From pilot to paddle-boarder, this Thai hunk lives for the sun & sea

Written by:

Yen Feng

Yen Feng

Yen is the editor of asia.gay. You can reach him at editor@asia.gay.

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Born in Sakon Nakhon province, a small town in northern Thailand about a 1-hour flight from Bangkok, Chakrit has had a pretty well-travelled life. At age 27, he is already married to the love of his life, having met him in pilot school in Spain, and lived in Hong Kong after setting up a language school there.

Now he is back in his beloved Thailand, living in Bangkok, with plans now to open up a small gym with his friends. For such a busy man, Chakrit has found a new sport which he says allows him to decompress and find peace and calm – paddle-boarding.

What’s a pilot doing on a paddle-board? The two actually aren’t that different, says the Thai.

Here’s my interview with him. Enjoy!

Name: Chakrit Phalapuk
Age: 27
Height/Weight: 177cm/68kg
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Nationality/Ethnicity: Thai
Sexual orientation: Gay
Home: Bangkok, Thailand

Tell us about your ambition to be a pilot. How did you discover this passion? 

Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to fly and I always knew that I would be a pilot someday. I was born in a middle-class family in Thailand, and to fly on an airplane was something of a big deal back then. You could say that I am an aviation geek. I would get excited every time that I was about to fly, and I would know all the types of airplanes and how the planes’ engines worked.

I was really fortunate because I was able to study in a pilot school in Barcelona. Studying aviation and living abroad was very hard, especially at first. Most people in Spain don’t speak fluent English, so it was not easy to make friends at first when I arrived. I also missed my Thai food very much, which is something I didn’t expect to affect me that much. 

On the other hand, I enjoyed very much every minute in the cockpit. I would spend quality time talking with my flight instructor before the flight planning trip, and especially while flying above the beautiful Spanish landscape. It was a great learning experience. I also met many amazing people who shared common interests with me during my time at the flying school.

How did you end up doing business instead? What business do you do?       

Then I met my husband, who is a Spanish. We have been together for about seven years now. We got married in Spain about five years ago. We love each other and we both believe in equal rights for any gender. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to marry in Spain, as most gay people around the world (including people from Thailand) don’t have that fortune.

Getting married while being gay is not only two people showing the world that they love each other, but also to let world witness a new era of justice and human rights.

My husband and I started a business together. It is a small language school. We teach Spanish and French. The company is in Hong Kong as my husband studied his Master’s degree there. We lived there until business started to grow and got stable, so I am now free to spend most of my time here at home in Bangkok, where we both wanted to live.

I also invested in a small restaurant in my hometown with my family selling “Yum”, a popular dish of spicy seafood salad, among other local dishes. It’s very rewarding to empower my family and to serve the local community of university students here, where the restaurant is.

The other big passion of mine is fitness. Soon, I hope to open a small gym in Bangkok with friends. I am sure that this will open a new and exciting period of my life. But due to the current pandemic, we will have to delay it for a little bit until things are more stable.

You mentioned you also love paddle-boarding. How did you get into that and what do you love about the sport?       

My favourite sports are water sports. I do like surfing sometimes. Surfing is a little bit more extreme than paddle boarding, as paddle boarding is more calm and peaceful – though, it still requires fitness strength.

I only started to be interested in paddle boarding very recently. As our business was growing bigger, we were fortunate enough to have more time and the ability to travel to many beautiful beach destinations where I discovered my interest in this sport. I always think that paddle boarding is a kind of sport which you can practise relaxing your mind, something like yoga.

When I paddle, I can put my strength and muscle into paddling while emptying my mind and enjoying the small waves of water and the blue sky. Unlike surfing, which will need you to focus more on the board, waves and which way you are going. I tend to go paddle as much as I have free time, usually on the weekends. I would drive to the beaches that are not far from Bangkok, or I would fly to southern Thailand, which is full of beautiful islands for me to explore. 

What is it about flying and being in the water that makes you feel happy?

I guess for both things, it makes me the happiest to see the sky and be in contact with nature. I am always a dreamer. Being under the sun and beautiful sky gives me good vibes and energy. Both things require mind concentration and skill, and both let you be in contact with the nature and the earth.

Flying and paddle boarding seem far from each other but they are not. Controlling an aircraft and steering a paddle board works the same way conceptually – both take you to your destination, your passion.

Find peace, calm and strength with Chakrit on his Instagram, as he continues his adventures on the beach and setting up his own gym in Bangkok.

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