When we aren’t penning informative and engaging articles to keep our readers informed of the latest tech trends making an impact around the world, we like to write about our second love – our beloved Brainiacs!
For the next instalment of our Brainiacs Passions article series, we took time out to speak to our resident Android developer, Ruslan, about his heart-racing passion for extreme sports. We already know that Ruslan brings the heat to his Android wizardry, but we wanted to find out more about what gets his adrenaline pumping when he is out of the office.
Here’s what he had to tell us about his pulsating passion for extreme sports:
Q: When did you get started with your hobby of extreme sports?
I started relatively early when I was about 15 years old. When I picked up my kiteboard for the first time I was instantly hooked. I then started wakeboarding a few years later, after I realised I was addicted to the adrenaline rush of extreme sports!
Q: What is it about extreme sports that you like the most?
It’s hard to choose one aspect which I enjoy the most as there are so many. But if I had to choose one specifically, I would say that I mostly enjoy the feeling of freedom that extreme sports give you. With kiteboarding, for example, I really love the insane abilities people can achieve using only the power of harnessed wind, as kites can take you almost anywhere along the sea.
Q: Have you entered any competitions?
I have entered two competitions so far. The first was a kiteboarding competition where I raced against about 30-40 people in a downwind sailing event. I finished in second place which really motivated me to continue. The second competition I entered was a wakeboarding event, and although I wasn’t able to make it to the winners’ podium, I was pleased with my performance and humbled by the opportunity to compete against one of Kyiv’s top riders.
Q: What is your favourite extreme sport and is there a specific technique you need to use?
My favourite extreme sport is kiteboarding – I really enjoy it! However it is not the easiest sport to pick up – it takes the average person over 10 hours of lessons to be able to start using the kite correctly. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.
For me, the best part of kiteboarding is learning how you have to use your whole body to position and move the board while having to manage your kite movements simultaneously in order to sail with the wind. It usually takes another 5-10 hours of training to be able to return to the same part of the beach where you started your kiteboarding session.
And because the wind doesn’t blow every day, people usually give up because lessons can stretch over months waiting for the right weather conditions. That’s what I like the most about the sport: not many people have the required patience and persistence. Maybe that’s why I like programming a lot too!
Q: Do you have any favourite extreme sportsmen that you watch?
My favourite extreme sportsman is Shaun White who is considered to be the father of snowboarding. For me, the most incredible thing about him is that he was able to take an Olympic Halfpipe gold medal in 2018 at the age of 31. Snowboarding requires the most nimble and malleable of bodies to jump and ramp 8-10 meters in the air while making 2-3 mid-air rotations across different planes. And the fact that he was able to do this at 31 is absolutely incredible!
Q: Where did you learn to do all of the different types of sports you do?
I was fortunate enough to work at a specialised extreme sports summer camp for a couple of seasons. A couple of my friends and I helped out at the camp and in exchange, we were taught how to develop our extreme sports skills. I spent many hours each day riding on the water and I learnt how to master my kiteboarding and wakeboarding skills. After sufficient training, we all became kite instructors and so we were not only able to ride for free, but we also started making some money teaching others.
Q: Where do you go to do these sports?
I grew up close to the sea and I return there often to go kiteboarding and to see my kite buddies. For wakeboarding, I’m fortunate enough to live close to a few wakeboarding stations in Kyiv. This is where you can find me after work. And when I want to strap on my snowboard and shred the slopes I mostly head up to the Carpathian mountains.
Q: Is there a place you’d love to visit or a sport you’d like to do that you haven’t already?
I would love to visit Australia for my first surfing experience – I just need to look out for sharks!
Thanks for the delightful chat, Ruslan! It has been great getting to know more about your passion for kitesurfing, wakeboarding, and snowboarding. It looks like you are a really talented extreme sports enthusiast and your excitement comes across in the way you speak about it. Let us know when you enter your next competition so the whole Brainiac crew can come to cheer you on!