Moved only by the force of the wind, the expeditions of the “Surfin Sem Fim” explore the wild beauty of the northern coast of Brazil, known as Terra do Vento (of The Land of Wind). Groups kiting along the coast of Ceará, Piauí, and Maranhão, with stops in paradisiac hotels and complete security for the kiters. A “spiritual journey” for kitesurfers of all levels.
It all began in the 90’s, when Marco Dalpozzo learned to kitesurf on the beach of Preá in Ceará. At that time, the native guys in the region organized windsurfing races between them, always in favor of the easterly winds, going from one point on the map to another. This fun awakened an idea and an exploratory instinct. “I wanted to see where I was going to go. I wanted to find out the distances, the time, the physical responses of my body, and the mental challenge. But this first impulse was small at the end of my first trip. Everything I saw and felt before that immensity, kiting alone towards the infinite without knowing what I would find, moved me and reconnected me with nature in such a way that I thought: other people need to have the opportunity to experience this emotion. I had discovered my life mission there to collaborate with a better and more humane world.”
The next trip would be made with the French pilot Vincent, who was equally impressed by the beauty of the region, the warm sea, and the constancy of the wind. The success of the kiting from Cumbuco to Flexeiras (114 km) gave the two friends a sense of ecstasy. Perhaps longer journeys could be made! They began to plan a more mature and organized expedition to Jericoacoara, calculating that it would be possible to do in three days. It worked.
It was after some night kiting, in which silence reigned for hours under the silvery trail of the moonlight on the sea, that the idea of ”sem fim” or “endless” took over the conversations and the imagination of Marco. “Our speed was constant, unhurried, there was no weariness, and we enjoyed that rare pleasure of being apart from the world. It was a spiritual journey. Vincent had taken advantage of the waves during the trip and my “sem fim” joined the “surfin.” Thus was born the name that became a symbol of a ritual that today is the dream of kitesurfers from all over the world.
The region began to be mapped, distributed in different routes and degrees of exigency (ranging from 15 to 1000km) and developed an efficient logistics operation. Each trip has a captain, co-pilot, an in-ground crew chief, and two 4×4 cars, plus satellite communication equipment that connects those at sea to support staff on land. “We set up an operation similar to that of the airlines, so those who participate can relax, enjoy the journey and improve their sailing.” – Marco says.
In all, nineteen of the hotels in the e-group network are prepared to host and guarantee a great night’s sleep, rest, and gastronomy that has enchanted the explorers. They carry in their backpacks just enough from one stretch to the other. The rest is provided by the SSF team and hotels.
This capricious travel structure allows anyone with basic kiting abilities to start a Surfin Sem Fim trip.
According to a survey conducted by IBGE, 39% of the Brazilian population has an interest in practicing kitesurfing (about 30.7 million people). There is no big difference between gender: men represent 52% of those interested, while women, 48%. Most are in the southeastern and northeastern regions (90% of them between 18 and 54 years old) where wind and kites are already part of the natural scenery.
If you are still learning or want to learn, the coastline where Surfin Sem Fim takes place offers many options for specialized schools. This is the case for Rancho do Kite, a school attached to Rancho do Peixe, on the beach of Preá, in Cruz (CE). It opened its doors in 2006 and they’ve already hosted more than ten thousand kiters. Today, the school is one of the largest and most respected in the world, with twenty instructors trained by the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) teaching daily in six different languages.
“Throughout the years we have been even more certain that kiting is a democratic sport. We have taught 6-year-olds to kite, and our oldest student that took 4 classes a day was at the age of 74. The sport is assumed to be difficult, but we’ve managed to debunk that theory. The evolution of skill in the kiting is fast and it is contagious, especially to see those people who arrive and improve tremendously in a only a few lessons”, says Vanessa Chastinet, instructor and founder of the Rancho do Kite along with her husband Alexandre Ribeiro, the “Mosquito”.
The first step is to handle and control the kite in the air. Already in the water, the student learns to bud (to advance the first meters with the plank in the foot on shallow and warm waters of the region). The downwinds begin shortly after, with very short courses that increase as the sailor’s skill. “From this moment, the apprentice can already be accredited to some mild route of Surfin Without End”.
According to Vanessa, the passion is instantaneous and the healthy addiction to the sport begins to act in other spheres of the learner’s life. “One discovers a new universe. The kite ends up transforming the lifestyle of many people, changes their way of thinking, the way to enjoy their holidays and presents new points of view about life. Many arrive out of shape and later they come back looking sporty, healthier, more alive.”
NATURE, FRIENDSHIP AND GROUP SPIRIT
The natural characteristics of the coast of Ceará are perfect for the idea and practice of Surfin Sem Fim. There, the wind blows 300 days out of the year, the water is warm and inviting, the days are almost always sunny, and the nature offers some amazing places: the Parnaíba Delta, the Lençóis Maranhenses, the various rivers that connect to the sea, the waves and the unnamed corners where cars can’t access and not even the boats can pass.
In other sports, sometimes the course itself is not so enjoyable and the goal is to get there. “Surfin Sem Fim has the magic of nurturing us with special discoveries the whole time. You play in the waves, jump around, kite calmly on flat surfaces, and feel the freedom to glide. All of this while building lasting friendships and strengthening group spirit and zeal for the next trip.” – says Jalila Paulino, the first woman to participate in a SSF expedition.
The human aspect of this adventure also adds to its cultural dimension, with warm welcomings from the native villages where the kiters pass. They are local residents of all ages who join the group to tell the stories and legends about the coast.
Each person finds his or her special emotion in this endless kiting. The other day someone asked: “where does this wind come from?” Silence replied that it does not matter, because the wind is infinite. By taming it, we recognize that which is eternal.
André Penna, captain and one of SSF’s most adventurous explorers, listed some interesting tips for a perfect expedition.
- Solar protection:
There are usually 4 to 6 hours in the water per day. A time of exposure that we are not accustomed to on a daily basis. Using only sunscreen is not enough.
– Cap with strap (fundamental for not flying off in the wind)
– Long sleeve shirt
– Dark glasses (especially in the last session of the day, when we sail towards the setting sun)
– Fabric to protect the face
Lycra pants and gloves (good advice for those who are extra cautious)
- Foot protection:
It is essential to keep your foot comfortable until you complete the journey. It is possible to make the trip barefoot, but a rubber boot is always very welcome.
It is very important to hydrate during the course. From time to time we make strategic stops to drink water and eat, but a “camel back” can help a lot in hydration along the way.
It is advisable to wear lifejackets, especially for those who navigate with a twin-tip board, which offers no fluctuation in cases of kite problems (there are small, comfortable kitesurfing vests).