Mika’s Mindset of a Competitor

Duotone Kiteboarding Team Series Textreme 2020 Mikaili Sol
Duotone Kiteboarding Teamrider Mikaili Sol

When the focus is predominantly on winning, the ability to become fully immersed in the moment is almost impossible. It seems that riding out the challenges becomes the greatest teacher. You're forced to think, commit; because if you’re not going all the way, why do it at all? 



Here we catch up with Mikaili Sol, our youngest female Duotone International team rider with two world titles under her belt.

When did you realise you had that competitive side to you?

Ever since I was little I’ve always been competitive, I wanted to be the best at everything I did. I’ve always had that fire in me, it’s what drives me. I’ve found my passion in kiteboarding and it comes naturally to me to put all my energy into pushing the limits and improving the sport. I’m growing with it too. My goal is to make everyone sit up and realise that the level of riding amongst the girls has come a long way and we’re not stopping anytime soon. 

How do you keep the ‘hunter, not hunted’ mind set throughout the season? 

Being a hunter doesn’t always mean that you’re not being hunted. When you’re at the top, everybody wants to bring you down, even your closest friends, but that’s competition. We all want to be at the top. I focus on myself and my goal, do the best for me. If that’s not good enough, then it’s all on me. I have to recognise that something wasn’t right with myself, go back to the training grounds and get it together.

How do you approach each event?

Each event, location, even day is different. Before each comp I need to know what I’m dealing with. I usually hit the spot a few days early, get out there and learn about it. 

Do you train your strengths and weaknesses separately?

My training is pretty systematic. I hit the water and roll through my trick list. Of course, I have strengths and weaknesses, but I don’t train for them separately. I start at the beginning, ticking off the moves that are powerful and clean. The ones that I miss, lack style and commitment I go back to and so on. I need to know that no matter the conditions I’m 100% prepped. It’s an endless process. Once I’m comfortable in one spot, I go and do it all again in another. That said, when I’m left with my weakest moves, I have no choice but to focus on them. So, yes, at some point I do have to train for my weaknesses. 

Duotone Kiteboarding Teamrider Mikaili Sol Hood River

Do you have a pre-game process on competition day?


Competition day demands a lot of thought. 20 minutes before any heat I’m ready. My gear’s pumped and I’m all suited up. I take that time to go into my own space, listening to calming music so my thought process can happen. I plan the first three tricks, then make an option B, exit strategy C, bold plan D and so on. Depending on the conditions and my performance, I have the right ‘next step’ planned out.

How do you maintain a positive mindset during injury?

Maintaining a positive mindset during injury is complicated and I’ve only scratched the surface of how hard this could be. I dislocated my knee once and don’t want to imagine how bad it could have been if I was older. I was off the water for two months and it was a big reality check. Coming back, I trained super hard to build the muscles around the knee as I know that as I age and develop, I won’t be so immune to crashes. I stepped up my game and trained for every eventuality. I might not have lived the full injury experience, but I would focus on it, learn about it and believe you will be ok. It’s going to take a lot of hard work but never stop. Find the drive to do what you need.

How do you react to negative results?


Negative results don’t sit well with me in general. Both as an athlete and in everything I do in life I aspire to do and be the best. When I lose or don’t get the results, I go back to the drawing board and hash it out, hard! At the end of the day, whatever the result, I have to know that I did everything within my power to be able to succeed. I take responsibility.

Duotone Kiteboarding Vegas 2020 Mikaili Sol
Duotone Kiteboarding Click Bar 2020 Mikaili Sol

What was the biggest lesson you learned last year?

The biggest lesson I learned last year is to trust the people around you, those who care about you most. Without these people, the support network, the energy, the belief, maybe I’d be in a different place right now. In anything you do, having that push is everything, sometimes that’s all anyone needs and so many don’t have it. That’s been such a big part in my journey and I’m incredibly grateful for it.