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TKM 55 The Golden Hour Hannah Whiteley 6 copiar 1200x800 - The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

Hannah Whiteley gives us some insight into what it takes to capture epic photos while hanging out in the consistently windy spots of Ilha do Guajiru and Taiba in Brazil. Spoiler alert: it’s all about the early and late sessions when the sun is low in the sky, which doesn’t leave Hannah much time for partying…

PHOTOS: Andre Magarao, Andy Troy and Ricardo Braz
TKM 55 The Golden Hour Hannah Whiteley 2 - The Golden Hour

Ilha do Guajiru, a hidden gem nestled along the northeastern coast of Brazil, is a tropical paradise renowned for its tranquil waters, endless sandy beaches, and, most importantly, consistent winds. With the trade winds blowing between 15 and 25 knots, Ilha do Guajiru offers ideal conditions for kiting enthusiasts. The lagoon, protected by the barrier reef, provides a safe and vast area for riders to explore, practice new tricks, and push their limits. There is also an epic downwinder through the mangroves which is something you have to experience, plus a secret flat-water spot at the top of the lagoon.

One of my favorite things about Ilha do Guajiru is the convenience as you can stay right at the lagoon. I love to stay at Bambu Blu, it’s a slice of heaven with beautiful bungalows next to the lagoon. The village is small and charming, with a relaxed atmosphere. I love the vibes – it feels really special when everyone is there for the same reason, chasing the same passion. You’ll find both professionals and enthusiastic beginners from around the globe here. Ilha do Guajiru is always one of my first stops on a Brazil trip as it’s a great training ground, consistently windy and an inspiration for shooting with its varied scenery. My focus now is less on competitions and more on content creation – it’s still important for me to push my riding but my main drive is towards content creation. Previously I would go to spots looking for the perfect conditions to ride, but now I see every spot completely differently. I look for interesting backdrops for shooting and different objects at the spot that could be used for the shoot.

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“I try to conserve my energy for the evening session as sunset is a must for shooting.”

A typical day for me in Brazil starts with a morning shoot, usually before breakfast, as the light quickly gets too bright and harsh for shooting. After breakfast I will work from my laptop, sometimes going for a little freeride session during the middle of the day. But I try to conserve my energy for the evening session as sunset is a must for shooting. Golden hour is my favorite time of the day. Watching the sun set never gets old and it’s definitely special when you can enjoy this moment while kiting. When I’m shooting I try to take in as much of this moment as possible, but at the same time it can be a little bit hectic as it’s an important time to coordinate with the photographer. Trying to be at the peak of your trick and aligning with the sunset can be a bit of a challenge at times. You have to draw an imaginary line between the photographer, where you’ll trick, and the sunset. If the photographer is behind you, it’s a bit of a guessing game where exactly you have to trick, with the added pressure of sunset happening so quickly. It usually takes a bit of time to get it right and involves some shouting “left” and “right”. I have worked with photographers Andy Troy and Andre Magarao a lot in the past, so I know I can count on them to get the shot. They are great photographers/videographers and also bring the good vibes on the shoots which is important when you’re working and traveling together on shoots as it can be quite intense. By the evening I’m usually pretty exhausted. I’ll go to a restaurant with friends, eat good food, and go to bed soon after. I rarely party as I put all my energy into shooting and training, but occasionally I do enjoy the odd party…

Two-and-a-half hours’ drive south you’ll find Taiba lagoon where Andre captured some awesome shots of me. Taiba is another hotspot for kiters and an ideal place for both beginners and experts to practice their skills. The local kite schools offer lessons and equipment rentals, making it easy for newcomers to get started. The sea has fairly decent waves for wave riding, is uncrowded and nice for downwinders. The lagoon itself is butter flat, providing prime conditions for freestyle training. There is quite a scene of pro riders in Taiba and the wind is lighter than Ilha making it ideal for unhooked freestyle tricks. I have been going to Taiba for years so it always feels great to be back, and it was my favorite place to train freestyle when I competed. Just an-hour-and-a-half from Fortaleza airport, Taiba is a fairly quiet town with a few nice restaurants. I really enjoy staying with friends there and sharing kite sessions together. LineUp pousada is my favorite place to stay in Taiba, there is always such a warm welcome and they have the best breakfast cakes in the morning.

While Taiba is a fantastic kiting destination in itself, it’s also a great starting point to explore other nearby spots like Cumbuco and Paracuru. Each of these places offers a different experience, from wave riding to downwind adventures. Whether you’re an experienced kiter or a newcomer to the sport, Brazil has something special to offer. Come ride the winds and experience the magic of this tropical gem. And remember, if you’re after some professional-quality photos of yourself, it’s all about the golden hours of sunrise and sunset

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