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Contributing to our great sport at a level far beyond the scope of just competition, and in a selfless manner that must be revered, Rebecca left an indelible mark on kiteboarding as a lifestyle. A subtle yet strong shaping of what everyone knows as kiteboarding today. 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. Legitimizing 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 always a priviledge to hear about her fascinating experiences, a breif 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. She recalls being intrigued even though it looked hard. On her return home to Cairns QLD she saw Mat Colefax - Australias 1st kiteboarder, on the beach where she lived. Mat was visiting TNQ during his annual winter wanderings. He made kiting look so super fun and smooth that 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 after 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 all around Australia together, always broke but always stoked! Rebecca was many peoples 1st glimpse of kiteboarding around Australia. Showing that brute force did not prevail she lent kiting a style and grace all of her own. The spartan nomadic existence was probably tough but it was free and spontaneous and truly novel. Few will ever experience anything like it. Together Beck and Mat lived their dream.
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 kitesurf history, videos etc go to fascinating facts m8kite.com/?a=54 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. 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", because soon as there was wind he was off kiting himself. Becks impressive work ethic and experience teaching kiteboarding, as well as great empathy with learners earned her the greatest respect. And she soon became qualified as Australias 1st ever IKO examiner (one who teaches the teachers). likely the first female examiner worldwide.
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 unsurpisingly 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. This helped her progress faster and achieve the top results of the time. Her outstanding talent and dedication soon took her to the top rankings on the tour!. Europe, South Africa, the Americas, Sth Pacific, around the world, often travelling alone on tight funds, but with camraderie everywhere 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 - final event Noumea:
1st Sports Star Hall of Fame for Kiteboarding - Sunshine Coast
Happy to have surpassed all expectations in reaching the pinnacle of pro kiteboarding. and more than satisfied in 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. She then got married, got pregnant and now has 3 kids, all of whom were 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 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.
Beck wasn't confined to the water for her kiteboarding triumphs, even summitting Mt Kosciuszko with her kite! During one of our annual snow kiting trips Marcus Lovett of snowshowTV produced this national to air TVshow. Credits Marcus Lovett. Production - Snowshow www.snowshow.tv
REBECCACOLEFAX.COMIn recent times Rebecca rose the top of the photographers guild for portraiture and has been awarded many accolades by the AIPP and associated for her professional portrait photos. She was flown to South America to teach and present as a global authority on the subject. She is a partner in our xplor4 enterprise and, she is also currently the General Manager at Earthtech global where she drove the inaugural 'EarthTech' youth challenge, leaving yet another lasting legacy!
SPORTS STAR HALL OF FAMEIn 2020 Rebecca acheived another milestone for the sport and her trophy wall. As the 1st kitesurf inductee to the sports star hall of fame for Australia, at the Sunshine coast. Up there alongside our greatest sportsmen and women she is a shining accolade of the highest order, a very well deserved recognition.
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 around the world and around our own great nation will make it into publication, to share and receive the widespread publicity and attention they deserve. Truly those pioneering adventures are breathtaking. Stay tuned.