Those who follow me on Instagram have probably seen my buddy Freddy come by. For those who have no idea: Freddy is a fish made from old kitelines and belongs to the Happy Kitefish arts of Elsa. Time for an interview with the maker of these super cute & fun kitefishes!
Who are you, where do you come from and what do you like?
“I am Elsa and I am originally from Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands. I currently live in Cadzand-bath in Zeeland (NL). I actually like everything that is outdoor, but kitesurfing is my greatest passion. When it’s not windy I like to go horse riding or just NETFLIX & chill. Or make some fish of course!”
What does Elsa do in her daily life?
“I graduated in June as an outdoor sports instructor and am working now at Cadzand Sports in Cadzand-Bad, a kitesurfing school that offers a lot of super fun other activities as well! I do everything there, from giving instructions to developing new activities. It is a small but growing company and I am proud to be part of it!”
What are kitefishes?
“Kitefishes are awesome knotted fishes made from old kitel lines. You can use them for your keys, bag or in front of the mirror in the car.”
How did you get started with kitefish?
“I broke my ankle with kitesurfing in 2016 and that recovery took a long time. Actually, for a long time I didn’t recover at all. In 2018 I had surgery on my ankle and was not allowed to walk for a long time, so I had to come up with something to do! By chance I came across a video on YouTube of someone who made koi carp fish key chains from wax cord. I thought “Yo, I should try that with kitel lines!” At one point I didn’t have that many lines anymore … So I posted a photo on the Facebook group ‘NL kitesurfers’ asking if people still had old lines. I received orders instead of old lines! That was so cool! And that’s how it started.
In the meantime, I have become better and I gave my own spin on the fish. The reason is not simpler than occupational therapy and an undeniable passion for kitesurfing! Today, it also includes recycling and re-use, of course.”
How many kitefishes have you made so far?
“Pfff, at least more than 40!”
What is the process of making a kitefish?
“Choosing colors is useful to start with, then cut the lines to length. There is a total of more than 9 meters of lines needed for 1 fish! After I cut the lines, knotting the body starts, then I make the fins & finally the tail with beads. It takes me 3.5 to 4 hours to finish a fish. If I have many orders I try to make more at once and then I divide the steps over several days.”
Do you ever make mistakes? And can you restore it or do you have to start over?
“I sometimes make mistakes, but I already recognize them before I tie the knot, so that is easy to correct. Sometimes I have to take everything back to that one knot and start over from there.”
What does a kitefish cost?
“A kitefish is 15, – excluding shipping costs!”
Do you have a future goal with Kitefish?
“I don’t really have a future goal for kitefish yet. It would seem nice to me that my fishes end up all over the world, an Australian kitefish on Bondi beach for example!”
Which kitefish are you most proud of? * cough * Freddy
“I’m certainly proud of Freddy! But besides my first kitefish, I am especially proud of my mega kitefish! I made a fish that would originally go to someone as a thank you. But because of the many hours and knots that went in it, I have decided to keep it for a bit longer. That giant fish is made of approximately 100 meters of lines !! It took me a good week to make it. By the way, I will never do that again! My hands still hurt, haha!”
Which fish was the most difficult to say goodbye to?
“So I haven’t been able to say goodbye to the mega kitefish yet, haha! But I think the kitefish I made from old PLKB lines was one of the coolest, it was difficult to make and therefore extra special. Fortunately he went to a good friend of mine in France! I have my favorite fish on my keys.”
How can people get a kitefish?
I don’t have a website or specific Instagram page yet.”
Can people outside the Netherlands also order a kitefish?
“That is certainly possible! But the shipping costs will be higher and the shipping time is often longer.”
Are old kite lines still welcome?
“YES! I especially need colored lines! The more unusual the colors, the better! I can also use white lines well.”
How can people donate kite lines to you?
“A message via Instagram or Facebook is fine, then I will send my address and in exchange for old lines you can expect a kitefish made of your old lines!”