"We are Sarah Sylvester and Richard Boughton, the UK importers for Jochum and Nesler, JN Kites. We sell and repair kitesurfing equipment in the UK, take part in competitions and travel the globe kitesurfing. Read all about our adventures here!"

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Taiba Finale

When we packed the 13m we didn't think we would need it in Brazil. It turned out the wind stopped completely on the first week of December. We all shared the 13m and had a blast on the empty lagoon. It was nice to fly a big predictable kite on mirror flat water.

The Brazilian Air Force also decided to give us a fly past, which was a little bit low for our liking. It was a nice way to conclude the 4 months of great conditions we had in Brazil.

Thursday, 27 November 2008


We spent a week or so of our time on the coast was spent at Paracuru. We stayed at another great Pousada just off the main square called Vila Verde.It was cheap and lived up to the name by having loads of trees and plants around. Without a doubt this was the best breakfast in north east Brazil. Delicious juice and baked stuff, fruit, eggs and all sorts.

There's also a great Cafe on the corner of the square called something like Cooperativa. Head for the pastels and arabic bread sandwiches, which were nothing short of amazing and really cheap. The Churrascaria on the square is awesome as well for meaty treats.

After nearly four months solid, we were very much winding down on the kitesurfing front during the last week, and turned attentions to the sometimes bizarre costumes sported by fellow kiters.

We liked Paracuru a lot more than Cumbuco as a town. It wasn't quite as touristy and busy and it felt a lot more like a real Brazilian town. The surfing there is excellent as well, with 4 point breaks in a row in front of the town, sheltered from the wind. I would go back for the food alone.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Barra Grande

We had heard tales of the mystical Barra Grande the first time we went up to Prea in the 4x4, but at that point we were too knackered from down-winding to drive into the next state to see what all the fuss was about. Some said it only worked at high tide, some say only at low tide. As we had already seen Jeri we thought we may as well make the effort and get up there and have a look.

So we hesitantly left Icarai after about a week with great varied conditions and terrific French food and saddled up the Gol for what was to be one of its more interesting journeys. We got to Jijoca fine with no worries and pretty quickly, only to find out that the road to Barra Grande was a bit on the unfinished side. No problems though, after a pointer from a motorcycle guide we found the road mid construction with a small service road next to it. Follow this for about 50 km in a Colin McRae Rally style, whilst dodging massive construction vehicles, and you get back on some decent gravel and tarmac. Shortly after that you cross the border into the next state, Piaui. This is the poorest part of Brazil, and it was visibly very underdeveloped. The first town we went through after the border was amazing. It had huge building sized boulders dotted around the usual basic housing and we all thought it looked a lot like the Flintstones.

On arrival in Barra Grande we were hassled by just about everybody. There are a fair few Pousadas and restaurants dotted around all aimed very much at the European kite surfer end of the market, and nowhere near enough kite surfers making the effort to go up there. The other problem is none of them are willing to negotiate on price. They all seemed a little desperate but at the same time expensive, so we opted for the Brazilian option, which was clean, functional and right on the beach. I don’t remember the name of it***, but it’s the last one on the east end of the town on the beach with red doors and windows. You could kite right out the front and they were really friendly as we were the only guests!

Barra Grande bay is a great flat water location. Low tide is much nicer than high tide, but to be honest it only gets a little more choppy. Don’t go there looking for waves, there just aren’t any. It’s shallow for a long way out with small rocky outcrops protecting the flattest water on the inside of each small crescent bay. Our Pousada was perfect for getting right in the flat stuff. It’s very windy up there. Pumping from 9am onwards when Cumbuco and Taiba wasn’t really working at all. The wind is also very clean here as well, much nicer than Prea and Jeri. For the 1st day or two we just kited outside the Pousada, after a bit more investigation we found out that there was a river mouth and mangrove about 3 miles further downwind. Only problem was, you can’t drive vehicles on the beach ***, so the only real transport option was to downwind there and then get a donkey cart back. This proved for some amusing return journeys.

The mangrove is without a doubt one of the nicest places I have ever kite surfed for flat water. It seemed to work on all tide states, although we didn’t see it at spring tides, and was just butter flat with smooth wind and also barely a soul there. We spent the best part of 4 or 5 days down there with Toby, Louse, Pascale, Chad and Nick. A beautiful location where we all progressed well.

There was also a clump of bushes you could jump as well as large strips of land. It was a great place for photos and the donkey rides home were very cool. The only thing to remember up there is to not go near the fishermen. Kitesurfing is very new up there and they seem a bit sensitive of people ripping around their mangrove. They were only there early morning so for the most part we barely saw them.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Icarai Monkey Business

We arrived pretty late at night to discover that there was a windsurf regatta on (bad news) and most of the accommodation was full. After driving round in circles for a bit and disturbing an incredibly stoned man in a hammock we found a small family run place on the beach which was built completely of drift wood and had a fishing boat somehow attached to the front as a feature of the bar. The whole place felt like it would fall over if you stood in the wrong place and some of the floorboards moved a worryingly amount underfoot. It was a very cool place that eventually got nicknamed ‘Ewok village’. Other interesting features included the town gym, also run by the same family, being just next to our rooms so we had muscled Brazilian men dressed in day glo lycra pumping iron to the latest commercial dance tunes until 11pm every night. The kids ran the bar and pool table and would dish out beers and peanuts. There were chickens everywhere.

We kite surfed at low tide on the upwind point of the village which was a short walk from the Pousada. It was a lovely spot, protected by a shallow dead reef in front of some old fishing gates. It made a great backdrop and the wind was very smooth. There were about 4 or 5 windsurfers blasting about who seemed very aggressive towards us. In fact a small blonde woman shouted ‘Get out of my way Mother f**cker!’ at Toby. I also managed to have a small altercation with a French kite surfer who was screaming at Sarah for no apparent reason. This put us off using this area a bit, but we went down the next day to discover they had all disappeared, and we had it to ourselves again. Later we discovered that the windsurf centre was under the impression that they owned the entire ocean and didn’t like having other kite surfers there, explaining the random expletives and gesticulation. All in all it was an incredible spot. High tide also made for a nice beach break.

The next problem we discovered was a slight lack of food in the village. Initially we survived on chicken on a stick from the street vendors round the corner, which was delicious.

It was coming up to full moon and the family wanted their spare rooms back as they were having some friends round for a party, so we were out on the street. We ended up staying at another place owned by the woman in the supermarket, who also owned the restaurant. We could see a recurring theme here.

The next morning Chad, Pascal and Nick arrive out of the blue. They had driven all the way up there following a one sentence email from me saying we had wind, apparently there was very little in Cumbuco. They had very much landed on their feet and had found space at one of the French Pousadas, and had also had the foresight to find us a bungalow to stay in as well. What really clinched it was tales of fantastic food. By this point we had discovered that man and woman cannot live by chicken on a stick and sardines alone.

We settled into Pousada Malea, which was one of the best places we have ever stayed. A shining example to all European Pousada owners. It was run by a lovely French couple and their French servant boy, Seb, who we think was working for food and a roof over his head. Every night we had a fantastic sit down family meal with local food and friendly conversation. The breakfasts and lunches were also equally as incredible, and what’s more good value. It was exactly what we needed after chicken on a stick diet. The rooms were great as well, with big fluffy towels for Sarah. Two mischievous monkeys also lived here called Capi and Rinha. They bit us, pulled our hair and one morning they also hung off a lamp shade and crapped on the breakfast table which was an amusing addition to the morning.

The other good news was that they had a buggy, and weren’t afraid to use it. Seb would get 10 people plus equipment and small children onto the buggy and tank off downwind to another protected reef spot. This time it had waves. Small waist high reef breaks that funnel into the beach with perfect cross shore wind and flat water in between. A fantastic spot which we used for a couple of days, followed by sunset sessions at the upwind point to annoy the windsurfers. The tide was really high at this point and the water was eroding the windsurf centre. Justice.

Seb suggested a bit of an adventure and offered to take us to a secret lagoon. So we saddled up two buggys this time and headed off for 2 hours drive across a mangrove, several rivers and a set of dunes to an amazing, huge flat water spot. It was huge and a little inland, but the wind was very stable. There was nothing there apart from a few grazing cows, donkeys, the odd goat and us.

We all had an awesome session here. Including some comedy jumping of sandbanks and painful spiky weed experiences.

We reluctantly left the amazing cooking and headed on a few days later. I am sure we spent 10 days in the Icarai comfort bubble. An amazing place we hope to go back to one day.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Chad was a straight up wave ripper who kites Cape Hatteras. We met him when he arrived from Florida to join the bizarre love triangle. This man could push the ocean backwards and jump 1000 ft in the air over almost any obstacle. We hope to head out to Hatteras at some point to jump some sand, and smash some waves - Chad style.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Taiba Revisited

By the end of the month we had a complete overdose of Cumbuco. It was getting to peak season and the beach as well as the lagoon was getting extremely busy. We needed escape so with some old friends of Sarah’s, Toby and Louise, we decided to hire a trusty VW Gol (Thank you Tina from Cumbuco Rent-a-Car) and head off up north for the last month of the trip in search of a bit of space from the marauding masses and room to train.

We didn’t go too far to start with, about an hour up the coast to Taiba where we had been before. Taiba lagoon in the mornings was really deserted so we spent a good week or so there doing an early morning sessions. Sarah really progressed fast here, and we both discovered we both thrive on a bit of space. In the afternoons we all trooped back upwind and Toby and I would head out into the waves just downwind of Taiba town. Consistently there is a nice cross/cross on shore beach break there with enough space to pull some freestyle shapes in the flat water as well.

We stayed at our old favourite, the Taiba Inn which is a family run Brazilian place right on the beach. It’s cheap, clean and breakfast watching the surfers was consistently brilliant. The coffee is also bloody good here.

Before we came to Brazil, everyone we spoke to said something about gun crime and up until this point we had seen no crime at all really. It had to happen at sometime! On one of our morning sessions at the lagoon whilst I was training Sarah a buggy pulled up about 30 metres away. I took no notice of this at all until four big Norwegian guys came running towards me as the buggy roared off into the distance towards Paracuru. Apparently what had happened was two guys had approached them from beyond the dunes with painted faces armed with a gun and a knife and had basically asked them for all their money, anything else valuable and their buggy. They sensibly had agreed to everything and had come away unhurt but with no cash or transport. It was a good wake up call for us all security wise. It’s very easy to get complacent. I drove them all into town to try and find them a way of getting home, and we miraculously found a Brazilian guy that spoke perfect Norwegian. A crowd of about twenty Brazilians gathered in the fish market. Someone called the police, someone else got them all a beer and within 5 minutes everything was sorted out and they were on their way back home with a free lift. When things do go wrong in Brazil you can almost always rely on the kind-heartedness of the locals. You would rarely get that much help from complete strangers in Europe.

Good food in Taiba included a newly opened English place http://revolutionkiteboarding.com/. We had some nice Pizza and beer in a pretty terrace there, it’s very well hidden though. There was also a great but very bog standard Brazilian fish meal on the square on the right.

The wind decided to die off a bit, so we came to the decision to head up to Icarai which was somewhere we passed on the mammoth 4x4 down-winder that looked worth exploring.

Friday, 7 November 2008


Being another Canadian, with beady eyes and a flapping head all full of lies (to quote South Park), Nick turned up brandishing several cans of maple syrup. Pancake mayhem ensued and after this, we ended up teaching him to Kitesurf. His progress was fast and and bulbous. He did his country proud and has since received awards from the likes of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams as a mark of respect from his people. Jokes aside I have never seen anyone come on so well in 2 weeks – he was busting 15ft airs before he went home. His equipment definitely helped though. Snarf, snarf!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Leander's Video

Whilst Leander was around for the KPWT we helped him shoot at bit of video up at the small lagoon at Icarai. He has used some of the footage in his profile video, have a look below. He is competing at the final KPWT in Morocco at the moment. Good luck dude!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Richie's 26th

After a comedy day at the water park, we came back and embarked on a lobster barbecue of epic proportions. Mayhem ensued including house climbing, and various items being throw into the swimming pool. 

Big thanks to Bibi and Jona for paying for that deck chair, it made the night so much more fun. Also a huge thanks to Eva for not letting then throw the TV out.

Pic: Leander training hard for the KPWT

Pic: The Reverend JT playing pool

Pic: House climbing practice. Followed by sun chair off balcony

Sunday, 5 October 2008


We first met Pascale when she rocked up and asked us for a pump. When she proceeded to set up her kite upside down we knew we had a problem. 

I wouldn’t dream about mentioning a 200m Switchblade dragging resulting in some very nasty friction burns and some mild shock. She was extreme in all aspects of her life, specially partying and kite surfing. Once we all got her to calm down a bit, her kiting was awesome as well busting some crazy back loops and violent jumps in a frantic Canadian style.

Pascale did her level best to destroy the lovely new kite that Dani brought over from spain for her. As far as we know it's still all OK.

She's going to kill me for putting that last one up. We miss you Pascale 'Danger' Deschamps.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Kiwi Speedo Madness

Rob the Kiwi had become something of a local legend by this point, after living in Cumbuco for 4 months straight and ripping the piss out of literally everyone (diplomatic immunity revoked) a few of us decided that before he left, it was time to get one back on him. So during a trip to the Fortaleza night market, a plan was hatched and an undersized orange purchase was made. When presented with his Speedos he gracefully accepted, got them on and knocked out some good wang shapes. 

Since then someone has entered the footage in a competition for an ice cream commercial in New Zealand, meaning Robs parts have at last gone global. We always thought they might.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


A breath of fresh air in Cumbuco is someone that doesnt kitesurf. Katy the Canadian arrived a confused girl, and left slightly more confused. She tempted us to the mountains on a weekend away from Cumbuco kitesurf fever. This mainly involved driving, and staying in an extremely bizarre German owned hostel in an African themed room with stolen beer from next doors mini bar. 

Katy was a pro bonnet rider, krumper and p-popper. We learned a lot about hip hop culture from her. A sense of humour is a precious thing.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


We spent pretty much every morning for two weeks straight going down to Cauipe early and getting a couple of hours uncrowded riding in before the hordes turn up at about 11am. Initially it was great as we got some new moves nailed and its good socially.

Pic: Sarah's railey development.

After a couple of weeks though you realise the reason your eyes are bloodshot is because the water is pretty dirty. I also started to develop kite rage as you have to wait for ages for space to do your moves. After freeriding in such nice uncrowded places for so long back home, it starts to drive you a bit mental.

Pic: Classic Sylvester frontloop grab with a downloop.

Two weeks straight of kitesurfing for three hours a day ruins your body as well. Knees and ankles start to give up, and you suffer from constant whiplash! All in all we got a lot of stuff sorted out, specially with Sarah's freestyle, but in the end it got frustrating being in the same busy place all the time. This was a real groundhog day. As peak season hit, it was even busy in the mornings with 35-40 kites plus. We needed a bit of a change!

Pic: Kiteloop supreme (Thanks to Jordan)

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


This week the KPWT came to town which meant loads of Pro riders everywhere and some seriously good competitions to watch. We went down to keep an eye on our new JN buddy Leander and act as his kite bitches for the day. If a kite needed pumping, lines needed preparing, or his helmet needed buffing we were there to sort him out, and get some pictures. He ended up ranking a very respectable 2nd in the Kite Pro World Tour. See www.leandervyvey.com for the cheeky scamp's website.

Pic: The Pantene brothers
Jokes aside it was good experience for both of us to watch the competition. Its a bewildering and stressful environment at the best of times! We also bumped into Mitu and Tik Tik, who we worked with in Cape Verde. It was great to see them, although they were not impressed with the waves compared with home, and rightly so.

Pic: Leander is very good at kitesurfing

The next day the freestyle finals were held in the lagoon at Cauipe. The Brazillians completely rocked and the atmosphere was amazing with so much local support. Was good to see the local guys completely kick ass and get some well deserved recognition.

Pic: The brazilians completely stole the show

It was also great to see Frango man sell so many sandwiches, he probably had a week off afterwards.

Pic: Frango man - purveyor of quality kite snacks

Friday, 5 September 2008

North Eastern Brazil Road Trip

So over the last week or so we have taken it upon ourselves to go on a bit of a mission up the coast to Jeri. We never made it to Jeri unfortunately as we had no idea what a bloody long way it was. I think we are going to leave it until the PKRA is on up there in late September.
Paracuru is the first major spot north from Cumbuco after Pecem. It’s an awesome little spot. Reminds me a little bit of our home spot back in Bantham. Flat water on the inside at low tide, and then large waves on the reef. A really perfect location, other than the fact it was completely overrun by Italians. We had one really good day there, but the second day was so busy we nipped off early. I really want to go back there in a couple of weeks when the Italians are all back to work! The wave riding was great, nice long waist high waves in both directions. Made me want my surf board.

Taiba was a weird place, it looked like a ghost town. A classic example of where foreign investment can go horribly wrong. Apparently, BEST kiteboarding had bought an enormous plot here, and built a giant wall round the outside of it. It looked hideously out of place and really dominated the landscape. Have a look on google earth. It’s insane. There were other Pousadas dotted around half finished. You could see how much confidence there had been in the area. So the problem? We got down to the lagoon and it was tiny, with barely any water. Someone had literally pulled the plug out. It could support 4 or 5 kites maximum. The one thing the Brazillian government don’t let you do is mess with Lagoons. No dams, no bulldozers. So I guess all the investors have to wait and see if the water and the kite surfers decide to come back.
This is a really cute Brazillian seaside town, not unlike Broadstairs in Kent. Kiting in the village was total bullshit - way too gusty . The accommodation was really nice, but there was a massive street party all night right outside, and we were way to knackered to join in. We headed 20 km up the beach to the small lagoon north of Lagoinha. This was a really cool little journey along the beach. We crossed a river with the car on a tiny raft pulled by a very butch woman. It was a bit sketchy to say the very least.
We both had really good sessions here and I got my F16 back after a couple of weeks of going easy on my shoulder following a little shallow water dislocation at Bantham. Sarah also ‘had it large’ so to speak, and was pulling shapes left, right and centre. Unfortunately one of the guys we were up there pushed the envelope a little too far. He managed to time a jump badly and came down very hard in not a lot of water and hurt his ankle. It had swollen up like a balloon by the time we were back in Flexeiras. Two days later we heard he had gone to the hospital and had an X-Ray and it was well and truly broken. A slightly crappy start to his month’s holiday.
Next stop on the Austro-Germanic-Anglo-Saffer tour was the hotly promoted investment opportunity of a lifetime which is Isla da Gaujiru. See www.theflatwatersea.com for grade A investment bullshit.
Pic: Don't be fooled. It's a god awful place to kitesurf.
So firstly, they got the name wrong. It’s actually called Isla da Barra. Isla de Gaujiru is about 10 km west, and there is also another place called Guajiru on the way from Cumbuco. Nice and confusing. The marketing man didn’t think about that one. I mean, if you are going to rename something at least do it properly. I can see lost kite boarders all over the coast.
The wind comes over from the mangrove to the east of the lagoon, which is more of an inlet so it’s seriously lumpy. I have had cleaner wind in offshore locations.
The tide runs in and out at a fair old rate of knots, making it very difficult to pop properly. It also makes the water really choppy, that sort of small, high density chop that leaves your knees in pieces with 10 minutes, and alleviates any chance of your kite boarding progressing.
At low tide it’s bloody shallow, and as the water is a little cloudy it’s hard to judge the depth. So you don’t really know what you are landing on and in.
All in all it was a really uninspiring place to kite surf. I can’t believe the hype they have generated in Cumbuco about it. I was expecting some sort of kite surf Shan Gri La. I ended up with cut feet, and a lot of frustration. I would rather stack up €120,00 in a pile and burn it, perhaps toasting a few marshmallows whilst I was at it than buy a plot there.
On the plus side, it was extremely windy there. Realistically 6m or 7m weather from 10 in the morning onwards. So try and run a school there and you are going to destroy a lot of kites and people’s confidences.
So as you can tell, I wasn’t over enamoured by the place. We were only there for 2 days, so I am only drawing conclusions from that time we spent there. We will go back and check it out again at a later date. If the wind changed direction 20 degrees more northerly, it would paradise. I think it’s very unlikely to change. Rant over.
We had a really ropey drive home on Sunday night. The Brazillians enjoy their weekends by getting shitfaced at the lagoons and driving around. So you get a drunken rush hour at about 5pm before it gets dark and the carjacking starts! We won’t be making the mistake of driving on a Sunday night again
All in all, it was a great few days road trip and it’s given me the taste for more highway adventures in bad cars. The plan for next week is to go south of Fortaleza and check out some spots there.

Sunday, 31 August 2008


Well we got here with all 120 kilos of gear and it’s incredible. We have got into a repeat pattern of getting up, eating boiled eggs and waiting for the wind to kick in at about ten. We then both saddle up on our 9m PD2s launching straight in front of the apartment and trot off downwind.
On the way downwind there is a mixture of chop, various waves and flat sections. I normally head for the waves and smack the lip about 50 times on the way down to the lagoon. The down winder acts as a relaxed warm-up to aid egg digestion and shake off any Caipirinha induced hangover. It’s about 30 or 40 minutes, but I usually get distracted if the waves are particularly nice, and wave ride for a little longer.

So 6 km downwind, you hop out of the sea, walk across a small stretch of sand and you get to Cauipe. It’s a mid size shallow lagoon, which is perfect for freestyle. This is where all the Pro’s hang out, and it can get a bit hectic, but hit it right and you can have a really good session. All that flat water is great for progression, and being surrounded by ridiculously good riders also helps push you a bit. You can also get a plate of fried cheese balls for about £3, beer, fresh coconuts and other local delicacies.

When it’s time to go home, you hop in a beach buggy. These are a bastardised VW beetle which look like something out of mad max. Our latest driver took us the back route home by the sand dunes as he was avoiding the police.

I think we are really going to enjoy it here. We are looking forward to a bit of a road trip north in the near future.