out there for part of the year, to nearby Prea, and we ended up spending six months a year there and six months skiing in La Clusaz, France. Living in one of the world’s windiest spots for half the year meant I could kite every day, and when I secured my first kite sponsor at 16 skiing went by the wayside… 

We are now based permanently in Brazil apart from when I’m traveling to competitions and events. So where is home? Do I consider France home? We still have a house there. But every time I go back I find myself bringing more of my possessions to Brazil. I still have friends in France, but of course I don’t get to see them much and we have very different lifestyles, so we’ve grown apart. So there is less and less pulling me towards France. So is Brazil home? Having done home schooling and now online university, I can’t say that I’ve made that many local friends in Brazil, and again our lifestyles are very different. I mainly end up hanging out with other international kiters who tend to come and go, or the few locals who also kite. So the draw of friends isn’t pulling me all that strongly to Brazil. Some people live in the same place and have the same group of friends all their life, and I definitely don’t fit in that box! Do I miss that? No… I have learned to make friends quickly with people that I meet on the road or who are in Brazil for just a short time, and doing that helps me to feel at home quickly wherever I am. 

Language is an important part of identity, and while my first language is French I don’t end up speaking it very much, apart from with my family. And I don’t speak that much Portuguese either. I actually end up talking mainly English with other kiters and while traveling. I’ve had to learn the nuances of humor in English and now consider it my mother tongue as much as French. So I can’t say I’ll ever feel Brazilian, but my family is with me in Brazil and they are very important to me, and help me to feel that Brazil is home for now. 

I’m very lucky that my sister Capucine is also a kitesurf wizard, and shares my lifestyle. We get to travel a lot together. We went on a trip to Maui together earlier this year and had an awesome time hanging out with fellow North team riders Karlie Thoma and the absolute legend Jesse Richman. We spent a month there making the most of the conditions. There are so many options on Maui… if you’re willing to drive a little you can be on the water everyday either kitesurfing or surfing. The North Shore is where you have the best spots: Ho’okipa, Lanes, Kanaha, etc. It’s very varied with epic wave riding conditions in Ho’okipa and great strapless conditions in Kanaha. If the swell is good, you can drive to Honolua and surf a world-class wave. There are of course plenty of other spots that are perfect for strapless; the possibilities are endless… 

For the first time since moving to Brazil, I think I’ve found somewhere else that I could live. The lifestyle in Maui is easy-going with varied conditions for kiting, and everyone is into the sea in one way or another. I feel very lucky to live in a beautiful kite spot like Prea, with bars and restaurants not far away in Jeri. And for now it feels like home. But Maui has things that don’t exist in Prea, that many people take for granted, like cinemas, malls, varied international cuisine and so on. I don’t know what the future will bring; most likely Brazil will not be home forever. I can definitely see myself moving to Maui and calling that home instead. Let’s see… I love traveling and the experiences I get from it are priceless. For now, I’m still enjoying my freedom… 

Wherever I Lay My Hat Capucine in Tarifa by Samuel Cardenas 1 - Wherever I Lay My Hat


Like Camille, I travel a lot. Brazil has been home since I was seven and I do love it especially the downwinders at sunset time with my family – even my eight-year-old brother joins us now! I loved Maui too, but my current, temporary home is Tarifa. I’m here for the upcoming GKA Big Air event and I arrived two months before the event so I could train at the competition spot and with the strong Levante wind. I am very excited to be taking part. Training for something new feels good, and I can’t wait to see where this new format will take us.

The preparation has been intense – a lot of crashes and long days on the water. Before Tarifa I wasn’t really into Big Air so I’ve been training kiteloops hard for the event. When I’m working on a new trick I like to focus on it and not do anything else until I land it. Sometimes it takes just one session but most of the time it takes some days to land it perfectly. I was already doing some loops before coming here but with a 5m and 20 knots of wind… Let me tell you it’s very different in gusty 30 knots wind! For me a kiteloop is the scariest trick; it’s a very engaged trick but when you land it perfectly it gives you an indescribable feeling.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time in the gym. I work out every day and have done since I started kiting. On no-wind days I spend even more time at the gym. I have a coach for my physical preparation. We plan the workout according to my upcoming competitions and my weaknesses. I haven’t had an injury yet – touch wood – and would say that all the physical preparation helps. Luck obviously enters the equation though. There are athletes with very good physical preparation getting injured so I hope I will continue being lucky in the future!

My luck nearly ran out in Maui… I was enjoying a wave session there with Camille and teammate Jesse. At some point the wind dropped, I missed the beach to get out of the water, my kite fell, I lost Jesse and the wind turned offshore… I did a self-rescue but I got tangled in my lines and my kite was pushing me even further offshore so I had to release it and swim for a good kilometer. I really had to stay calm and not panic to conserve my energy… 

It’s the same with competition; there can be a lot of pressure. I’m always very nervous a few days before a competition; all my doubts come up. What really helps me is to go on the water and land my tricks – it helps me remember I have the situation under control. Just before my heat I like to get in a ‘bubble’, put on my headphones and clear my mind. I’m also very lucky that I always have my dad by my side; I would say he’s the one who deals with my pressure because he always finds the right words to help me release it.

Despite the pressure I do love competition; I’ve always been very competitive, ever since I started competing in skiing at the age of six. I like the pressure you have before a race in skiing or a heat kiting so competing has always been a thing I enjoyed doing. Plus, since very young I’ve loved board sports, so I always appreciated being on the water or on the snow. I also loved being the youngest rider on the World Tour when I started. All the riders were very kind to me, giving me a lot of tips, especially the girls who welcomed me very warmly in the kite world. 

I think competition is a good life lesson – you learn so much while competing. You can learn a lot from the other riders; you learn how to fail and get back on your feet, but you also learn a lot about yourself. When I’m competing the best and worst parts of me come out; I ride better than I’ve ever ridden before but I also doubt myself a lot, so I would say competition taught me how to deal with all these emotions at a very young age. Competitions don’t always go as you expect, and I try to turn my weaknesses into a strength. When I have a result I don’t like it motivates me to go back on the water and train harder so it doesn’t happen again…

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