“…to be clear I don’t care if people want to post butts on Instagram, but if it’s supposed to be a kiteboarding picture I want #bangersnotbutts everytime.” – Ben Gillespie, The Kite Mag

If you’ve spent any amount of time looking at kiteboarding pictures online, I am sure you have noticed that a lot of the pictures surrounding female riders have little to do with their actual riding ability and a lot to do with what they look like in a bikini. Of course, all women are beautiful and they should be celebrated for their beauty, inside and out. But it’s sad to see that some of the most popular photos are the ones that have nothing to do with the rider’s skill on the water. I’ve noticed that some really talented riders are overlooked on Instagram because they don’t show their butts every opportunity they get. I fear that the younger generations are being negatively influenced by this. It’s time we celebrated female kitesurfers for being talented riders and not beach ornaments!

The Kite Mag recognized this problem and decided to do something about it! They started an Instagram Campaign called #bangersnotbutts, where they highlighted the very best of women’s kiteboarding. They showcased female riders from all around the world, celebrating their hard work and commitment to the sport. It was refreshing to see so many talented female riders being taken seriously for their abilities on the water, and not just for their butts in a bikini. It was also incredibly refreshing to see that this project was started by a man.

I spoke to Ben Gillespie from The Kite Mag about his campaign:

    • Where did you get the idea to start the #bangersnotbutts campaign on The Kite Mag Instagram?

A good chunk of my work for thekitemag is curating content for our Instagram feed, so I spend longer than I’d like browsing Instagram and started to get a really clear picture of the difference between the way we celebrate kitesurfing for men and for women. Not only that, but I received press releases from some brands actively celebrating female kiteboarders for their appearance rather than their sporting ability, and I thought this was a pretty shitty state of affairs. I thought it’d be cool to find a way to remind both riders and brands that we care about kiteboarding first and foremost, so I started brainstorming hashtags and eventually settled on bangersnotbutts – to be clear I don’t care if people want to post butts on Instagram, but if it’s supposed to be a kiteboarding picture I want #bangersnotbutts everytime.



    • How many ladies took part in the campaign?

I emailed all the female riders I knew and a whole bunch that I didn’t, asking them if they’d like to be involved and submit pictures. I was stoked to have about 25 really good riders get back to me with pictures they thought might be suitable for the campaign, and some bonus crash reel stuff too. Once we started the campaign up and invited people to use the hashtag we had over 500 pictures from I don’t know how many riders, which I was delighted about.


  • Did you see a change in your general interactions and feedback on Instagram during the campaign?
    • What do you predict for women’s kiteboarding in the future?
I’ve been really excited to see more power and style in women’s kiteboarding over the last few years, and I hope the support continues to exist to allow women to pursue kiteboarding as seriously as men. The GKA are doing a solid job of providing a platform, but I hope to see more brands supporting more female athletes to perform on the competitive circuit, and not just on social media.

Go check out The Kite Mag Instagram page for more #bangersnotbutts!


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