This week’s dream
Kitesurfing off Brazil’s northeast coast
When I staggered to the beach at the end of my first day of kitesurfing in Brazil, I was happy just to be alive, said John Briley in The Washington Post. “You are a warrior!” yelled one of our group’s guides, former world champion Guilly Brandão. Well, maybe. Guilly had watched me fighting the wind and 10-foot waves as I crossed the mouth of the mighty Parnaiba River. He’d seen me fall and nearly lose both my board and wind-filled kite. But I had joined the seven-day group adventure hoping to improve my skills at a sport I’d recently fallen in love with, and the Surfin Sem Fim team trained me quickly. By the third morning on the water, “I am laying down buttery S-turns like a skier on an endless powder run.”
Kitesurfing has become huge off the coast of northeastern Brazil, but few outfitters work the pristine 120-mile stretch we have taken on. “A coast lifted from prehistoric times,” its beaches and dunes “stretch infinitely in both directions,” broken only by the occasional river mouth or low forest. From July through January, consistent winds and 80-degree water make it feasible for a group of fit strangers, all between 45 and 60, to attempt and even enjoy such a trek. All of us are sore on the first night, but we recover over grilled fish and passion-fruit cocktails on Eden-like Ilha dos Poldros. We fall asleep listening to the calls of birds, frogs, and monkeys echoing across the delta.
Out on the water each day, the downwind runs are the best. “When everything aligns, kitesurfing is an incredible rush, like having a motor on a surfboard to outrun white water and transform mushy, disorganized surf into an aquatic playground.” We travel 35 miles or more on some days, and end our run in Lencois Maranhenses National Park, the largest dune field in South America. We’re friends now, and “in the warm balm of the late afternoon we race about childlike, rolling down slopes into a lagoon, howling and laughing.”
Surfin Sem Fim (surfinsemfim.com.br) runs all-inclusive trips from July through January, starting at $1,300 a person.
Courtesy of Analice Diniz, Hotel Ottilia