As far as we can recall, Carlos Mario, also known as Bebê, is the only kiteboarder to have won the first PKRA stop he ever attended. This humble seventeen-year-old Brazilian prodigy had nothing but his impressive natural kiteboarding skills, until he met a man who bet on his talent and took him under his wing, expecting nothing in exchange but Bebê’s success. Nowadays, the young Brazilian is pushing the limits of the men’s freestyle repertoire. He wowed crowds and judges alike at the VKWC Dakhla stop 2015, with huge doubles that earned him one of the highest scores of the event.
Name: Carlos Mario Monteiro da Silva
Date of birth: 22/01/1998
Hometown: Caucáia – Ceará – Brasil
Favorite locations: Lagoa do Cauípe, Jericoacoara, Barra Grande (Brasil) and Dakhla (Morocco)
Where do you come from?
I live with my siblings, uncles and cousins in a very small fishing village called Cauipe (Cumbuco, Brazil), which expanded thanks to international tourism related to kiteboarding. My family, as well as many others here, are very humble. Even now, my grandfather continues making a living out of traditional fishing.
How did you first discover kiteboarding?
I started kiting very early thanks to my uncle Goiaba, the first kiteboarder of the family, who taught my brother Carlos Madson and me. We were lucky because the lagoon of Cauipe is a very great place to learn and practice. It is an internationally renowned spot for freestyle. As a child, I was always in the water and I had the opportunity to meet lots of Brazilian and foreign riders who liked my style and lent me their equipment so I could train. Thanks to that help, I was finally able to enter the international world of kitesurfing.
It was difficult for you to manage to get out of Brazil to compete. How were you able to participate in your first PKRA stop in Argentina back in 2013?
In the beginning, it was difficult because I did not have enough money to buy equipment. I got the opportunity to compete thanks to the great help of a man called Reginaldo Silva. When I met him in 2012, he had the dream to help a kite athlete because he had loved this sport for a long time. He saw me riding and was moved, so he planned to register me in the 2013 Brazilian championship.
He also helped you for the gear…
With his own savings, Reginaldo Silva bought kites, board and boots. On top of that, he paid for some trips and gave me money to live. I managed to achieve victory and as the champion, I was offered a flight to compete in the PKRA stop in Argentina. He contacted friends of his in Argentina who settled food and accommodation for me. With all that, I was ready to go.
„I never get nervous in competitions. I just enjoy every heat as if it was just a session.“
Were you nervous before your first event on the World Tour? Did you have a strategy to win over big names such as Marc Jacobs and Alex Pastor?
Everybody keeps on asking how I coped with pressure, but I never get nervous in competitions. I just enjoy every heat as if it was just a session. I have seen nervous riders and I can understand it. I think it is quite common in high level championships. As for the strategy, no, I don’t have any to take down a rider. I just train hard and Reginaldo always reminds me to focus only on training. However, he does help me to organize everything. He carefully watches my heats to see which tricks give me more points and analyzes other riders as well. This helped me to perform better after each heat.
After this event, did any brands get in contact with you wanting to sponsor you?
Just after the event in Argentina, seven major kite brands contacted me and started negociations with Reginaldo. He explained to me all the options and we ended up choosing Slingshot.
The qualifiers in Dakhla this year were extremely important for you to enter the main event. You made it and then had an incredibly high score in your first heat, taking out Alex Neto and Michael Schitzhofer. What happened next?
Whilst going for a move, a big gust came in and the pressure was so hard that it ripped the bar out of my hands making me crash sideways. The wipeout was pretty intense and my feet came out of the boots. Afterwards, I did some tests and it turned out that I strained a muscle in my shoulder that prevented me from competing for the rest of the event. After some rest I feel ready for Venezuela’s event, I really want to show what I’m able to do again.
We have heard that you were training hard before suffering your injury and that you are pushing the limits by landing Backside 319 (a.k.a. Blind Judge 9). Have you heard about anyone else doing this trick?
Prior to Dakhla, I trained really hard but I always try to be safe. I always observe the other riders and try to take the best of their technics and skills. This year, my goal is to be able to go as high as possible in the VKWC ranking. Training is a part of my daily life as I live in front of Cauipe Lagoon. I can train for 4 to 5 hours a day and still attend school. Concerning the Backside 319, I’ve never heard about other riders doing it.
Pictures by Toby Bromwich & Hugo Valente