My name is Julie Shaw and I am 48 years old. My friends call me Jules, so please feel free to do so as well.
My journey started last April 2016 when I went paddle boarding for the first time on our girls’ annual camping trip. As the year progressed I would see kiters at the Skyway constantly and found that I had friends who already knew the secret of what kiting was all about. I started lessons in August 2016 and have been improving my skills ever since. This was my motivation to go to Cuba to kite, meet the people and open my eyes to so many more places I wish to kite. What a trip to take alone and experience life, the beautiful beaches and people for my first kitecation. Cuba only brought my desire to kite and meet more of this community to a frenzy. My bucket list grows by reading everyone’s travel places and ideas of what they found and why it holds a special place for them.
My new found love started very late as 14 years ago I became allergic to ALL FISH. My allergy is so bad that I must carry Epi-Pens as I cannot be touched by fish (not even in the water), can’t eat fish but still enjoy fishing in Alaska during my yearly summer stay at my place on the Kenai river. This year one of my goals is to kite in Alaska around Seward or Homer with the local groups. So kiting for me requires some extra thought so that I do not find myself in any schools of fish or when RED TIDE breaks out (a terrible algae bloom that leaves dead fish all over the beach and smells awful). I no longer chose to make this allergy part of my living in fear; no more a hold back to my true love and self-expression of oceans and zest for travel to exotic blue waters to be where beautiful kites fly. Although an allergy is real and respected, fish fear is mere history.
One thing I am most proud of in my 6 months as a kiter is my affiliation to a group called Wind Sports for Wounded Warriors. During the holidays I started following them as they bring wounded warriors to water sports, specifically paddle boarding and kiting. I asked how I could help and found myself raising money for one particular warrior, Mark Roseberry. He is a one-legged amputee and Purple Heart recipient. His ambition is to become a certified kite instructor so he may teach other wounded warriors with various injuries to kite. So I not only raised the money for for his certification this April but also enough for his lodging, food and incidentals. Personally gratifying for me, YES! Paying it forward, YES, INDEED!
I am going to my first retreat as a volunteer May 2017 to St Simon Island Ga. which will be a new adventure for myself to kite and paddle board somewhere new.
My work is twofold. I own a small business that sells technology to the government and cruise lines. Then my main “day” job is outside sales of office equipment and software for Dex Imaging in the Tampa Bay area. It allows me to carry all my gear anywhere I go and if the winds are smiling upon me I meet up with my various local kiters and kite all around the West Coast of Central Florida.
This is me in a nutshell!
More inspirational story about women in kiteboarding world:
Bianca Forzano, owner of Bianca Bikinis
Mia Toose, owner of Truli Wetsuits
Maroean Mones, owner and founder of Girlzactive