This January I got the chance to travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil to coach some clinics and spread wakeboarding throughout the country. Each time I go to Brazil I love it more and more. Not only that, but the riders are continually progressing. Some people still think of Brazil as a third world country, but today I'm not so sure that's the case. Many of the Brazilians are rising up out of poverty and joining the middle class. Right now, the economy is booming down there. Don't get me wrong, it will be a while before they catch up to American standards of living, but it is exciting the watch the country undergo a transformation.
When I first arrived, I was picked up by my friend Matheus. We drove from the airport to Broa Lake, about two hours away, to ride for the entire weekend. A dentist named Porto runs a wakeboard camp there and my friend Alcidio and I partnered up to keep people on the water all weekend. Usually when I coach abroad, the riders are all beginners, but here I saw some riders that were pretty impressive. They were working on tricks from wake to wake backside 180's all the way up to whirlybirds. The best part about it was their excitement for the sport. We occupied the lake for two days straight.
Then I went to Igarata to meet up with my friend Rodrigo Teixeira. This is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever ridden. It was 90 degrees outside, two-mile-an-hour winds, the wake was big and we had the lake completely to ourselves. For two days we rode down the seemingly endless fingers of the lake. The lake expands for almost 50 miles. This is a place that I would love to come film at any time.
My friend Caro took me from Igarata to the Naga cable in Sao Paulo the following day. It's always fun to travel to different cable parks around the world and see what kinds of styles the local riders have developed. Surprisingly, here in Brazil rail riding has become extremely popular at the cable. Usually I see guys spend all their time hucking air tricks and skipping rails, but here the locals loved them! I strapped up and rode behind some of them for almost an hour, following their line to make sure I stayed on the whole rail. It was packed with people and the riders were super friendly and stoked to see someone from America there.
The next day Alcidio took me down to his family's private lake in Engenho Velho (Ribeirão Preto-SP). The lake was amazing. Aside from some roll back, it was perfect. It was about the size of a long contest run, completely surrounded by trees in the middle of a sugar plantation. We had complete glass all day.
A producer/filmer named Claudio came out to film in the evening. He is a big time filmographer in Brazil, shooting things like documentaries and music videos. He got in the tube while I was strapped up with GoPros and his associate shot footage from the chase boat and inside the boat. I don't think I've ever had that many cameras on me at once. He plans to make a full on wakeboard movie this year. We're still in the planning stages right now, but he's so creative I have no doubt it will be sick.
When we weren't filming, we were slammed with people who came out to ride. I know they were motivated because they drove to the middle of nowhere to get there. I let a few of the guys try the Jobe Austin Series and they liked it so much they ordered some for themselves.
I came back from Brazil completely fired up. All of the excitement for the sport down there is contagious. I can't wait for the next time I get to go down there. If you ever get the chance to travel anywhere down there, I highly recommend it.
Austin is sponsored by Zinka, Jobe, Cape Fear Sportswear,
Cobian, Muscle Milk, nGroup, Supra Boats and Marine Products.