"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!"

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.