Welcome to a new episode (the 10th of the second series) of our podcast.
Today, instead of talking about surf, we decided to push our boundaries and discover kite-surf with the legendary World Champion from Cape Verde Mitu Monteiro.
With him we discussed about his journey in to the sport, Cape Verde , future projects and much more!
You can find the interview in all the major podcast platforms (Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, etc..) or read the interview on our website (please forgive us of spelling mistakes while transcribing it)
TTOS: Aloha Mitu, welcome to the show, where are you today?
I’m in the islands of Cape Verde, we are in lock down because of coronavirus…..
TTOS: Is that total confinement or you are able to go out from the house and do some sport?
We can go in the water and we can do some sports, we have from 6 am to 6pm
TTOS: Today We're gonna talk about you, your career surfing, kite surfing….
First question that I have for you is , in your opinion, what is the most important thing in kite surfing?
I think that the important thing is to have fun, to share the passion, the respect. I think all of these things are important in life too.
TTOS: How did it all started with you and kite surfing?
Cape Verde is a small country made by islands, I started in 99, 2000, but I was windsurfer before.
I have seen some of the tourists in the island doing kitesurfing and I really wanted to try the sport.
It was difficult at the beginning, because, you know, nobody wants to give you the gear because it was really expensive.
One day I had my chance, a guy asked me to help him in launching the kite, grab in back and stuff like that… I gave him help and he gave me the possibility to try his gear.
After five days I was already able to kite surf, I learned so fast, the board had 3 straps, it was the same feeling of the one of windsurf.
But I got bored pretty fast because I couldn’t do any tricks, like I was able to do with windsurf at that time.
TTOS: And suddenly, in 2008, you won your first World Title. How was that journey? It went so fast right?
My first competition was in 2003, I think it was one of the first wave competition here in Cape Verde, they invited me and I said “Of course”, I think it was “Wave Masters” or something like that.
I placed in 5th position and everyone said that I had to continue because I had great potential
You know, sometimes people just give you compliments, so I wasn’t so sure… but then you know, I worked a lot because it was hard to have some sponsor and to travel was really expensive.
I saved my money and I started to invest in some trip and try some competition.
My first proper competition was in Italy, around lake Como, it was not a wave competition, but a freestyle one and the result was great!
I wanted to do more of them, but it wasn’t easy cause my passport and the difficulty to get visa….
In 2008, in France, I arrived second and my sponsor was so happy, it was like a door opening for me, I just grabbed this opportunity and just fighting.
I did all the tour and, by the end of the year, I was World Champion.
it was something really important for me and also for my country and also for the riders here because I opened this door for everyone because, after that moment, people started to see the sport in a different vay.
Here in Cape Verde, if you said to your parents “I’m going to catch some waves” they would reply to you “Just make sure you go fishing and catch some fish instead, as we cannot eat waves”
Now, it's totally different, because I have my business, I have my school and, yesterday, I just opened my online shop.
Kids are saying, I want to be like Mitu, I want to become world champion…
This makes me so proud! It is something really good I do for my country, for my people and also for me.
TTOS: What you're saying is actually very powerful…. you're talking about inspiring a new generation in an Island, like Cape Verde, where things are not easy, and, definitely, for young people to see a champion of a sport is so inspiring….
There is also something else, you know, when I asked you the first question “what is the most important in kite surfing”, you told me to have fun, but also you told me something in between that I think is very important.
That is “to try”, you said, in order to make it, I tried this, I tried that, and, most probably, if you weren’t so curious to try that sport maybe today you will not have been a world champion…..sometimes we need just to go out from comfort zone, right?
Definitely, if you don’t try to do the first one step, you never gonna have the results.
Here people now see me differently, they don’t see me as the young kid on the beach trying to catch fishes , now I have my business, travel with the family and a house.
People are proud, because they have seen my evolution.
If you don't try, of course, you don't get a result.
For example, many people say that kite surf it's so difficult, It's hard, but then, after they try a lesson with me they are so happy as they say, it wasn’t that hard.
TTOS: How do you train for kite surfing?
I spend a lot of time in the water….. in the morning I just check the report and I say “today's good for surfing, or spearfishing, whatever”
Back in the past year, when I was training for the competition, I also did some training out of water. some yoga stretch, free diving, as I needed to try to keep my body the strongest as possible,
I also believe that a lot of sports can positively influence kite surfing, like surf, skateboard or snowboard , but there is nothing better, in my opinion, that spend time in the water.
TTOS: What was the biggest wave you ever caught?
Oh, very difficult to remember….maybe the one in Mauritius in 2010 was really to tough, because it was streaky, no safety boat and the waves were just closing out in front of the beach, it was hard to go outside, it has taken us 40 minutes to reach outside…
TTOS: how do you deal with adrenaline and fear?
I don’t think so much about fear, I guess is more about the respect of the water.
In regards of adrenaline, I have a lot when I surf… I don't think about nothing, I'm not scared.
I try to respect and to know my limit, I think it's really important.
Everyone must know his limits, if you combine these two things, so everything gonna be okay.
Have respect and know your limits, this is the best formula.
TTOS: At the beginning of interview, we talked about your school, your clothing brand….you have a lot of projects going on, what's next?
All these projects are part of my life…. for example, I started my brand here in Cape Verde because tourists come here and they want to have something signed by me.
I started to think about this and I said. why not to create a Mitu brand? I designed that in Italy and it became pretty successful and now I sell it also in internet.
I believe the secret is to go slowly and to build on the success.
Same thing with the school, I started with a small school, in one hotel in a small village.
I started with 8 to 10 kites and then we started to work hard and now we have our kite center in one of the best kite spot and beach in the East coast.
It is good for everyone, we have this big school with a park, a restaurant, a kids park and we are a hundred percent with the energy solar.
Everyday we are working very hard.
Then there is Michael, my son, he just love surfing and he wants to be a pro surfer, so I tell him that he needs to work hard. I think that, when I will stop competition, I want to dedicate some time with him and also do some things for the the kids here in my country, maybe training them, show them how to have fun on the water.
TTOS: We're going to finish our interview with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind
The best kite surf you ever had.
F1, it is crazy! every year there is a new thing, a new feeling the kite, it’s my favorite.
TTOS: Personal question, your favorite song,…
It depends on the moment, but we can say Reggae
TTOS: Your favorite surf spot….
TTOS: Your favorite kite surfer or the one that was always an inspiration for you?
Airton Cozzolino, for me he is like a brother, we grew up together
TTOS: the last question is a little bit unusual, we want to know your best relationship advice.
I think respect each other, try to be happy, and have fun.