Georgina Monti is an Ocean-loving Brit who spends most of her time kite surfing in the Caribbean.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Georgina to find out more about her adventurous lifestyle, competing in the water, meeting the Obamas, and much more.
Q: What about your upbringing do you think instilled your sense of adventure and love for the water?
A: My parents. As far back as I can remember they had my brother and I outdoors and in the water. They always kept us really active, so whilst most of our childhood friends would vacation to Disneyland, we would be on waterski trips or surf trips along the coast.
Having a brother also meant I always had someone to adventure and get up to mischief with whilst growing up. It also meant I always felt comfortable in the water knowing he was there and my parents were always on the beach.
Q: It must be so nice to be away from the horrible weather and ongoing meltdown over Brexit. Was it a big decision for you to move abroad? Or, was it relatively easy to leave Britain behind?
A: Leaving family behind is never easy and probably the hardest part about living away but I definitely don’t miss the weather. There is something really special about an English summers day, but unfortunately for me, they’re too infrequent and I just want to be in sunshine and warmer oceans.
As for the politics, as I’m British born and bred, I stay up to date with the politics and feel privileged to be in a position to vote and help make positive changes. I do feel like I’m looking at it from the outside, which helps me to view things from a different perspective where I’m not blasted with media, but I also like to keep up with the news and do my research on the current affairs.
Q: I must admit I get terrible social media envy looking at your Instagram page! Are there any parts of your lifestyle that you don’t enjoy?
A: That is a huge downside to Instagram. I live a really awesome action packed life, but in all honestly, the hardest part is being away from my family. Facetime is amazing, but time with your family I feel is one of the most precious things.
Q: You have a beautiful dog named Layla. Can you talk about Layla and any other support you’ve had in your Caribbean journey?
A: Oh, she honestly melts my soul! She’s such a cutie and you can’t beat having a happy face and wagging tail to wake up to every morning!
I am so fortunate so be surrounded by support in whatever venture I’m on. My parents and brother have always supported me and pushed me to follow my athletic goals and live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. I also have a group of incredible friends, who I also class as family both at home in the UK and in the Caribbean who are always pushing, inspiring and also keeping me grounded when things get tough.
Q: I believe you recently worked on Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson teaching kitesurfing. An opportunity that also allowed you to meet the Obamas. Can you tell us about that experience?
A: It’s an experience that is pretty high up there! You’re always told to never meet your heroes but the Obama’s exceeded all my expectations and are just truly incredible, humble and inspiring people.
I’m also incredibly fortunate to have many wonderful people here who aren’t so well known but just as important, like those at the forefront of fighting environmental issues, those who are pushing the boundaries of medical science and so many more interesting and selfless people. I feel inspired every single day.
Q: Can you name a celebrity or two – past or present – who you would love to take kitesurfing?
A: Mick Fanning. He’s an incredibly talented athlete and he seems really down to earth. I would love the chance to take him kiting and pick his brains at the same time.
Another really cool person would be Kevin Hart. It would definitely be the funniest few hours of my life and a memory that would make me chuckle every time it popped into my thoughts!
Q: You’ve competed in the World Kiteboarding League and won the Susi Mai Invitational Freestyle Competition. What is it like competing in the water? Does your show jumping background help?
A: Most definitely! Being able to get into your focused and competition mind set is key and translates across all sports from show jumping to kitesurfing.
However, there are a lot more variables in ocean related competitions compared to show jumping so competing in the water can get tricky. You’re relying on the wind conditions, wave conditions, weather and sometimes it all works in your favour, and others it doesn’t. That’s why I feel it is really key to practise in ALL conditions so you can be the best well rounded athlete you possibly can.
Q: A few months ago, you wrote a fascinating blog post on a garbage dump in the Dominican Republic titled ‘Where Does Our Trash Go?’ As someone so connected to nature, how concerned are you with the state of pollution in the oceans?
A: It’s really terrifying and despite often wanting to bang your head against a brick wall, we can all do our part and make a huge difference from picking up rubbish, changing our eating habits, saying no to plastic to even just educating one more person a day. I’ve already seen a lot of change in habits of both people and companies; it’s now ‘fashionable’ to be green, which is great!
There are also breakthroughs every day on alternatives to plastics, cleaning up the ocean, protests from schoolchildren demanding change, actions from world leaders and more. It’s so important to keep sharing all of the progress to keep us feeling inspired so we don’t become dulled down in it all.
Q: Can you try to explain the feeling being out in the water gives you?
A: It really is difficult to capture in words but I would say just magical. You’re just engulfed in this vast body of moving water that makes you feel weightless, humbled, mesmerized, calm and mainly just at home. It feels like such a natural environment and when things aren’t going right or I’m feeling down, it’s the first place I go to just wash away everything. It’s my own personal temple.
Q: Do you have any big plans or ambitions for the next few years?
A: I have some really exciting things in the works with my kiting and surfing which I would love to share with you, but don’t want to jinx them so you’ll just have to hang on a little longer!