Everyday, there are more and more women in the world of kite, including the ones who write about it, even after they’ve swallowed a little salt water. We are learning, falling, getting back up, doing downwinders and even surfing Pacasmayo’s long lefts. We are in Australia, Cape Verde and Ceará. #KiteGirls rule! And if we stop showing up, it’s because we stopped believing in ourselves.
That’s what happened last year in Preá at Rancho do Peixe in Brazil. They didn’t know each other but they went into the water and practiced. While showering off or washing their boards, they began to greet each other and discuss the long journeys of Surfin Sem Fim along the coast of Ceará, but it seemed too ambitious.
Among them was athlete, Marcela Witt, who did the SSF Iron Man route (a name that perhaps does not live up to the Iron Women that appear in the different seas around the world). For her, not even the frozen sea of Patagonia was an obstacle to practice kiting. Hearing the girls’ comments, she replied, “Yes! Let’s do our own downwinder!” The folks at Surfin Sem Fim soon got carried away. There were seven women, including mother and daughter, Lu and Eliana, enjoying Jeri’s sunset and proving that Brazil certainly has kite girls.
And it’s not just them. Today, Jalila Paulino is one of the leaders of Surfin Sem Fim; she’s an organizer, public relations coordinator and passionate kiter. She started in the sport just like many start: watching. She spent four years working in a kite club in Rio, organizing events, falling in love with the waves and listening to kite stories. It was only after this period, when she moved to Jericoacoara, that Jalila bought her own board and indulged in a passion for kiting. In a huge evolution, last year she managed to surf the world-class waves of Pacasmayo and Cape Verde.
Helping in this evolution is also Vanessa Chastinet, a member of the Rancho do Kite and a precursor of the sport in Ceará. When she moved there and opened school in 2006, they only had 8 kites, and the predominant equipment was still the dreaded 4m C-kite. “Today we are one of the largest schools in the world, and equipment has evolved a lot, with more security and more and more women are entering the water. About 45% of our clients are already women,” she says.
Kite girls learn fast! Every woman has her own rhythm, but in Julia Rudge’s case shows that in three years of practice she is already able to go as long as SSF’s Classic Route (and she lives in São Paulo, far from the sea). Analice, Surfin Sem Fim’s photographer, completed the longest of SSF’s routes, crossing 3 states – Ceará, Piauí and Maranhão, “It’s that kind of experience that’s so hard to explain, one has to experience it themselves. The smell of the sea, smiles every day, and the fatigue and happiness that only an expedition can bring,” she says.
There are many of us: Inês Correia, Carla Lima, Nicole Gaudimier, Giselle Nuaz, Naomi Routhier and many others. Kiting was made for us! It is a sport in which your body must communicate with the sea and the wind is constantly passing through the subtle movements of the bar. It is a sport of sensitivity.
You can use your strength, of course, and you can do maneuvers and face the waves whenever you want (what woman doesn’t love a challenge?). You just have the courage to go into the water and practice. Let’s go? Who knows, maybe Surfin Sem Fim will soon offer an Iron Woman route.
Words by Luciana Annunziata