Wind & waves – (kite)surfers' paradise

Taíba, of all places

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90% of the kiters who fly to Fortaleza stay in Cumbuco. That is understandable, since it is the village closest to the airport and now boasts dozens of hotels, but it is a shame because it is often very busy and choppy there! Others waste a whole day – after a transatlantic flight – driving to legendary Jericoacoara, passing by the smaller Jeri known as Taíba. Only people in the know are aware that no other place has the same perfect combination as Taíba: wave riding in the back garden of Beach Break Brasil, freestyling on the mirror-smooth lagoon, endless downwinders with alternating waves and flat spots, and the magical secret spot with its reef. All this is just half an hour further than Cumbuco and five hours closer than Jeri!

Taíba is an amazing place, really chilled, much quieter than Cumbucu and windier, plus has better waves, some amazing downwinders and just a better vibe. I will come straight here to Taíba next year and not even bother with Cumbucu. The people here are super friendly and just help because they want to, not for money.

Dave Ibby, former British kitesurfing champion, www.daveibby.com

          


Taíba: all conditions and the best wave spot!

Taíba is situated between Cumbuco (1 hour upwind) and Paracuru (half an hour downwind), and it has five kite spots of its own. The wind comes from the south-east, sideshore from the right. We will start there. You can check the tides on Windfinder.


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Morro do Chapéu

Right in front of Beach Break Brasil. This is where you often get the biggest waves, 2 to 2.5 m on average at high water (twice as high during the January-May period). There are a few rocks to look out for on the shoreline at low tide. This is heaven on Earth for advanced kiters, who can also sail around the village for a fantastic downwind with a unique sea view over the Bay of Taíba (praia da Taibinha). About half a mile downwind you will find a beach shack called Brilho da Lua ("Moonlight"), where they serve an amazing fish curry.

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Taibinha

The beach where most kiters set off for a downwind to the lagoon, because you then do not have to sail around the rocks (but you do miss the waves that roll in around the well-known Taíba point, which is a real shame). You can keep your fins off the stones if you leave from Villa da Praia or from the barraca (beach shack) and the cliffs on the right also keep the wind off. One of the regular spots for the Brazilian surfing championships, about 10 minutes by buggy. The beach shack is a proper fish restaurant. Villa da Praia is run by French owners and serves delicious pancakes. Try the gorgonzola and mozzarella, which are a meal in themselves. Or go to lovely Saravah, right in the corner.

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Lagoa Barra Mar (also known as Taíba Lagoon or Best Lagoon)

Freshwater lagoon and freestyle paradise beside the dunes of Nova Taíba. A magical place to end the day at sunset. A wet dream for every flat water surfer! The two barracas there serve refreshing drinks and local pastries. The shack closest to the sea is run by the father of buggy driver/kiting instructor Betinho.

NB: On kiteforum.com you will find not only enthusiastic descriptions, but some messages from prophets of doom warning you that there is no water in the lagoon. The situation is this: during the rainy season the lagoon is connected to the sea and empties at low tide. In high season the lagoon is cut off and there is room for about 10 kiters. That is more than enough, particularly since you can walk from the sea to the lagoon, so you can switch between fresh and salt water.

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Lagoa dos Tocos

This lagoon is closest to the mirante, making it a good alternative if the wind is offshore (this usually only happens during the rainy season, because a southeastern trade wind is always a southeastern trade wind). Take the steps beside the açai bar, and the lagoon is right in front of you. A little further inland, Lagoa das Cobras is also great for kiting in an offshore wind, but this lagoon can only be reached by buggy.

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Secret spot (reef)

Not shown on the map, somewhere between Lagoa Barra Mar and Paracuru. Only accessible by buggy across the beach, downwind from the lagoon. You can identify it from a group of palm trees and fishing boats on the beach. Fabulous wave riding on the reef break and flat water on the inside. Similar to the conditions in Pecem and Paracuru, but this is just for you! You can get there in an ordinary car up to 2 hours before and after low tide.

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Immediately around Taíba

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Cumbuco

The best-known spot in Ceará, quite busy and choppy in comparison with Taíba, just under an hour upwind by buggy. The centre is often busy and it is better to sail upwind to the Boxing Kangaroo beach shack. Cumbuco is best known for the Lagoa de Cauipe, which is bigger than the one in Taíba, but also much busier. Most pros go there early in the morning, since otherwise there are too many people. The barracas serve good fish.

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Pecem

Best known for its ugly harbour wall, but 2 km to the left you will also find some clean waves. It is a nice downwind from here back home! At low tide you can do some great wave riding, with waves about 1.5 m high (due to a rock formation, with flat water on the shore side). Sometimes the wind does blow offshore, so watch out.

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Paracuru

This spot is actually called Quebra Mar, which means something like "breaking sea", after the reef about 300 m from the shoreline. This creates very flat water at low tide. Behind the reef there is superb surf, with waves up to 2 m. At high water it is choppy everywhere and not much good for kitesurfing. It's important to be able to go upwind, because there are a lot of poles in the water to the left (fishing nets). The kiting spot is right in front of a delicious fish restaurant; you can't miss it.

Going to do the best downwinder ever! Pecem to Paracuru... low tide during the day, plus 2.9 m wave forecast and wave period of 14... this is gonna be epic! Flat water and perfect kicker waves with around 1 m height... and I have my Go Pro on my head... let's hope it works so you will be able to see this amazing downwinder! And I am sure today I will land my latest trick! Wish me luck ;-)

Toby Braeuer, Kiteforum.com

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Multi-day trips

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Ilha do Guajiru

Also known as the flatwater sea. This is the biggest lagoon of all and a paradise for flat water surfers. This is ideal for a two-day trip. NB: There is huge commercial hype surrounding Ilha, so in that way it is the exact opposite of Taíba, enjoyed by the "happy few". Forewarned is forearmed. Until I have been there myself, you will not hear me bad-mouthing the place like some people do in Cumbuco...

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Jericoacoara

The top hippie and surfing village in North Brazil, with its well-known sandy streets and countless little shops, definitely worth the trip if you have time. Jeri is best known among windsurfers (with a powerful offshore breeze), and kitesurfing is possible in the nearby village of Prea. Take your smallest kite. Ideal for four days. Definitely worth the trip, but unfortunately it is five hours' drive away and they don't have waves like in Taíba.

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Canoa Quebrada

Hippie village to the south of Fortaleza, famous because Mick Jagger went there to chill in the seventies. There is kitesurfing too, but the wind is lighter.








Wind for life

The Fortaleza region is probably the kiting destination with the best wind reliability in the world.

The real wind season begins in late June and usually ends in late January, while October and November are the best of all. That is when there is plenty of wind every day.
e.g. 4 weeks July-August 2011: 1 no wind day (less than 16 knots),
      4 weeks September-October 2011: 1 no wind day,
      2 weeks November 2011: 1 no wind day,
      3 weeks end December-mid January 2011-2012: 1.5 no wind days!
The wind in Taíba blows up at about 10 in the morning and increases until 4 pm. The wind then gradually drops off until sunset,
at around 5-6 pm.

The most commonly used kite is a 9 m (ladies use a 7 m). You should only bring anything larger than a 12 m in the so-called rainy season.

The waves begin in October (2010: 13 October) and grow really large as soon as the rainy season begins.


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