karlie thoma

Kiteboarder Karlie Thoma uses drones too

Our latest Drone Girl profile is a little different and features someone whose profession has nothing to do with drones, yet they entered her life, which happens to be the life of a kiteboarder.

18-year-old kiteboarder Karlie Thoma recently worked with Salt Lake City-based production company Atomic City Films to film a short film about her kiteboarding.

The film was shot in Maui, Hawaii on the Autel Robotics X-Star Drone with 4K Camera. Here’s our interview:

Drone Girl: Usually I profile people who work with drones as operators, but your story is a little different. You worked with drones so they could film you! How did this whole project come about?

Karlie Thoma: I was approached by Rhett (Director at Atomic City Films) who saw my pictures on Instagram. He then contacted me to set up a time for us to meet and shortly after that we were having lunch discussing his idea of the shoot. I recommend some of my favorite spots to kiteboard. It was difficult to narrow the spots down. There were no fly zones because the beach was close to the airport. We ended up choosing a prime location on Maui’s north shore, Baby Beach.An aerial shot from an Autel Robotics drone featuring Kiteboarder Karlie Thoma in Maui. The picture is from Atomic City Film's short film, shot via an Autel Robotics drone.

DG: How many drones were up in the air each time?
KT: There were 2 drones. One of the drones actually hit my lines and the drone fell into the water. In-between breaks I went diving but did not find the drone.
DG: What was it like working with the drones?

KT: Working with the drones is tedious. It’s either you want it closer or farther from you, and it is a little difficult to communicate that while you are kiting because you are out at sea and the other guy is looking at both the screen monitor and in-person.
DG: I’m sure you watch tons of kiteboarding videos. How is this one different?

KT: This video is different for various reasons. It’s located in Maui, Hawaii voted the number one island in the world 22 years in a row, its filmed in the highest quality, the weather and the water was amazing, and I worked with such an awesome team. The video was just graceful — the kiting, the filming, everything. I’m so stoked to be a part of it.

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