Purveyor of RAD #0005 - Kate Hansen
Kate Hansen (@K8ertotx) made her Olympic Debut in Sochi this year competing in the Women's Luge Event. Some of us may wonder how a girl from sunny Southern California competes with the best Winter Athletes in the world. Kate has a passion for surfing combined with an immense competitive edge on the icy chute. We had a chance to hear about Kate's experience in Sochi and find out more about her connection to the ocean and love for getting barreled!
Check out the interview below.
Where are you from originally?
La Canada, Ca
How would you best describe 'Luging' in a few sentences?
Its a random winter sport that is really popular in Europe and you pretty much lay on this sled feet first and go down an ice track hitting up to 80 mph. We steer with our feet, shoulders, and head and dont wear any padding, just spandex. Fastest time takes the cake.
How/When did you get into Luging?
There are recruitment clinics where they have the same sleds but with wheels on them and they go around america and recruit kids. They came to Long Beach when I was 10 and my dad heard about it so we went and checked it out. The rest is history.
Congratulation on your Debut in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games! Tell us a bit about the experience on and off the chute in Sochi. High's and Low's?
Sochi was SO. MUCH. FUN. One of my favorite moments was definitely walking into opening ceremonies with team USA. It was a moment I had dreamed about for most of my life and I honestly not stop crying and crying. Another high was being able to catch the hockey games and it was honestly the best just being with other USA athletes and have the team spirit 24/7. Lows were probably the lack of sleep and we all got sick in the end cause we were cheering too loud so we lost our voices haha
Where do the majority of your training take place in preparation for major competitions like the World Champs, World Cup, and Sochi?
We are racing in Europe for 6 months out of the year. (germany, austria, norway, russia, italy...)then we are stationed out of Lake Placid, NY which is upstate. We train there all summer before the season
Surfing is a big part of the culture in Southern California. How would you describe yourself as a surfer?
I grew up surfing and if there is anywhere I would rather be, it is definitely the beach. Since I started training, surfing has turned into my escape from all the stress of racing. Whenever I come back into the country, im up at the 6 the next morning no matter what the swell is. Even if the waves are mushy, its the greatest feeling just to be in the salt water. One great thing about traveling to Europe so much is that I rack up miles so Ive been on a few surf trips in the off season.
What is the longest period you went without surfing? What was the reason?
Longest period would have to be maybe 3-4 months? I always get in a session when Im home for christmas but once we start traveling again, im at the mercy of a snowy winter. I get breaks in sep, xmas, and march and I always try and paddle out at least once.
What does your ideal beach/surf day look like?
ooooohhhh, well my dream day would be to wakeup early and getting a morning sesh in, maybe like 6-9. Come back and eat the best breakfast burrito of life, then head back out 11-1, take a beach nap and body surf and fool around, then catch the sunset for one last session. that would be the ultimate day. of course the swell would be going off and I would be with my friends and fam. but ideal is usually catch a morning session then hangout the rest of the day and head home before we hit traffic haha
What is the relation to the feeling of Luging down the Chute and Surfing a wave?
its strangely pretty similar. No wave is ever the same and you are always reacting differently each time. Its kinda like as soon as you pull into a wave and you see how its forming, you dont even think you just go for it and make it as fluid as possible. No curve is the same and its the same concept of making it fluid but you want an even line. You will never take the same curve the same way so you are always reacting. When it all connects, theres no better feeling and you just wanna go again and again.
Does surfing make you a better athlete?
Definitely. I feel like surfing is like yoga meaning its the foundation of athletics. having strong shoulders is really important for Luge, so paddling always keeps me in shape. Then the aspect of reading the waves and when to start paddling and the balance it takes helps a ton with sliding. Reading the curves, knowing when to drive and when to relax.
"dont let your dreams be dreams"- Jack Johnson
Place to take photos:
Trips you've been on:
Surfing in Indonesia, New Zealand, El salvador
Traveling for fun- Turkey, Greece, Spain
Sport (Luge) - Russia, Austria, Germany, Norway, Czech, Italy.
Least favorites --
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What are you looking forward to most in 2014?
Not having to live out of a suitcase for months on end and looking forward to actually getting in some productive surfing and not having to deal with a training schedule.