Among other efforts Rebecca campaigned tirelessly to introduce more girls to kiteboarding, and grew a benchmark instruction and tours business traqua.com when she was not competing. A large chunk of her time was spent encouraging and promoting kiters and kiting around Australia. Legitimising the fledgeling sport and access, proving it was not just for crazies and gung ho gymnasts. Retiring in 2004 satisfied to have reached the pinnacle of our sport, it is still always a priviledge to hear about her fascinating experiences, a brief outline of which are below.
Rebecca Nicholson first saw kitesurfing over in WA 1998 while she was on holidays from her science degree study and cartography work. On returning home to Cairns QLD she saw Mat Colefax, Australias 1st kiteboarder, on the water doing his thing, Mat was there during his annual winter wanderings. He made it look really fun and she was instantly hooked. So she bought a kite from Mat, a Wipika 5m Classic, 2 lines, oldschool, skills based, the real deal. And she taught herself to kitesurf with it along with more than a few bruisings. Rebecca and Mat became close friends, staying in touch during her stint as a chef aboard a luxury yacht sailing from Townsville to Darwin. To this day she may be the only person ever to kite some of those remote spots around the cape! After returning to uni and work Rebecca realised she was skipping class a lot to chase the wind... and Mat. Romance followed and so in 1999 Rebecca dropped uni and gave up her comfy career to join Mat in growing our great sport. Her awesome talent and persistence greatly accelerating the process. In the early days it was a gypsy life, with all their meagre possessions fitting into Mats beat up old Mazda wagon. Chasing the seasons and the next kiting high along the east coast together, always broke but always stoked, Rebecca was many peoples 1st glimpse of kiteboarding around Australia. Showing that brute force did not prevail and lending a style and grace all her own to this epic sport. The spartan existence was probably tough but it was free and spontaneous and truly novel.
Beck was also the 1st Aussie kiteboarder to get extensive coverage outside the tiny kitesurf media, with articles in surf mags, chicks mags, inflight mags, womens mags and mainstream media, papers, tv etc. Then the big break in the form of the Coca Cola waves of Freedom campaign - saw Beck and Mat action double for TV and cinema ads featuring kitesurfing. It is undoubtably the biggest pivotal event in kiteboarding even to this day.
Note this site has no connection with coca cola. For more early kite videos go to fascinating facts and scroll down the page.
Kiting grew exponentially, and as things got busy they settled on the Sunshine Coast as a base from which to travel and explore for kiting and grow their businesses. Very quickly kitesurf competitions sprang up around the nation, and turning up to every competition it never phased Beck to compete in the mens division because there was not a womens division... yet. Often overly macho kiters had to deal with losing to a girl. In the face of opinions like “we only print bikini girls” Beck just kept kiting better and getting results. She caught the eye of clothing co. Voodoo Dolls amongst other sponsors including Quinndecks custom boards. She also started and grew a successful kitesurf instruction and tours business traqua.com which took kite tours out to the Great Barrier Reef and had a great rap. It was by far and away the leader in its day. Besides like she said "heaven help anyone hoping Mat would teach them", soon as there was wind he was off kiting himself. Becks work ethic and experience teaching kiteboarding, as well as empathy with learners earned her the greatest respect. And she soon became qualified as Australias 1st ever IKO examiner (one who teaches the teachers). In fact the first female examiner worldwide of course.
Beck was in demand for kiteclinics around Australia as well as introducing countless girls, guys and grommets to kiting. Her reputation eventually earned her a VIP invite to teach in Turkey so giving her a chance to compete in a Kite Pro World Tour stop over there, at which she unexpectedly podium placed ! After some soul searching she decided she wanted to campaign the rest of the tour, but how? Luckily Voodoo Dolls clothing came to the party and signed Beck as their international kitesurf team rider on a humble pay which allowed her the freedom to balance training time with instruction work, so helped her progress faster and achieve top results. Her outstanding talent and dedication soon took her to the top rankings. Europe, South Africa, the Americas, Sth Pacific, around the world, travelling usually alone on tight funds, but with camraderie in each stop and a fire in her belly. Beck was driven to excel, overcoming many obstacles to pursue her passion. It was an intense and amazing journey which culminated in the 2003 Womens World Title. A 1st for Australia. A most momentous occasion.
1st womens Mambo wavesailing champ - Merimbula NSW
Best sports man (no womens div) Coolum kitefest - QLD
Best sports man Woolgooga wavesailing comp (1st Aussie wave kite event)
1st Coolum kitefest
2nd Mambo wavesailing classic
3rd Schick International kite championship - Palm Beach NSW
1st National titles womens div - Melb VIC
3rd Kiteboard Pro World tour stop - Turkey
1st Mambo wavesailing classic
1st Australian National title - Gold Coast QLD
1st Big Air titles - Gold Coast QLD
1st Australian kite league - Woolgooga NSW
1st Suncorp sports star of the year award QLD
1st Champion Kiteboard Pro World tour - crowned at the final event Noumea:
Happy to have surpassed all expectations and more than satisfied herself, Beck definitely retired while at the top.
Humble and considerate in victory Beck was quick to thank all those who helped her and befriended her on the way. Her sponsors and confidantes, and of course family. Rebecca still had dreams beyond kiteboarding so after 5 years devoted to kite, and growing a kiteboard business, and winning every Aussie mantle and finally the world title... she went back to uni to finish her environmental science degree with marine major honours. She then got married, and had 3 beautiful children, all safely born at home ! Beck's acclaimed photography business rebeccacolefaxphotography.com caters to the most discerning clients. And her work has been featured on magazine covers and features as well. For the last few years kiting has been a rarity for Beck, but she still loves it and looks forward to doing more again in the future. The kids already come out kiteboarding with Beck and Mat and yes they love it as much as their folks. Beck also does motivational talks, often to womens and schoolkids groups alongside olympians, commonwealth representatives and paralympic athletes. Sharing her own amazing path to success to inspire others.
All those who kite today have much to thank Beck for. The standards she set, the legacy she leaves, and the multitude contributions she made to our great sport. My own hope is that one day her beautiful amazing journeys make it to publication and get the recognition they deserve. Stay tuned.