Blow Us Away Janet

by | Dec 1, 2006

gsport approached Editor and kiteboarding enthusiast Janet Lightbody to learn about a day in the life of an ‘amped’ wind-freak, and we walked away pretty impressed with this girl, who breathes life and energy in her words.

Read on to find out just what it is that switches Janet on every day, including her love of Cape Town’s Xhosa and Afrikaans cultures, her dedication to the wind and the sea, and life in general.


How old are you?

It was my twenty-seventh birthday on the 29th November!

Where are you based and why?

I live in Cape Town because it’s the most dynamic place in the world.

How long have you been kiteboarding?

Almost two years.

How did you get into it?

After returning home from living abroad for two and a half years, I was yearning to be back in the water.

Both my brothers were kiting and seeing that I love sailing and the ocean, it just made sense! I took lessons on my own and to be honest I was rather terrified!

What makes you keep on doing it?

It’s unpredictable, it’s free, no need to make reservations. Simply enjoy and wrap up when you feel you’ve had enough! It’s my time where all I hear is the wind in my ears and feel the splash of the sea in my face.

Is it an expensive or inexpensive hobby?

If you compare it to golf, motorcross and scuba diving; it’s pretty reasonable. It’s more of an outlay that a surf board, but the enjoyment is priceless.

When you’re not in the surf, what is the trigger that compels you to get down to the beach?

Chaos, work stress and feeling overwhelmed with responsibility! Out there, it’s just the ocean and I.

What are the most important safety tips in the water?

Understand your equipment. Understand the risks. Have respect for the elements.

What is, and why did you start it?

Gust magazine is a local kiteboarding and windsurfing magazine initiative which started a year ago, to promote a more ‘girl friendly’ learning experience.

We now have fifty members in the Western Cape alone and look forward to welcoming anyone with an interest in learning.

I am working on a business plan for potential sponsors to work with us to enable previously disadvantages ladies to have a go!

I started helping out the guys who started the magazine over a year ago, and next thing I knew I was running the show. It’s been a natural progression.

I am a born problem solver. I only see solutions. The website was launched in April this year and since then has grown 450%. We have in excess of 4000 visitors per week.

What is your member response?

We receive both positive and negative criticism on a daily basis. People are talking to us. We are making a difference to people’s lives.

What events does put on, and who are its sponsors?

We are part of the Beam Xtreme kiteboarding contest in Strand this December. Check out for details and be there. Some of the world’s finest kiteboarders will take part. Be inspired.

Have you had much opportunity to travel the world doing your sport?

Baby steps. That’s the big picture part. I know where I want to go! Took part in the Sodwana Bay kiteboarding contest over the weekend and finished with third place. I was pretty amped.

What is the usual response to you as a girl in your business?

“Wow and you’re only 26? It’s an honour to meet you!” I’ve had to swallow some bad stuff too like… “I’m sure her Dad’s bank rolling her!”

Those that know me well have been a part of the process and I know I inspire them to make changes in their lives. They tell me so!

Is it worth your while financially?

There’s no real reward without compromise. I’m prepared to go the distance.

Is your position unique, or are there opportunities for girls to follow in your steps?

No better time to start following your passion than now! There’s immense satisfaction in making a business out of something you love. With 2010 around the corner and the exchange rates at present, SA is the heat!

What does it mean to be a woman in today’s times?

You have every opportunity to roll up your sleeves and be a part of something great. Get involved and make changes.

What do you miss most about Cape Town when you¹re out of town?

The language (I speak Xhosa and Afrikaans) and the people. The familiarity of home and the fact that anything is possible here.


Do you exercise (other than kitesurfing)?

Gym in the morning kick starts my day – I have never been a morning person, so I am working on this. Lion’s head on a Friday after work is the best way to finish the week if the wind’s not blowing.

Do you follow a diet?

Impossible. Luckily I crave healthy stuff most of the time. I love food!

Share this article:

About the Author:

<a href="" target="_self">gsport Newsroom</a>

gsport Newsroom

Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!


Submit a Comment

Recent Posts

Recent Comments


Related Posts

Tumi Mahloko Shooting for the Stars
Tumi Mahloko Shooting for the Stars

Year of hard work is paying off for Tumi Mahloko, who has overcome her toughest challenge to date, to bounce back from a year-long injury, and be included in the South African team for the...

Natalie Barlow Makes UEFA History
Natalie Barlow Makes UEFA History

Cape Town City FC Marketing Brand Manager, Natalie Barlow, has made history by becoming the first woman in Africa to graduate from the prestigious UEFA Certificate in Football Management...