‘Surfin Sem Fim’ – Endless kitesurfing
What does it take to set up the world’s most prolific downwind expedition operator? A lot of energy, a true love for kiting and the desire to explore!
Images: Surfin Sem Fim / Bruna Arcangelo Toledo / Eliseu Souza / Analice Diniz
Powered only by the wind, Surfin Sem Fim’s downwind expeditions explore the wild beauty of the northern coast of Brazil, known as Terra do Vento (The Land of Wind). On these trips, groups kite along the coast of Ceará, Piauí, and Maranhão, spending the nights in idyllic settings at some of the best hotels along this stretch of coastline.
We caught up with the SSF crew to find out how the original downwind tour operator came to be!
The story of SSF began in the 90’s, when founder Marco Dalpozzo learned to kite in Preá, Ceará. At that time, local windsurfers would organise point-to-point downwind races and the idea inspired Marco.
“I wanted to find out where I could go. I wanted to experience the distances, the time, the physical responses of my body, and the mental challenge”
On his first proper downwinder, he was accompanied French pilot Vincent, who was also captivated by the beauty of the region, the warm water, and the consistency of the wind. The success of that first trip, during which they kited from Cumbuco to Flexeiras (114 km), left the two friends wondering if they could go further. They started planning a more challenging expedition to Jericoacoara, a route they figured would take three days to complete. And it worked!
It was after some night kiting on a following trip, when Marco and Vincent rode for hours in silence under a full moon, that the concept of ‘Sem Fim’ (which translates to ‘endless’ in English) kiting first entered their minds. Their speed was constant and unhurried, they felt no weariness, and they enjoyed that rare pleasure of being apart from the world.
For Marco, it was a spiritual journey and when Vincent had begun riding the waves as they cruised along the coast, they found the inspiration for SSF’s full name – Surfin Sem Fim. Literally; Surfing without end.
They then began to map the region, established different routes ranging from 15 to 1000 km and developed an efficient logistics operation. Each trip now has a captain, a co-guide, a land based crew chief and two 4×4 cars with satellite communication equipment that connects those at sea to a support team on land.
The tours now visit a selection of 19 hotels where guests rest up after long days on the water, get a good night’s sleep and eat incredible food. Their non-essential gear is delivered to the hotels by the support crew that follows their progress down the coast.
THE SSF DOWNWINDER EXPERIENCE
Ceará is an obvious location for Surfin Sem Fim. There, the wind blows 300 days a year, the water’s warm and inviting, it’s almost always sunny and there are incredible places to explore including the Parnaíba Delta, the Lençóis Maranhenses, and the various rivers that connect to the sea. There are also hidden waves and lagoons to be discovered along the way and you can kite to hidden corners of coastline that cars and even boats can’t reach. Jalila Paulino was the first woman to ever embark on an SSF expedition
“You play in the waves, do jumps and glide across flat surfaces. All of this while forging lasting friendships and building the stoke for the next trip”
There’s also a human aspect to the adventures which adds a cultural dimension to the experience. On many of the routes, you’ll pass by small native villages where the villagers are always keen to welcome newcomers and tell them the stories and legends of the Terra do Vento.
LEARNING WITH SSF
If you’re still learning or want to learn, then this region of Brazil has some ideal locations. Rancho do Kite, a school attached to Rancho do Peixe in Preá, is one of the world’s largest and best established schools. It opened its doors in 2006 and they’ve since hosted more than 10,000 kiters.
“Throughout the years, it has become more and more clear to us that kiting is for everyone. We’ve taught six-year-olds to kite, and our oldest student learnt at 74. The sport is often assumed to be difficult, but we’ve debunked that idea”.
Says Vanessa Chastinet, the co-founder of Rancho do Kite.According to Vanessa, people seem to become instantly obsessed with kiting and it soon spreads into other areas of their lives.
“Kiting ends up transforming the lifestyle of many people. It changes their way of thinking and the way they enjoy their holidays and presents new points of view about life. Many arrive out of shape but later they come back looking sportier, healthier and more alive!”
Once the students have learnt to kite and are competent, many of them then go on to join in on some of the easier Surfin Sem Fim routes.
SSF run downwind expeditions in northeastern Brazil from June through to January with numerous routes available that will suit independent riders of all skill and experience levels.
They also offer coaching clinics with some of the sport’s top wave riders and coaches including Mitu Monteiro, Willow River-Tonkin and Mallory de la Villemarque. The clinics take place in some of the world’s top wave riding locations including Peru, South Africa and Hawaii!
If you’re out to really improve your level in the waves, then the SSF clinics could be a great place to start!