What does this quality of experience lead to in the end?
Community and simplicity means security. I'm interacting with people who are helping me, and my equipment is easy to use, I've got it under control. I feel safe. Individuality and enjoyment means that I feel stronger as a person. Personal development means inspiration. Kiters experience the power of nature, which moves and accelerates you, with every session on the water. Each session is a mini adventure. You become almost like a plaything of nature, with the risk of never quite knowing what's going to happen. You have to be brave. It's exciting, and you feel the strength you gain when you're playing with nature.
Does this feeling release any particular energy?
Nature is unpredictable and powerful. The fact that I'm exposing myself to this risk ultimately leads to development, and to me gaining strength as a person. A special flow develops when my abilities match precisely what I'm doing, I am taken up in doing it with 100 percent concentration. I mustn't be over-challenged, but I mustn't be under-taxed either. Through my activity, I get a little bit better every time, and by doing so I shift the challenge a little bit. When you engage in this type of sport, you find yourself in a constant, positive spiral of development. The continual improvement, the constant development; it creates more than just happiness. You are also able to develop potential that you otherwise might not even be aware you had. This is ultimately experiencing your self-worth. Self-worth creates joy. And associated with joy is the positive activation of the body and mind. It is a positive experience, I'm excited by it. You could also call it stoke, the highest form of joy and excitement.
Lots of kiters get off the water and are literally inspired. Does stoke have a particular effect on people, or is it just a feeling of happiness?
It goes way beyond that. Of course, the ego is positively activated. The challenge when kiting is immense - the nature, the wind, the waves. You need total concentration on the moment, and you can't start thinking about projects to do with your work, arguments with friends, or what you're planning on doing tonight. Studies show that positively activated people are not only happier, but they also get ill less often and they perform better in their jobs. If someone comes home positively activated, then they infect their family, friends, and surroundings with this positivity.
Everyone is familiar with the saying 'little bit of what you fancy does you good'. But people who are good also try to do good for their community. Kiters who collect rubbish on beaches, for example, are interested in wider contexts and share this interest beyond their community and take it to the wider public.
Isn't the search for joy a little selfish?
On an everyday basis, you often get discouraged, you get repeated crises of confidence, the feeling that you can't create anything of value for anyone else. I can't do what I want to do at work, my work isn't valued. I might be working for the good of the company, but that doesn't satisfy me. I can't enjoy myself there. You need time out from something like that. Whether it's biking, swimming, or kiting, the motivation is the same: I need to recharge myself as a person and regroup my strength. In these modern times especially, where the degree of complexity is so great and the number of stress-related conditions is growing, everyone is searching for a place to unwind.