One of our most international athletes, an example of personal growth, an athlete from Fuerteventura that makes a big name of this island in all the competitions she takes part in. We spoke to Julia Castro, a runner up in the world of Kite Park League 2018 and three times Spanish champion in Wakeboard.
She visited 12 countries just in 2018, competing and training; she’s a high-ranking athlete that started off in 2011 in her native Fuerteventura, an island she adores.
We interviewed you some years ago, when you were just starting off; now you’re a true champion with lots of experience, travel a lot and take part in all the competitions you can. How has your life changed? How can you finance all your trips and championships? Do you get any funding or sponsorships?
My life has changed a lot! I started when I was 18, hitch-hiking to the beach to practise kite; of course I couldn’t travel as I had no money. Little by little I started to work temporarily combining these jobs with my studies and then I started to travel, but they were low cost trips. My first kite was second-hand and I got it thanks to the help from my family, and the rest of the equipment was borrowed. In this respect it was really hard, but it was the only option to get to where I am now. I was very lucky to be sponsored by the distributor of North (now Duotone) in Spain (WET Tarif) just one year and a half after starting off. I must admit I have a great virtue: I can see a story, a product, a person… and make it become interesting to the public, a brand…. This virtue has helped me a lot in my career path. I realised I had a beautiful and different story and I told it through the social net (which I so much love and hate at the same time). That way, with lots of effort, sponsors finally appeared.
I’ve fought, I’ve had a clear target and I’ve followed my path in spite of everything. And yes, everything has changed! Just in 2018 I caught 60 flights!
At present I combine competitions and trips with a job as a manager of the social nets in a company; I also have my sponsors, essential to be where I am now.
In 2019 I can thank the Town Hall of Pájara for supporting me so much and believing in me; to Duotone Kiteboarding International (the best equipment in the market) and to ION (harnesses, suits and luxury complements), to Phonecases3d (long-life lasting 3d effect phone casings), to the Tourist Board in Fuerteventura and Secreto del Sur that always keeps my belly full in Fuerteventura. Moreover, I’m about to enter into an agreement with a very catchy shoes brand: Coquie Shoes.
My way of looking at life has changed. I compete much better now, more quietly and sensibly, although there’s still a lot to improve.
And how about the personal level? Is this the life you’ve always wanted to have?
Definitely. Since I was a child I’ve always wanted to become a professional athlete. This was my dream and I’ve finally got it! But I feel I travel a lot, maybe too much, and I can’t stay as long as I’d like with my family, most of all with my younger brothers. They only grow up once and I think it’s important to be close to them. Many people say: «how can you complain about your life?» Take the job of your dreams, carry it out seven days a week and 16 hours a day; maybe after some years you don’t like it so much!
In 2019 I’ll try to look for a balance to spend more time at home. Of course I want to keep doing what I do!
Your started off in Kite, When did you decide to opt for Wake and Kite Park?
Wake appeared out of coincidence. When I came back from the Spain Kite Championship, a friend called me and encouraged me to visit him in Almería to try it. Apart from loving it I realised I was good at it, as the fifth position in the World Cup 2018, three times a champion in Spain and five times international with Spain prove.
Kite Park appeared out of necessity. After an accident training freestyle in Cape Town I had to undergo an operation in my right shoulder; since them I’ve been in lot of pain, so I had to look for another sport which wouldn’t cause so much pain but still let me practise kite. This discipline was ideal; it’s almost like wake, it allows me to hold the bar very near my hip; that way my shoulder doesn’t suffer so much. I miss freestyle, it’ll be a thorn in my side.
After having travelled to so many countries, beaches, winds… What is your favourite place in the world?
This has bee a key question! The first year I toured around Brazil, Cape Town, Philippines and some other places I came back to Fuerteventura and thought: «wait a moment, you live in a paradise! As I was from here I couldn’t realise how special and incredible Fuerteventura is: apart from the good conditions of the wind and temperature almost all through the year, here we don’t have hurricanes, typhoons nor extreme cold or hot seasons; we are never deprived of the wind for several months. We have everything in Fuerteventura and most of us don’t even realise!
My favourite place in the world? I’m really fond of Brazil and Cape Hatteras (USA), but I prefer Fuerteventura.
Which projects would you like to develop in Fuerteventura?
The ones I can speak about? I’d like to have visual projects, video and photo, about Fuerteventura from a special point of view. I’d also like to arrange some camps, one just for girls where we’ll do much more than kite. Also, keep cooperating with Hijos del Mar Club, with the technical training for the children in the island. Doutone Test around the islands… and my final project, take a van and go on a tour around the 8 islands to practise kite. Let’s see if I have the time to do all that!
What are your challenges for 2019?
In 2019 I’d like to spend more time in the island, with my family, and set in motion new projects. To start with I’ll take part in the Wake World Championship (February, Argentina) in the first event of the Kite Park World Championship (June, USA ) and in the Wake European Championship (July, Poland).