Kiteboarding Travel Guide: Brazil Downwinder Surfin Sem Fin- Destinations EP 11
An epic trip down the coast
WIND BY SEASON
On Brazil's Northeastern beaches, July-December are the most reliable months for wind every day, though you can expect wind year round. Wind speed ranges from 15-35 knots and will typically blow from late morning through til late evening. The weather and water are both warm and tropical - you can leave your jackets and wetsuits at home!
A trip along Brazil's coastline in the Ceará province can be a wild adventure or a very relaxed, comfortable trip - it depends on what you want. A SurfinSemFim downwinder is the perfect blend of adventure and comfort, where kiters can get their adrenaline fix out on the water and land their kites every day in front of a beachfront pousada with all the amenities you might want after a long day of kiting! For a little extra adventure, stay a few extra days in your upwind spot or at your downwind destination to explore a bit more of Brazil's beach lifestyle.
Downwind Trips - SurfinSemFim
Hotel & Kite Center in Jericoacoara - Vila Kalango
Hotel & Kite Center in Prea - Rancho do Peixe
Brazil (Ceará) travel tips - Rough Guides
Waves along this coastline are constant, and the size and quality will vary significantly depending on where you are. In many of Brazil's popular kite beaches, the waves would be considered sloppy beach break, but with enough formation to ride with some style. There are some spots along the coast where the waves line up and break beautifully, and experienced wave riders will be racing downwind to spend more time on these breaks. Both beginner to expert wave riders will have some fun on a trip like this.
Brazil is well known for flatwater, with freestylers coming from around the world to get some progression sessions in on the Northeastern coast. Some of the more popular lagoons are located near Cumbuco and Jericoacoara, with many more scattered along the coastline waiting to be discovered!. On a downwind expedition, you won't be spending much time in the lagoons, but it is possible to organize a bespoke trip with SurfinSemFim to get the best of both worlds, or plan to spend a few days upwind or downwind to get some flatwater sessios in.
Those who are interested in beginner lessons will be delighted by the warm water and picturesque beaches in Brazil. A downiwnd expedition is not ideal for beginners, though kiteboarders who wish to foray into wave riding and learn more about downwind and wave skills will be interested in the Beginner or Lite routes with SurfinSemFim. First time kiters will find excellent learning conditions in Prea and Cumbuco, and many other spots along the coast!
Alternative activities are endless in Brazil, but after a long day out on the water, it can be difficult to find much energy for anything else! But if you can find the energy? There's everything you can imagine on a tropical holiday. Horseback riding on the dunes at sunset, ATV and buggy tours, lush national parks, hammocks by the ocean, caipirinhas by the pool, and plenty more! If you're planning a downwinder expedition in Brazil, it's worth spending some extra time in the area to see what else is on offer.
Brazil is a massive country, and the airport you fly into will depend on which downwind route you'll be riding. Some of the more popular airports to fly into are Fortaleza and Jericoacoara with flights generally connecting in the major hub of Sao Paolo. From the airport, transfers to beach front accommodation can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depnding on where you're staying. Depending on your departure point, this can be quite a long journey - but well worth it for these kite conditions! Once you're on the spot, you can kick back and relax - everything is a short walk, buggy ride, or taxi and transportation costs are very affordable.
It’s the land of Carnival, caipirinhas, and non-stop wind! This world famous kite destination is one that most kiteboarders have heard plenty about, but with a country so massive and a coastline so long – where do we even start?
For our first Destination in Brazil, we couldn’t decide… So instead of picking one spot, we teamed up with Surfin Sem Fim to experience 200km of Brazil’s Northeastern beaches! This is the Brazil that you don’t hear about every day – it’s beautiful, natural, and completely stress free.
We are going to tell you all about the downwinder experience in Brazil and some of the spots we visited along the way. Don’t forget to check out ourvideo spot guide because this is a Destination you have to see to believe.
These Brazil downwinders are challenging, epic, and unforgettable. Whether you’re taking it easy and downwinding 25km or hitting it hard and going 1,000km, thisis as good as it gets for directional riders (and twintippers!)looking for a real kite expedition.
On Brazil’s northeastern coast in the Ceará province, it is windy throughout the year. For that infamous wind that blows every day like clockwork, July-December is the time to go. Wind speed can range between 16-30+ knotsevery day in the peak windy season. When the wind starts blowing in the late morning, it will blow until the sun goes down. You’ll probably wear out before the wind does!
For a big downwinder, you’ll want to bring a full quiver of kites (and/or boards!) to ensure you’re always able to ride, but the most common kite sizes in use here are 5m to 9m kites. The wind is fairly steady, though in some spots the geography can create gusty conditions. The beauty of this spot is… If the conditions aren’t working for you in one spot, you can carry on downwind to a spot that feels just right!
Weather / Temperature
Being so close to the equator, you’ll find hot weather year round with more rain outside of the prime wind season. Even after the sun sets, the temperature in Brazil is so comfortable that you’ll only want that warmer layer for your flights in and out.
It’s warm in the water too - you don’t need a wetsuit at all on a Surfin Sem Fim downwinder. However, that hot, sunny weather means you cannot skip out on sun protection. Bring a 1mm protective layer or rash guard and leggings, hat and sunglasses suitable for the ocean, waterproof sunscreen, and zinc.
Launch spots in Brazil are limitless. The shoreline on the coast is more than 7,500 km long… nearly 5000 miles!! If it’s windy on the beach, you can launch your kite. Brazil has a few very well known kite beaches like Cumbuco and Jericoacoara which we will be covering in upcoming editions of Destinations.
On this 200km downwind trip, launching and landing spots were so varied that every overnight stop and every lunch break was so unique! We started on the busy beaches of Cumbuco with stops in Taiba, Guajiru, and Baleia. Five days after we set off, we landed in the peaceful bay of Icaraizinho. That’s just one of many routes - some downwind trips explore the wilder sides of Brazil’s coast, and you’ll see spots as remote and untouched as you can imagine.
From landing amongst local fishing boats and cows on the beach to bridges, beautiful lagoons and river mouths, skylines full of windmills, and picturesque bays that will take your breath away… it’s like a sightseeing trip from the water!
Surfin Sem Fim downwind trips are designed for intermediate kiteboarders and above. Riders should have solid downwinding skills including the ability to ride downwind with speed, keep the kite active, and downloop or loop the kite while riding. Confidence in waves, shore break, and chop are important. Most of all, kiters should be independent and up for a challenge!
Not to worry – this trip is not reserved for advanced or pro kiteboarders. The Surfin Sem Fim crew provides lots of support along the way, including two Land Rovers on the beach flanking the riders throughout the trip. Additionally, there are multiple guides on the water at all times. If you need some assistance, you’ll have it.
For confident kiters that have never done a downwind trip or a major kite expedition, you can get your feet wet with a Beginner or Lite route. There are also excellent opportunities to work on your progression by joining one of the special coaching routes with pro riders including Mitu Montiero, Paula Novatna, Sebastian Ribeiro, Luke McGillewie, Guilly Brandao, and featured coaches like Bowen Dwelle (kite leadership skills) and Jalila Paulino (possible women's world record holder for most downwind KM ridden per year - she hasn't counted!). Whether it’s a quick chat on the beach or an organized video coaching session, there are plenty of opportunities to learn!
Luke McGillewi Ripping in the waves
Wave riding is the name of the game on a Brazil downwinder – though there is a lot of flexibility on these trips. Kiters that are not experienced riding strapless may prefer a strapped wave board to be able to keep speed downwind and keep the board close at hand. Twin tippers are also welcome on this trip, though on a long downwinder a twin tip designed specifically for downwinding or ridingwaves is recommended. Whatever type of board you’re riding, you can style it out in the waves all the way downwind or use the waves as kickers to send it hard – whether you’re on a twin tip or a wave board!
If you imagine downwinding through some of Brazil’s most remote coastline, you might assume that the facilities will be a bit skint. Not at all! These downwinders are planned with the guests in mind – after all, this is supposed to be a holiday, right?!
When you’re out on the water, you’ll have that wonderful safety net of the support vehicles who are carrying all of your extra gear, pumps, and refreshments. You won’t be close to any kite shops, so make sure to bring what you might need including repair supplies and the rest of your quiver in case you want to do a swap during the day.
On the overnight stays? This is when vacation mode really sets in. At each overnight stop, you’ll have a friendly face to land your kite when you arrive followed by a cold drink and a dip in the pool. Each pousada (hotel) is located on the beachfront, so you can land your kite out front and store it in their kite facilities which are equipped with showers and air compressors. Once you’ve changed into dry clothes, you’ll be served a delicious dinner made with local, fresh ingredients. After dinner (and a few caipirinhas), unwind in a comfortable bed in your private bungalow. You’ll need the rest – there will be many more miles to cover the next day!
Photo by Analice Diniz
Any time you’re riding in new territory, caution should be exercised. On a downwind trip in Brazil, you’ll be in new territory the entire time! Luckily, you’re in good hands. Each morning starts with a briefing to outline the route for the day and any stops or obstacles to expect and plan for. The guides will be with you on the water to make sure that you find your way around or through any difficult situations.
The real cautions here are sun exposure and achy muscles, but you should be bringing sun protection along and each pousada has a masseuse on staff in case you need a little help getting limbered up for the next session!
If you’re planning a super long downwind route, you should know that these are hard – on the mind and on the body. Overcoming the challenge is what makes this a truly special experience. Come with a lot of energy and a fighting attitude, and you’ll be blown away by what you’re capable of. (And if you’re literally blown away, don’t worry… the group will take good care of you!)
Downwinders in Brazil are unforgettable. This is a bucket list experience in every way! Whether it’s a downwinder expedition with a group like Surfin Sem Fim or short downwinders while you’re based in one of Brazil’s beachfront towns, there is so much to discover in this Destination.
Crystal Veness had an incredible downwind adventure in Brazil – check out this blog to find out more about the personal experience.
TRAVEL & VISA REQUIREMENTS: If you’re traveling as an American or Canadian, you will need a valid passport and a visa to enter Brazil. This is a simple process that should be completed a few weeks in advance. Here are links to the online applications: USA | CANADA. Visitors from some other countries like the UK do not need a visa. It’s important to double check this information online in advance of your trip. For more information, you can check out the USA and Canada government provided travel information. There are travel advisories in place for some of Brazil’s major cities including Rio de Janeiro, but this is far, far away from the beautiful kite beaches! All foreign travel should be done with extra awareness and caution in mind, but our downwinder experience was an absolute breeze.
LANGUAGE: The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. A Portuguese phrasebook or an offline Google Translate language pack will come in handy for you on this trip. Your downwinder guides are fluent in English and will be able to assist you along the way, but if you want a bit of independence you might need some help! You’ll find English speaking kite instructors and travelers in the popular spots and English speaking staff at the nicer hotels, but the majority of quieter beaches are Portuguese exclusively. To avoid difficulty communicating, come prepared.
FLIGHTS: Brazil is a big country and there are a lot of airport options. Your airport choice will depend on your kite beach or downwind trip of choice. We flew in and out of Fortaleza [FOR], but there is also a regional airport in Jericoacoara. If you’re doing a 300km+ trip, you may wish to fly in and out of different airports. The Surfin Sem Fim crew will help you choose your airport when you’re booking your trip.
TRANSPORTATION: Transportation in Brazil is super affordable, and a rental car or vehicle will not be needed. SSF or your hotel can help you organize an airport transfer. Once you’re on the beachfront, you can walk to most spots or take a beach buggy or local taxi. While you’re on your downwind trip, you won’t have to think about transportation.
HOTELS: Also known as pousadas, these will be included in your downwind package so you won’t have to worry about this detail. A few extra days before or after your downwinder are highly recommended – ideally at your starting or ending point. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, as peak season on Brazil’s kite beaches can get busy. Having a few days to settle in and warm up and just experience the culture at a popular Brazilian kite spot is a lot of a fun and well worth it. We tacked a few days onto the end of our trip at Rancho do Peixe in the Prea and Jericocaoara area, and this downwind paradise was a welcome relief after a long downwind trip!
PHOTOGORAPHY: You’ll want to capture some memories on this trip, but avoid bringing high value cameras and electronics. The sand on these beaches is so fine and sticks to everything! A phone and maybe a GoPro should be all you need to capture these memories. Most Surfin Sem Fim downwinders have the option for a professional photographer to accompany the group and shoot the entire experience for an affordable price.
FOOD & BEV: Brazil is rich in fresh seafood and juicy steak, so you won’t go hungry here! On our downwinder, we had grilled fish, beef filet, shrimp, octopus, squid, risotto, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Each dinner was different and absolutely delicious. The breakfast spreads have options for everyone and lots of protein available to get you fueled up for the day. Lunch stops include sandwiches, snack bars, fruit, nuts, water and sports drinks. For any special dietary requirements, be sure to advise the organizers at the time of booking. If you have any very specific needs, feel free to bring your own snacks to keep in the downwind vehicle!
ALTERNATE ACTIVITIES: On a trip like this, you’ll be too busy kiting and chilling to do much else. We’ll share more intel on other fun activities on Brazil’s beaches in our next edition, but this week is all about the downwinder! Your alternate activities will include cold beers, caipirinhas, and a dip in the pool at your pousada. You may want a sports or relaxation massage which is an option at each overnight stop, or find yourself wanting to start the day with some yoga or meditation, which are also available options. Beyond that, it’s all about kiting and enjoying the beautiful, relaxed Brazil vibes!
We look forward to sharing the next Destination with you!
North Kites USA team rider and a MACkite team rider. Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her home, playground, and her workplace. She goes where the wind blows - so if you see her at a kite beach somewhere in the world, say hello! Her primary goal is to share her love of kiteboarding and travel and all the lessons learned along the way with the world.
Facebook: Crystal Veness
Written and produced by Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic and Crystal Veness