During the EDP Kite Surf Pro 2012, first stop of the KSP 2012, we had the chance to speak with Best Kiteboarding new team rider, the brazilian Pedro Henrique.
Hi! My name is Pedro Henrique and I’m 30 years old.
30 years old? Wow, man, you look much younger!
I actually had my birthday on 20th of April.
Happy Birthday then! When did you start kitesurfing Pedro?
It was 2 years ago. It was in the North East part of Brazil, during surf competition. My friend has a kitesurf school there and he invited me to try. He knew that I wanted to learn and he invited me to learn with him. I learned really fast. Once I started to learn how to control the kite it was really easy to learn how to control the board.
You originally come from surfing, right?
Yes, exactly. So the main difficulty was to learn how to control the kite, once I knew how to it was really easy.
Your style is very different from the style of other riders due to your huge experience as a surfer.
I think that main difference between me and other riders is the way I read the wave. But there are a lot of fantastic riders here such as Keahi de Aboitiz that practices SUP as well, that read waves really well. Undoubtedly those years I spent surfing professionally gave me a lot of experience of how to read the wave, to know the best spot on the wave to maneuver, how to position yourself on the board. Those are the principal characteristics that everyone spots right away, the way I read the wave, my position on the board and the way I maneuver. I enter the wave as I would be entering it surfing.
Do you ever forget that you have a kite in your hands?
At the very beginning I was always forgetting the kite. I was so concentrated on the wave. Right now I have much more experience so I use to my advantage while surfing. But it depends on weather conditions. In Guincho, during my first heat the wind was so light that I had to abandon the kite at times just to be able to perform a maneuver. But I guess it’s the matter of practice. I come from Rio de Janeiro and the wind there is always from left to right so it took time to adapt to new conditions here. The sea conditions are also more difficult here for someone that is goofy, like me but I’m getting used to it.
Kitesurfing or surfing?
Both. When you can surf you normally cannot kitesurf and the opposite so both kitesurfing and surfing the complement each other. They give me the same feeling of being in the water, surfing, maneuvering. You can practice them at different times of the day but the both bring you the same amount of pleasure.
How about freestyle?
I like freestyle. When I started kitesurfing I was into freestyle and all the aerial tricks, rotations. I tried to adapt some of them to my surfing, the way you rotate, the way you hold your board and so on.
Have you ever thought about competing in Freestyle?
No, not really. I like to do it but competing is much more complicated. Guilly Brandão, who competed in freestyle told be that competing in freestyle requires a lot of dedication. It is very physically demanding, you need to practice a lot. I have a big experience in surfing so I though it would be better to stick to it. Kitesurfing was something new but not surfing, it is something that I really love. The truth is the better I get in kitesurfing the more my experience in surfing shows. I can’t wait to be able to apply all I know from surfing into my kitesurfing. I think I will really grow then.
What is your goal for this year?
When I chose kitesurfing it was kind of hard for people to accept that I am a professional surfer as well, at least in Brazil. People think that if I get better in kitesurfing I will lose my qualities in surfing. The truth is that I feel it’s wrong. I feel that my surfing is getting better and better. I know that I can compete in both and my goal for this and the following years is to be on the top of KSP and on the top of ASP World Tour. It would be an amazing accomplishment but I believe its possible. My decision to stick with kitesurfing didn’t get well accepted by my surfing sponsors but I really believe I can be good in both. BEST Kiteboarding was the first to believe in what I believed too. I am sure that as soon as I am able to come back to compete in World Tour I will be able to conquer a lot in both sports.
It is very important for me to dedicate myself to kitesurfing now. My place among surfers is stable and strong, I keep on scoring good results in competitions. It is easy to come back to surfing but it is more complicated to start winning in kitesurfing. That is why dedicate myself much more to kitesurf right now.
Your regular day?
I believe that if you want to be good you need to train a lot. You need to practice, eat well, swim, train in the water. That is why I try to practice twice a day in the water and also exercise, diet. I try to do everything that can help me becoming a better athlete. I swim, I practice at the gym. Sometimes it is difficult to have a balanced diet but I try to eat healthy.
Favorite kitesurfing spot?
Saquarema, long left hander and side on wind. This is one of the best spots that I kitesurfed until now but I know there are many more still to discover.
Teahupo´o, Tahiti, perfect tubes. I always stay with the same people there and I already feel like at home.
Key to success for the athlete?
You need to be really well physically prepared, to be able to give your best during the competitions. And you also need to be psychologically prepared to put up with a lot of travelling, with spending a lot of time away from your family and to deal with winning and losing, with sponsors. To be a professional athlete requires a lot of work, it’s not only surfing or kitesurfing, it is much more than this. There is also a responsibility towards young generation of athletes. I was inspired by amazing Brazilian surfers since I was a kid until today.
Who is you favorite surfer?
Who inspires me today in surfing is Dane Reynolds. He is an exceptional athlete. In kitesurfing I really like Keahi de Aboitiz, he is like Kelly Slater of kitesurfing.
Thank you Pedro and see you soon!