16/05/2013 | 11 comments
I’m currently out in Brazil for my annual voyage, which I am now making for the fourth year in a row. When thinking about other options earlier on in the year of other places that could contend with what Brazil has to offer I really couldn’t think of any for this time of year.
That is why I’m back out here again and after being here for almost a week I still haven’t rigged bigger than 4.2. Along with the amazing wind which is always a given out here we’ve also had some of the best swell ever experienced for this time in the year.
Photos: Bethany Mercer.
Situated in the North East of Brazil in the state of Ceara just four hours from Fortaleza, Jericoarcoara A.K.A Jeri has become a must visit location for many freeriders, aspiring wave sailors and freestylers alike. The season runs from September to January with the windiest time being the early part of the season and the wavier part towards the end. I can honestly say out of all the places I’ve been in the world in terms of reliability of wind then nowhere even comes close.
The tide plays a big part in the conditions that you can expect in Jeri during the day. If you imagine the spot as a point break, the higher the tide gets the waves start to increase, this also means there’s a wind shadow created by the point. However if you sail past the breaking zone then there’s plenty of rolling swell to play in. Then at low tide you will get much cleaner wind, normally with smaller waves. This is the perfect time for freeriding and freestyle as you get amazingly flat areas of water in between the small and perfectly peeling waves and then great bump and jump conditions on the way out. It’s worth mentioning that even in a big swell the waves are pretty forgiving and whilst satisfying for the wave sailors you’ll never find yourself in too much trouble. As far as wind strength goes then the fact that for my last two trips out here in October/November time I haven’t packed bigger than 4.7 can tell you a lot. Everyday the wind starts around 9am but doesn’t fully kick in until around 10pm but will then lat the entire day. My board quiver for this year actually exceeds my number of sails and I’ve got packed the 2013 Fanatic Quad 75. Tri-wave 86 and the Skate 89, which has been working perfectly for me. When the swell is lacking there’s always the option of heading upwind to the wave beach of Malhada where at mid tide you’ll find some nice cross-on wave conditions
When travelling from Europe your easiest option is to contact the travel agents Sportif http://www.sportif.travel. These guys can arrange everything for you, which will definitely be the easiest option if you’re planning on renting kit. The main centre on the beach is Club Ventos which sits right on the prime spot, the centre is fully stocked with loads of up to date kit including surfboards and SUPs. If you’re planning on going through the process of booking it all yourself then the easiest flight option is with TAP via Lisbon however if you plan of taking kit then you’re much better off booking with TAM. TAM fly from many cities in Europe either via Rio or Sao Paulo and though the flight time may be a fair bit longer and the hassle of re checking your bags in Brazil can be frustrating the excess policy is second to none. With TAM 2x Bags of 32kg is accepted regardless of the length under your normal allowance, which means unless your planning on taking a small centre out there then you should be well clear of any excess baggage charges. To give you an idea of how much gear that is including clothes my Girlfriend and I had packed in our 4x bags of 32kg were 4x boards, 5x sails, 6x masts, 3x booms, 5x extensions and 4x UJ’s. Again if you do take your own kit then your best bet for storage is at the Club Ventos centre where you’ll be the closest distance to the water. If you’re booking your own transfer then contact Jeri Viagens a Jeri based company that specialise in airport runs.
The small town of Jericoacoara is full of South American charm from its brightly coloured walls, hand painted shop fronts, sprawling fuchsia flowers and donkeys roaming the streets. It is a National Park therefore you can’t build any concrete roads or obtrusive housing therefore the entire town consists of sandy roads and little Brazilian pousada’s; it’s exactly how you would dream of a picturesque Brazilian fishing town. The town never seems to sleep or stop with windsurfers up early to catch the best wind and tide, buzzing all day throughout the sunshine with music blaring from bars and restaurants. The town then becomes alive in the evening with capoeira dancers on the beach during sunset, rum carts lining the entrance to the main streets serving drinks with every ripe fruit imaginable and forro dancing only getting started in the early hours of the morning. There is something here for everyone whether you want to relax in a hammock, try the Brazilian cuisine, windsurf all day or party all night.
The town is full of various options but the best bet will be to go through your travel agent to get the best idea of where to stay. If you are doing this trip for a few months then it’s worth booking somewhere online for a few nights then searching locally when arrive for the best deal.
What else is there to do?
If you’ve got some energy left after the windsurfing then there are plenty of options to keep yourself entertained in Jeri. The SUP and surfing conditions can be about as idyllic as they get with the point being sheltered by the wind you can still get some glassy waves even when its blowing 30+ knots on the outside. The waves are small but long and using a long board or a SUP you definitely get the most out of them.
If you dabble with the dark side then even though kiting is banned at the main point there’s a beach a few minutes down wind that Club Ventos offers a taxi service too.
Along with the obvious watersport side to the town there’s many other excursions to keep everyone entertained including horse riding and buggy rides through the dunes. Club Ventos also offers a best of both package where you can check out their other centre in Icaraizinho.
- Try an Acai. You’ll never regret it and will possibly become addicted for your entire stay.
- Head to Pousada do Mauricio’s during happy hour (6pm) to make the most of the free snacks and amazing vibe.
- The local fruit is amazing especially the papaya’s and Maracuja’s
- Head to the baraca’s (rum carts) in the evening to sample some caiprinhas. The best cart is Rodolfo Drinks.
- Watch the locals doing their Capoeira on the beach. (dance fighting)
- Ignore the man wearing the metal skirt shouting at people with a megaphone. He’s crazy but will make you a very nice ash tray out of a coke can.
- Try the cans of Guarana.
- Don’t pack a wetsuit unless you want to cook yourself.
- Where sun cream!!!!
- Head up the dune for an amazing view of the town to watch some of the most incredible sunsets.
- Look before you gybe (It can get busy out there)