With a surfer dad and activist/artist mother, Laurel was raised with a love for sports, nature, travel, and communication. Learning to walk by chasing the ducks, swimming in the rivers and playing the in garden was just the pre-school necessary to create such a wild and free spirit.
A true wild child, Laurel was a typical rebellious teenager growing up in Southern California but stayed passionate about sports, playing at a very high level with her volleyball team. Amazingly she pulled through her crazy party stage and developed into a brilliant and motivated student. Laurel whizzed through high school and finished her first year of college at age 16.
Moving to Montana – where the pristine and overwhelmingly powerful nature dominates – changed Laurel’s life. Driven by an intense love for wild places and outdoor sports like snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking and cliff jumping, Laurel entered into four intense years of university, focusing on Environmental Studies, Education, and Spirituality.
With a shiny new degree in Human Ecology from Prescott College in her hand, Laurel wasted no time in beginning her field research, and the day after graduation she boarded a plane for Europe. From dancing on bars in Portugal to ripping the mountain in Chamonix, walking dogs in London, teaching in West Africa, guiding young travelers around Europe, filming dolphin encounters in New Zealand and extreme snowboarding and skiing in the South Island, NZ, Laurel has experienced an incredible amount of diverse cultures and lifestyles in her travels.
And then came kiteboarding, and her life would never be the same. Laurel bought a plane ticket to Hawaii, and packed in her luggage was a torn-out magazine page depicting the freedom of flying and adrenaline – Flash Austin poised above the palm tree lined coast.
Knowing not a kiteboarding soul, she arrived on Oahu and within 3 days had a job at the local kite shop selling lessons and T-shirts. The head instructor was Jeff Tobias, who immediately took Laurel under his wing and guided her development into the talented kite star she is today. After a year of hard work, teaching and training, Laurel set out once again for Europe, this time with a board bag and a dream to be the world champion.
The world cup tour in 2002 took Laurel to kite in places she never would have imagined: from lakes in Austria to the North Sea, rivers in Oregon, big waves on the North Shore of Maui to the pristine coastline of Brazil. One place caught her attention more than any other. Hispaniola, the largest island in the Caribbean, home to the Dominican Republic and the world famous kite town, Cabarete.
One thing lead to another, Laurel picked up sponsorship from Hotel Caracol where she lived and trained for the 2003 events. Hotel Caracol transformed into Millennium Resort and Spa, now it’s her permanent home. Even when she is off gallivanting around the world on her adventures, her presence is felt through her kiteboarding school, Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding.