My name is Kemal Işık and I am a software engineer at UberCloud and a kitesurfing instructor. I always want to develop something that nobody ever did before. When I was choosing my University and major, I saw software engineering and I thought I could accomplish my goal. I lived in İzmir/Turkey for 24 years and now I live in Gdansk because I am studying for my Master’s degree (Robotics and Control Engineering) in Politechnika Gdanska.

I love to do kitesurfing outside of my job. In 2007, I saw a couple of people who were doing kitesurfing; at that moment, I said I am going to do that one day. The first time I went kitesurfing was the summer of 2008. I got an opportunity at Kite-Turkey kitesurf school – they wanted to train instructors and riders at that time, so I attended the course there. After 6 hours of training, I started to ride and I felt the complete freedom for the first time. After the training, I started to work with them as an assistant instructor.

My biggest inspiration is Nick Jacobsen when it comes to the kiteboard because generally he does all the craziest things, and I think that it is the best way to have fun and get the adrenaline you need at kitesurfing. The thing I love the most about kitesurfing is the feeling of freedom and adrenaline.

I’ve never been at a kitesurfing spot outside of Turkey, but the best one in Turkey is at Gülbahçe/Izmir. That spot has strong wind, a separate training area, and a huge freeriding area. For the people who want to try some freestyle tricks, there is enough space without waves.

My most memorable experience was in 2015 when I was working as a kitesurfing instructor in Izmir at Prokite Surf School and I had an English family as students. During their last lesson, the water was too hot so I didn’t wear a wetsuit. In the middle of the lesson, a jellyfish got into my boardshort and it stung me. I felt a burning inside of my boardshort, so I grabbed the place that was burning and it started to burn more. I left my students (the children of the English family) to my assistant and started to run to the shore, but I was running right to the parents of my students. When I was too close to the shore, I detached my harness and threw it to the shore. Luckily, my students’ mother was a nurse and she helped me. But I will never forget that day and after that day I have decided, no matter how hot the sea is, I am going to wear a wetsuit!

I have worked as kitesurfing instructor and assistant instructor for all my education during the summertime, but for the future, I will only do kitesurfing as a freerider in lots of different spots. I can’t say that being an instructor is a bad thing – it is so fun and fulfilling to teach someone, but I just want to do it myself because it takes too much time and I also want to make a difference as a software engineer.

I think that kitesurfing has been a benefit to my technological career. Generally, I cannot sit still too long, and that is the worst thing you can have if you are working at IT. Kitesurfing helped me a lot because, after 1 or 2 hours of riding, I can work without losing concentration for hours.

My advice to anyone looking to take up kitesurfing is to simply start a course and do it. The feeling the first time you ride, you will never forget it. Tech is important but the adrenaline or the feeling of freedom is always at the top and I recommend all the people who work at IT to do or start any of the extreme sports.

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