"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
Thursday, 27 November 2008
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
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
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
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.
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
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
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
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Friday, 5 September 2008
Sunday, 31 August 2008
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.