The Surfin Sem Fim team went to check out the 2018 GKA Kitesurf World Tour Championship in Cape Verde that happened for the first time on the beach of Ponta Preta between February 16th-25th, located on Ilha do Sal, or “Salt Island”.
throughout the week and good wave and wind conditions. In the men’s category, the highlight was the local Airton Cozzolino, who was the champion of the first leg of the GKA World Tour.
The heats got started with a bang, with a victory to the Brazilian Pedro Matos over Matchu Lopes in the first heat.
The locals had a big crowd of fans on the beach, where everyone was very proud to see Airton win the championship at home. The Brazilians also represented well, and secured a place on the podium. The Salt Island was a great celebration, as people from all over the world came to see the event.
1: Airton Cozzolino (CBV / ITA)
2: Keahi DE Aboitiz (AUS)
3: Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA)
4: Pedro Matos (BRA)
1: Moona White (USA)
2: Jalou Langeree (AMS)
3: Ines Correa (POR)
Cape Verde is an archipelago formed by 10 small and mountainous volcanic islands in the central region of the Atlantic Ocean, 9 of which are inhabited, as wells as many other small, uninhabited islands. They can be divided into two groups:
To the north, you have the Ilhas de Barlavento: Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia (uninhabited), São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Visto. To the south are the Ilhas de Sotavento: Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava. The largest islands are Santiago, where the Praia is located, the capital of the country, and the island of Santo Antão. Praia is also the most populated area of the archipelago, followed by Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente.
The islands were explored by the Portuguese and were also visited by Charles Darwin during an expedition in 1832. The official language is Portuguese, but the national language, the language of the people, is the Creole.
There is an active volcano on the island of Fogo, which is also the highest point of the archipelago, at an elevation of 2829m.
The archipelago of Cape Verde has an arid and semiarid climate. The “Canary Current” moderates the temperatures there. The yearly average is rarely higher than 25°C and does not fall below 20°C. The temperature of the sea water varies between 21°C to 25°C.
The rainy season, from August to October, is very irregular. There is generally a poor amount of rainfall, especially on the islands of São Vicente and Sal, where there has been a drought for several years. The windy season is between November and February, and is characterized by its constant wind, the kite size most used will be probably the 9. The so-called “Bruma Seca”, or “Dry Haze”, is brought by the harmonic wind from the sands of the Sahara.
“Salt Island”, or Ilha do Sal, is the most distinctive due to its arid landscape and production of salt in the region. You are guaranteed good winds and waves here, for those who love surfing and kitesurfing. There are excellent lodging options at the charming Odjo Hotel and unforgettable tours. You can go to the Espargos and see the famous Salt of Stone of Lume – which gave name to the island, before to passing to the crater of the volcano. It’s not only the scenery that is special— enjoying the salt baths is something very interesting; in the beginning everything seems normal, but suddenly your body seems weightless and begins to float.
Another one of the island’s attractions is a natural pool in the middle of a rock formation, known as Buracona, where you can go for a good dive. Around noon you’re able to see the blue eye – where the sun penetrates in the darkness of the cave, giving it a great tonality. You can also take an ocean tour passing through a ship wreck, which sunk almost a century ago. Sal has no agriculture or industry, and thrives exclusively off of tourism and fishing.
Be sure to try the famous Cachupa dish of corn and beans, and the local fruits of Calabaceira and Tamarind. The national beer “Strela”, the famous local punch, and the Clã wine, are produced in the Island of Fogo. The evenings can be spent at bars and good restaurants, as well as the many shops full of local items- perfect for enjoying the starry skies 🙂
The big news is that there are two weekly flights that leave from Fortaleza directly to Ilha do Sal, by TACV company (3h40m), with fares starting from $250.00 round trip. For this reason, between January 19-26, 2019, the SSF has an exclusive one-week group Coaching to help evolve your kiting with Mitu Monteiro.
The Coaching includes the daily rate at a charming hotel, 5 days in the water with the champion, daily briefing on personal performance, transfer to and from the airport, Kitebeach downwind to Santa Maria with Mitu, with an opportunity to test out the F-One boards and more.
But the best way to enjoy Cape Verde is to extend the holidays and go beyond Sal island! Stay, enjoy and practice the sport around the different islands, like in the beautiful blue water island called Boa Vista or even venture to the Island of Santo Antão. The flights are daily and cost between 150 to 220 EUR, departing from Ilha do Sal (1 hour maximum trip to arrive in another paradise).
In the case of Santo Antão the next stop is São Vicente, with another 1 hour trip by boat with a unique landscape as your view. There is a mountainous terrain at an breathtaking altitude of 2500m and a very interesting history. Arriving in Porto Novo, the biggest urban center of the island, you can get a local van (4 EUR) and go explore the mystic landscape, with an average of 1.5 hours of travel to one of the valleys of the region.
The Paúl Valley is where you can find the main cultures of the island. It’s located in an area surrounded by waterfalls and the dense vegetation of paparias, mangoes and banana trees. Sugar cane is produced on this island, a plant used to make Grogue, a type of Cabo Verde rum. It’s produced in mills and distilled with firewood. They also cultivate a lot of corn, yams, cassava, beans and coffee.
Visitors can spend the whole day on intense hikes, but the best known trek is the descent from the crater. It’s amazing to view this unique landscape, with a 2 hour walk to the most charming inn in the region, the French owned Casa Cavoquinho.
In Santo Antão, there is the valley of Ribeira Grande, the main town of Santo Antão. Here you will find a diverse landscape, with many different mountain ranges and dramatic valleys. Ponta do Sol also provides an amazing view of the sea and mountains.
The Pedracin Village inn is native to the island, and is a true encounter with nature: composed of straw-covered stone houses, reflecting traditional island architecture amidst the green valley. It’s beautiful and worth checking out!
The people of Cape Verde are hospitable and friendly. Many speak French, but if you speak Portuguese you will be able to learn a lot from the captivating natives who are very proud to be from Cape Verde.
by Jalila Paulino