On my trip along the coast, I stayed in Icaraizinho at Pais Tropical. Alan, the owner of the Pousada and also LF distributor in northern Brazil, invited me to come to his place just between Cumbuco and Jericoacoara.
On the first day, there was a small contest of the local riders while the wind was blowing with around 30knts. I met Eudazio, Set and Romario, three insane kiteboarders from Cumbuco that simply killed it out there! However, what is even more impressive than their skills in the water is their story about how they got into kitesurfing.
This is their story, told by their “Cumbuco Local Reef” team manager Pedro:
This is the abbreviated story of three Brazilian kiters and how I came to know and eventually manage them.
Our team started from nothing, with nothing.
Eudazio, 16, Romario, 15, and Set, 14 all began kiting by helping tourists launch and land their kites in Lagoa Cauípe, Cumbuco, in exchange for 10 minutes on the kite at the end of each session. Within a year, these three self taught kiters had reached World Cup level without having ever owned even one kite between them.
My involvement as manager of the team began in early 2008 with telephone call from Set, a kid from my town, Cumbuco, asking me to take him and his friends Eudazio and Romario, to a kite championship in the state of Piauí, 500 km away. I agreed, borrowed my mum’s car and went to collect them.
We found Eudazio, sitting on a corner on the street, devastated, having no way to get to the competition. Eudazio was unaware that Set had organized a lift with me. I had very little money but big faith in God. With the fifty Brazilian real that I had, we filled up the car. Fifty real would only get us as far as my girlfriend’s town, Itarema, 200km from Cumbuco, but we went anyway. In Itarema we went straight to a friend's birthday party. My friend, whose birthday it was, introduced the boys to his guests, explained a bit about kitesurfing, their lives, and that we were going to a kiting championship with no money, just our faces and courage. Friends were moved by our faith and donated the money we needed for gas and to register the boys to compete.
We arrived in Piauí, the boys competed, and won the championship.
From then on it became obvious to me that the boys were incredibly talented and, having absolutely no resources, needed sponsorship. I needed to – and subsequently did – create a team for the boys to make this happen.
After celebrating our victory, we immediately went to talk to Pena, whose self titled brand, Pena, is very well known in the world of surfing in Brasil. We showed him some pictures of the podiums and of the team competing in Piauí. I asked Pena if he would help us to compete in the different stages of the 2009 Brazilian kiting championship. After spending some time talking to the boys, Pena spoke these words, 'you now are part of the Pena family'. The team was offered sponsored clothing and financial support for registration in all of the events in which they intended to compete in 2009!
The following week we travelled to the state of Natal for the first stage of the Brazilian championship. Once again, the team's kiting was incredible, with the boys executing one technically perfect trick after another. Unsurprisingly, we finished as champions there as well.
Thereafter, things only got better.
The AKC Championship started a few weeks on at the beaches of Jericoacoara and Praia do Futuro. Romario and Set became champion and vice champion respectively in the amateur category. Eudazio won second place overall in the FSKC (Cearense KiteSurfing Federation).
The Brazilian KPWT stage followed with Eudazio and Set, after defeating all the leaders of the championship in the preceding heats, facing one another in the final of the Junior Category. Eudazio took first place, Set the second.
The last competition of the season, the Brazilian Championship Final, was held in BeachPark Beach, Fortaleza. We had only broken, used gear and, having no transport, had to hitchhike there to compete. Eudazio was eliminated in the opening rounds, and ended up in 7th place. He then made an amazing comeback through the double elimination, defeating all of his opponents, which brought him face to face with Evandro Silva in the final. After a mind blowing heat, Eudazio won 1st place in the championship, and, at the age of 16, is now recognized as the Brazilian Senior champion.
With his prize winnings, Eudazio has managed to build a small house for his mother and family on land donated by my family to his. At the end of the 2009 season, and after reviewing the teams astonishing results, Pena called us and signed a one year clothing sponsorship contract with small monthly salaries for the team. As good things always seem to happen at once, Set, who has lived in the poorest of conditions all of his life, never having slept on a bed, was selected as a beneficiary on the national television show ‘Luciano Huck’ , in which he won a fully equipped house, near his local beach kite spot in Cumbuco.
Volkswagen, also being incredibly moved by both Set and Eudazio’s stories and results, offered them a further two year sponsorship deal for competition in international events (PKRA).