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TheKiteMag 52 My Beach Rio de Janeiro 6 1200x800 - My beach: Rio de Janeiro

My beach: Rio de Janeiro

These stunning photos of iconic Rio nearly had us booking the next flight over there. It might normally be northeast Brazil that kiters head to, but as Reno Romeu shows, his home spot provides some good kiting conditions too, plus some fine scenery to admire when you’re out on the water. Reno tells us about the beautiful city where kiting started for him.

PHOTOS: Andre Magarao
TheKiteMag 52 My Beach Rio de Janeiro 3 - My beach: Rio de Janeiro
TheKiteMag 52 My Beach Rio de Janeiro 7 - My beach: Rio de Janeiro

What are your first recollections of the beach?

As a good Carioca [resident of Rio], my family always took me to the beach. I was pretty much raised in a sailboat, as we spent a lot of time sailing around Rio and it was because of this connection to the wind that we got into kiting.

What do you remember of your first sessions?

After many, many days watching all the colorful kites all around Rio, my dad decided to go on a course and invited me to go with him, and as a good child, I said, “Why not? Let’s go!” I remember my dad paid for the cheapest course he could find, and the total course time was only around four or six hours… Needless to say, we didn’t learn much… It was pretty much, “If you pull the bar to the right the kite goes to the right, if you pull to the left it goes left. Okay, you can go now.” Haha… So after the course we kept trying by ourselves and that is how we started kiting together. I remember the first bodydrag I did I was so stoked, it was the best feeling, and after I got on the board was even better!

Can you talk us through the typical conditions in Rio?

The main kite spot in Rio is right in front of where I live, in Barra da Tijuca at K08 Kite Club. It’s really nice there because it’s very convenient and has all the facilities to make it easy – they pump your kite, do your lines… It’s a beautiful place to kite, right in the middle of the city. If you head a bit further out to sea, you can see the whole city of Rio. It’s amazing. It has really fun waves to ride and to hit as a kicker, and of course after a good kite session they have the best açaí in the world! It isn’t windy every day and most of the windy days we get around 15 to 20 knots, but I love the whole set up there.

Has the set up at the beach changed over the years?

Kiting is booming everywhere in Brazil. Before, all the Rio kiters would be at K08 so at the weekend we could see over 100 kites, but now, with more kite clubs around they spread more which is nice. We have more people kiting but the spots are less crowded!

What would be your perfect day there?

Ah yes, the rare day where the wind goes over 30 knots, with massive kickers, blue water, all my friends kiting… There is nothing like the kickers in Rio, not even Cape Town. The waves in Rio are so steep that they launch you like crazy!

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TheKiteMag 52 My Beach Rio de Janeiro 8 1260x754 - My beach: Rio de Janeiro
TheKiteMag 52 My Beach Rio de Janeiro 4 - My beach: Rio de Janeiro

Talk us through the session in these photos.

It was awesome, firstly because I hadn’t seen Andre for a long time. He’s mostly in the USA now, and I’m always traveling around the world, so it’s hard to meet. It was a lightwind and a bit of a cloudy day in Rio, but we had only one day because he was leaving town the next day, so we decided to go for it. The idea was to shoot not at the beach but out at sea so we could include more of the mountains in the shots. Andre took a jet ski about a mile out and I kited out to meet him. He didn’t shoot from the ski as he wanted to have the water as a foreground, so he was jumping off the ski and letting it drift while he snapped away, then swimming back to it to change location. This went on for hours and sometimes the ski was so far from him I had to go grab it and bring it back while flying my kite at the same time!

Where’s your favorite place to eat or what is your favorite meal after a session in Rio?

Açaí at K08 Kite Club for sure, if not one pre session and one afterwards! A kite session at K08 without having an açaí is not a kite session, haha!

Do you think you would have got to where you are today if that hadn’t been such a familiar spot?

I think Rio was a good and a bad thing for me – from a marketing point of view, because it is a famous city and everybody loves Rio, a boy from Rio who kites is very marketable I would say. But for sure if I lived in northeast Brazil or Tarifa for example, I would have reached a way better kite level, maybe even won one of the PKRA world tours back when I was competing. I really missed consistency in my training because in Rio there are about three days of wind a week on average, and you can’t be world champion kiting only three days a week. So I can say I did a pretty good job back then finishing in the top six!

Life is made of decisions. I decided not to leave my hometown to pursue being number one in the world – I really love Rio and all my friends and family there. At the time, super young and immature, I wasn’t ready to move abroad to be a better kiter. So let’s say it was both a good and bad thing that I was born and lived in Rio…

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