She holds the world record for being the first woman to kitesurf the longest distance of 250 kms when she circumnavigated Bahrain in 2014. And now she sets a new world record of kitesurfing 550 kms from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi in less than a day! Meet Anke Brandt in an exclusive interview with BTW before she took off on her kite to set the recent world record!
Tell us something about yourself: where you were born and raised, any special childhood memories?
I was born in Munich and grew up in Berlin, Germany. My dad is a seaman and would take us on sail boats from a very early age. While we were in Berlin I was lucky enough to grow up on a lake; sailing dinghies and 420s, following which life took me away from the water while I was in my teenage years. Then when I went to New Zealand I picked up kitesurfing, which made my love for water grow once again.
How long have you been here in Bahrain?
I have been living in Bahrain for a little over 5 years now and came here in 2009.
How early in life were you initiated into kite-surfing and how?
I first saw kitesurfers in New Zealand, in 2009, and was extremely intrigued and interested right off the back. I took my first kite lesson there and only really learned when I came to Bahrain in 2010.
What has been your achievements so far?
I hold the world record for the longest distance kitesurfed by a woman (250 kms) – a record she set when she circumnavigated the Kingdom of Bahrain in March, 2014. Under the umbrella ‘Kite Beyond’, Anke Brandt dares the limit for long-distance kite projects and gets involved with ‘Wings for Life’.
Who have been the wind beneath your wings?
I’m very fortunate that I have a very supportive family and friends who always push me to be the best I can be and make my dreams come true.
Tell us about the Wings for Life and your association with the organization (including the upcoming mission)
Through donations worldwide the ‘Wings for Life’ charity foundation supports clinical studies and projects with the goal of making spinal cord injury curable.
Luckily, no immediate person to me has anything to do with spinal cord injury. However, it’s more about the extreme sports we’re in that spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, and the fact that the body has the amazing ability to heal itself. If it can do that, it should also be able to heal the spinal cord, which is why it’s a cause we should get behind.
Who all will assist you in your team in the mission to Abu Dhabi?
Captain Nabeel, ‘Fluffy’ and Mohanna as kitesurfers, Dr Amy Bowzaylo from InTouch clinic as doctor, Hiba Skaini is videography, Roberta project management, Romy project management, Farah Baig PR & Communications, and photograpy different people including Abdulla Minhas, Nika Kramer and Tom Kirkwood etc. For trainer it’s Josef Czingali. GET is not only a sponsor but also part of the team because they are supporting us wherever they can.
What challenges have you faced in pursuing your missions in kite surfing?
There are always challenges in these kite missions to get them organized, enough training and wind and the right conditions. We’re fortunate that I have a very supportive family and friends who always push me to be the best I can be and make my dreams come true.
What kind of help and support do you require to engage more young people into such charitable kite surfing ventures?
It would also be great to have free support in communication and media because this is eventually where funds can come from. They are needed especially among young people, they need to basically be put out there to be able to achieve more. They require training for that they would need paid trainers. In fact, we’re thinking of a kite mission working together with a university in Bahrain where we try to teach students and also go on a long distance mission!
What is your message to aspiring kite surfers of Bahrain?
Live your dreams, be safe, take kite lessons and ask lots of questions. First and foremost check out Beach Culture and get to BISS Marine and try it first before you’re completely engaged. See if you like it and be prepared to go with the wind because even if you have magic or fascination with kitesurfing or any sports, you are with mother nature and cannot control that. You need to read it and comply with it.