Gisela Pulido’s story is the story of what is probably the youngest champion in the history of world sport and certainly the youngest in the world of kiteboarding.
In 2004, with only 10 years old she began her professional career when she won the World Champion KPWT. With international recognition and the superb skill that has proven despite her youth, no doubt that Gisela is a sports prodigy of her time. In this edition, we have interviewed the nine-time kitesurf world champion, just before she starts the next season where she will compete for her tenth world title.
LOOKOUT: 2015 looks to be a great year, will Gisela Pulido win her tenth world title this year?
GISELA PULIDO: I hope 2015 is a great year! As good as 2014 was. Although the end of the season was not as expected, it has still been an incredible year. I really enjoyed it, learned new things and that’s what’s most important. I have enough energy and motivation to train, so I’ll give it my all in 2015.
LO: What are your weaknesses and strengths against your rivals this season?
G.P.: Winnig is all that matters to me, and sometimes I submit myself to a lot of pressure. Not because of what people, media or my sponsors may say, but for myself. I think if I’m not on top I will not be happy. That’s a weakness, because sometimes your nerves can play tricks on you. But luckily, I have it under control. I’m actually a very calm and relaxed person, and it’s something I benefit from in the competition, because I go out to the water a lot calmer. One thing I’ve learned is that your weaknesses can become your strengths. You only need to look at them in a different way. Analyze your problem and arrange for it to be transformed into something positive. This pressure, after all, is self-requirement. It becomes ambition, motivation, effort and sacrifice to achieve your goals.
LO: It has been over 10 years since the first time you were proclaimed KPWT professional circuit world champion, at only 10 years old. What do you remember about your beginnings? How does Gisela Pulido of today compare to that girl who won against all her adult rivals in 2004?
G.P.: It has been a while, but I remember almost everything. I remember how I learned to kite, my first competitions, the world, traveling with my father, visiting new countries, getting my first sponsors, such as Movistar and Red Bull, who have been supporting me since I was a little girl. Although I have changed a lot, especially in the last two years when I have started traveling alone, basically I’m still the same person. A happy, funny, smiling and, above all, competitive girl. It’s in my blood!
LO: Since then, you’ve chalked successes and world championships. What is your secret as an athlete?
G.P.: I think the most important in becoming successful is that in all the effort and sacrifice involved in reaching your goal, you find happiness. If we are happy because we do something we like, we have enough motivation and energy to keep going. Consistency is another key, and also being surrounded by a great team to advice you well.
LO: Not only are you known in the world of kiteboarding for your success in world competitions, you’ve also left your mark in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest World Champion, and last year, you made a new dream come true alongside the entrepreneur Richard Branson, breaking the Guinness record for the biggest number of people kitesurfing for a mile’s distance. Where does this passion for breaking records come from?
G.P.: If I’m honest, my intention is not to break records. What I want is for people to remember me over time and see a great athlete who fought for her dream and achieved her goals.
LO: At what point did you decide to open your own kite school, Gisela Pulido Pro Center? Could you say it is a vision of the future, for when you leave the world of professional kitesurfing?
G.P.: My father and I moved to Tarifa 10 years ago. We both love this city and the conditions it offers to practice the sport. So we decided that it was the perfect place to open our kitesurf center. The idea of the project is to open more schools of “Gisela Pulido Pro Center” worldwide and publicize the sport.