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TheKiteMag Feature We Are Family Cabrinha Hendrick Lopes 11 copy 1200x800 - We are Family

We are Family

The Cabrinha team has had a number of changes recently with UK legend Hannah Whiteley and Denmark’s Lucas Gramstrup joining the team in the last year. Cape Verdean Hendrick Lopes also recently joined the Cabrinha family and headed to Tarifa to compete in the GKA Big Air Kite World Championships on his new gear.

PHOTOS: Leo Hochgrassl
TheKiteMag Feature We Are Family Cabrinha Hendrick Lopes 2 - We are Family

It’s been a dream come true joining Cabrinha. I’ve always been a fan of Keahi de Aboitiz and his movies with Cabrinha, traveling and getting barreled in perfect locations. Even though he just announced his end with Cabrinha, I’m looking forward to meeting him and going for a ride with him one day. The first time I got to test a Cabrinha kite, the Drifter, was last winter in the waves of Ponta Preta, Cape Verde and I completely fell in love. Now I was able to test it in the famous Levante of Tarifa and it didn’t disappoint. The kite is always in the perfect place, and has good lift and hang time. I also love the Method as a strapless freestyle board, the Flare for medium onshore waves and the Phantom for classic barreling, open face bombs.

I recently spent six weeks training in Tarifa and Portugal, and took part in the Surfboard discipline of the GKA Big Air Kite World Championships in Tarifa. The conditions were really tough and unfortunately I couldn’t perform my tricks properly, but the truth is I had no expectations. It was something completely new for me – I am a wave guy but working hard to improve my freestyle game. I just wanted to have fun and gain more competition experience for what I’m actually aiming for – every athlete’s dream is to win, and to do it at my favorite place in the world, Ponta Preta, at home in front of my family and friends… well that is the ultimate goal…

I had a great time in Tarifa. It’s a place I look forward to visiting every year. There’s delicious food, it’s a happy and relaxed town, and it’s one of the only places you get to see all the kite pros in one place. This trip was full of laughs! I was staying with James Carew at a house just five minutes’ walk from the old town. It was really nice because I got to know his routine and he would always motivate and push me to workout with him. The funniest part was when we were out at Balneario training and I’d jump to perform a trick and in the middle of the rotation I would hear Airton or James screaming with joy so I’d start laughing and crash so hard! We’d do that all session long to each other. During a competition the only thing every athlete wants is to win, so then there is definitely more tension between us. But competing against Airton or James I feel more relaxed, less pressure, and I actually perform my best. They are the best guys out there, and the day I get to win against one of them, the feeling will almost be like winning a world title I believe. And that day is coming…!

So, thank you to Cabrinha for adding me to their team. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the Cabrinha family over the coming months. I’ll be doing some demos with them, and maybe some trips with Airton and James to train and search for some perfect waves. My goal is to do all the GKA competitions this year. I want to get better as a person and athlete and the best place to do that is on the biggest stage of kitesurfing…

James Boulding, Cabrinha Marketing Manager: With more and more incredibly talented youngsters getting into kiting (and winging) we’re really seeing the sports progressing at such a fast pace. Every genre of riding in these water sports seems to have had an injection of excitement, and the competition scene is full of new tricks and new athletes stepping up, hungry to take away the mantle from some of the older guard. As a brand we’ve really focused on the product development with some of these exciting new riders inputting into our test program. They’re dedicated, insanely committed, and seem ready to take on the world, while spending every possible hour on the water honing their craft! It’s incredible seeing the development team fired up watching what our team are doing with the products they put their heart and soul into, and it drives them on faster to work on new materials and technology that can help push the limits.

TheKiteMag Feature We Are Family Cabrinha Hendrick Lopes 3 - We are Family

Hendrick Lopes is one of these such riders and has been on our radar for some time. Growing up with some fantastic role models, he’s incredibly mature and experienced already at such a young age. One thing that is key for any Cabrinha team rider is that alongside all their talent, they need to integrate well into some of Cabrinha’s brand values. #LiveFreeRideFree, Cabrinha’s motto, is all about dedication and passion to the sports we all love, but doing so with a huge smile and being that person to welcome others in and help them feel like they belong, whether that be simply landing or launching that extra kite on a beach or helping someone nail a trick they’ve always wanted to learn. It’s all about family, the #CabrinhaOhana which extends to every customer, retailer, distributor and staff member, and now Hendrick’s part of that so we’re really excited to welcome him with open arms.

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