Mitu Monteiro's first kitesurfing board was made with a sack of potatoes attached to oil floats when he was six. Born on the island of Sal, a stronghold of the sport in the world, the Cape Verdean grew up watching tourists sailing.
With no money to buy the equipment, he learned to use it only at 17, when an Italian instructor invited him to take a kite and board.
He never stopped sailing again. He won its first World Cup in 2008 and is one of the top names in kitesurfing.
He is one of the athletes competing for Ceará Kite Pro, the last stage of the world circuit in the strapless category, which started on Tuesday (12) and continues until Saturday (16) at Prea beach, 12 km from Jericoacoara, Ceará. The place is considered one of the best in the world to practice the sport.
The main challenge of the sport, in which the athletes perform aerial maneuvers, is to keep the board domain, loose under the feet. Judges evaluate performance.
"In 2007, I wanted to quit because it was too expensive. I worked for six months, and the money I made, 150 euros a month, was very little. All that money invested in my travels, but it ended in one [trip]," Mitu, 36, said.
After the title in 2008, he signed sponsorships and took paid trips.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon