Therese Taabbel

Therese Taabbel is one of the world’s best kite surfers. One of the best ways she can find peace is when she's out at sea with her kite and board.

Therese Taabbel is one of the world’s best female kitesurfers. She started kite surfing at the age of 12 and is a six time-Danish champion, finished in fourth place in the World Champions Tour Stop and is among the top five kitesurfers in the world.

You’re a professional kitesurfer, an adrenaline-pumping watersport. Is it also important for you to take it easy sometimes?

- As an athlete, you live life at full speed, with an everyday filled with training and competing. That’s why it’s important to recover and slow down, both physically and mentally, if you want to perform well. Although kite surfing is an extreme sport and the adrenaline pumps when I’m out on the water, I also associate it with a kind of calm. When I'm surfing, I shut off my brain and I'm one with my kite and my board. When I’m on the water, I can breathe – this is where I find my balance.

You're currently injured. How did that happen?

- A few weeks ago I took part in the world championships in kite surfing. In the semi-final, I had a hard landing on the water and was taken to hospital. There, I was told that one of my cruciate ligaments had torn and that I'd damaged my meniscus. My season ended in a split second.

”When I’m on the water, I can breathe”

How do you keep your faith that everything will work out?

- For me, the process I have to go through now is about finding peace. I need to try seeing things differently and tell myself that I have a life besides my sport. I'm convinced that I learn from the struggles I go through in life, and I'm confident that I'll come out stronger on the other side – both as a person and as an athlete.

What gives you peace of mind?

- I meditate and take deep breaths. I generally live my life at full speed, and meditation has shown me how important it is to focus on breathing. It’s about finding my own method of maintaining inner calm, because if I were only sitting and doing breathing exercises, I would lose my concentration entirely. Kitesurfing is my personal calm place, it's what gives me balance. I'm aware that most people might not associate extreme watersports with inner peace, but this is what works for me.