INCREDIBLE KITE SURF PHOTO SHOOTING WITH SUSI MAI - VELASSARU / MALDIVES

In the southern part of Asia, in the Indian Ocean, there are well-known Maldives – a true Heaven on the Earth. I was very excited about my second visit to this place and this time the occasion was incredible kite surf photo shooting with Susi Mai, a natural talent for this extreme sport. Being titled "Queen Of The Air" her popularity is still rising.

Susi Mai in Velassaru, Maldives - Photo by Predrag Vuckovic

I will not go into details to describe this island country because I have already done it in my previous story about my first visit to this place. If you ever have a chance to set foot on any of the many The Maldive islands, don’t miss it, since every single detail there is well worth enjoying it. I was extremely lucky to get a second chance to travel the Maldives and stay on a small divine island which belongs to the south atoll, named Velassaru.
This is a small, luxury, quiet and enchanting island, made of pearly white sand, luxurious greenery and surrounded by the turquoise water, with very hospitable and amicable personnel, all of which make it one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It is a true perfection, in any sense, as it was made for relaxing, but in my case, for working, too. We arrived there to participate in a Red Bull project with one of the best female kite surfer in the world, Susi Mai, who was supposed to jump over one of the bungalow on the water.
There were ten of us in the team, two photographers, Balazs Gardi and me, a video team from Turkey and Poland, as well as the managers from Red Bull. The whole team gathered after we all landed at the airport in Male, where we were welcomed by the staff from Velasssaru island. After a 25-minute ride on a speed boat, we reached the pearly Heaven. The very next day we had a perfect set for shooting and making videos.

Susi Mai in Velassaru, Maldives - Photo by Predrag Vuckovic

The sun was shining, the clouds were stunning and the turquoise water was clear, but the main factor was missing, and that was the wind – without which it was impossible to fulfill our goal – the jump over the bungalow. Instead of 25 knots the wind reached only 5/10 knots, which was good enough only for an enjoyable and easy kite surfing but not for a grandiose jump, which had been planned. Since we couldn’t change the weather conditions we took some photos and made video shots, hoping that the weather would me more favourable the next day.

Susi Mai in Velassaru, Maldives - Photo by Predrag Vuckovic

Balazs and I concentrated on our work and made an excellent set of photos, thanks to Susi, who, as a real professional, managed to make use of the insufficient wind and yet perform a few different tricks, which, in our photos, looked as the real extreme stunts. Besides, along with Susi, the sun, the sky covered with amazing clouds and indescribable clear water contributed to the successful outcome of the photo shooting.

Susi Mai in Velassaru, Maldives - Photo by Predrag Vuckovic

The following day there was no wind at all, so the whole project started to get the different aim, which was not bad at all, in the end. We all focused on our new goals. I was determined to take some unique photos, underwater and split levels ones, because that was certainly something unusual, and showed this extreme sport from a completely different angle. In my split levels photos I especially tried to depict the details which an eye cannot catch, particularly when it comes to the action. Kite surfing is quite a new sport, which makes the challenge even greater for me. Susi is a real expert on the sport so neither I nor Balaysu had difficulty in explaining to her what we really wanted to capture in our works of art. I am more than pleased with my photos, considering the fact that I search for nothing less than perfection, even though the conditions are not always favourable, but here, on the island everything was more than just good enough.

Susi Mai in Velassaru, Maldives - Photo by Predrag Vuckovic

The video team also completed their mission and the whole story got its epilogue.
We also showed how a heavenly place such as Velassaru can be a “hell” only when it’s not windy enough to experience the extreme kite surfing excitement. That’s why Susi’s story, told through the photos and video footages, express how one remarkable sportswoman relaxes and gets ready for her next board and kite adventures.
Three days after I parted with the team and decided to stay a few more days, relaxing and enjoying every moment on the magical sandy island. After this one, I am looking forward to some new challenges somewhere, in another part of the world.
Till then...

WHO IS SUSI MAI?

Susanne Mai born on May 18, 1984 started kitesurfing at the age 18, which is a little late comparing to her Red Bull Team mate and rival G.Pulido who is yet to turn 18. Being a natural for kitesurf she took second place at her first cup competition. Only sport experience before that was the time spent on the PlayStation.

Susi Mai in Velassaru, Maldives - Photo by Predrag Vuckovic

She spent her childhood living part time in Germany and part time in southern Italy where her parents, both a windsurfers, ran a windsurfing school. She attended private Elementary- and High-school and graduated in 2002.
Among all winning in her career one of the bigest moment was winning the first King of the Air in Maui, which is considered one of the most prestigious events in kiteboarding.
So far she has been titled ‘Queen of the air’ three times and for her determination we should watch out for her in the future period.
Her popularity grows around the globe through the Red Bull Web TV channel, but also at the sites where she performs live her stunts in front of the adrenaline hungry viewers and for Global Blitz Trippin’ shows.