A newly minted teenager, Gisela Pulido accomplished more at the age of 12 than legions of other athletes in her sport, kiteboarding, will ever achieve.
In kiteboarding there are two world tours, the Kiteboard Professional World Tour (KPWT) and the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA). Pulido could not participate in the PKRA Tour because they have a minimum age of 14 years, but in the summer of 2006 she received a special invitation to compete in the PKRA event at Fuerteventura, Spain, where she won her most important victory to date, beating PKRA World Champion Kristin Boese in the process.
As Pulido said: “To conquer her was one of my dreams and I surpassed that at the age of 12. Kristin is a very good rider. I always look at her videos and saw the tricks that she does. I knew it was going to be very hard to beat her.”
Pulido did even better on the other kiteboarding tour, where she not only won the KPWT Spain title, but also the global overall. In fact, she dominated it, winning by 700 points over her nearest competitor. It was her second consecutive championship on KPWT. Pulido’s dramatic kiteboarding landed her a spot on the prestigious Red Bull team.
Pulido’s father introduced her to kiteboarding. She recalls: “I always saw him flying and surfing on the sea, and I saw how much fun he was having. I asked him if he would teach me, he told me that I was crazy but in the end I convinced him to buy me a small foil of 3 metres and I began to practise on the sand. One day when I was nine I asked if I could go and practise on the water. My father put the harness on me and I started sailing.”