Any training is good training…

Ellie reminds me we are on holiday, not an adventure camp! I’ve been surfing the last couple of days on the Praia do Madeiro, nice waves, easy swell but the locals are so fast off the mark it’s difficult to grab a decent wave, I usually end up grabbing the last one of the set. Best wave of the day I launched off the top and a hot girl surfer paddled straight into my line her head over her shoulder smiling at her hunky boyfriend (who’d stolen my last 2 waves – grrr!). The inevitable clash happened and her fin gouged a big hole in my rented board. She was very apologetic but swam away fast, I could see her speaking to her boyfriend, the least one usually does in these circumstances is to offer to repair the ding. I think she felt embarrassed while the hunky one was saying hey he’s just a gringo tourist with too much money, forget it.

Today we’re off to Barra de Cunhau, finally the wind is up and I called the local kite dude Eduardo, who is a serious dude, and he gave the thumbs up for some kiting over at his school south of Pipa. Any training is good training! We ride in his Land Rover for about 25 minutes very close to the edge of burnt red clifftops with black vultures wheeling overhead and surf crashing on white sand far below. Landies invariably have steering problems, I’m hoping this one doesn’t. The entrance to Cunhau is barred by a lagoon with cheerful ferrymen able to punt single handedly even a hefty 2 ton Land Rover across the still waters.

Two r’s together are pronounced j as in Barra = Baja the ‘j’ being quite soft. I discovered this today while asking for the wifi password at the kite school. Password same as place name. 

This is Pipa’s premier kitepsot but wind sadly today was a bit lacklustre and blew no more than 11kts. however I managed to get a big 14m. up and blast across the bay on a tiny 5’1” Mitu pink and yellow spangly thing. Still slow on my transitions, can’t believe how many I miss due to slow footwork. Eduardo the kite dude said – keep the kite high and get your two feet as close together in the centre of the board before making the switch and get the board right round before you do – yup tried that, still failing but I’ll get it soon  I’m sure of that.

Edu’s kite school ‘Kitemaster Pipa’ is quite a social project, full of local teenagers learning to kite and teach. The village he says is very poor (that I can see – heaps of rubbish, pecking hens, rusted out hunks of cars and breeze block shacks interspersed with pink washed villas, manicured palms and pools) and this is a way of giving the kids an opportunity to learn a skill and maybe carve themselves a new life. He sponsors a language school within the kite school and the once they’re old enough he’ll pay them a bit so they can earn a living from their lessons. And after that? I ask. It’s up to them – Edu replies – I can’t lead their lives for them, they have to make their own way in life and find a better future.