KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - CUMBUCO
Three hours away from Prea and Jericoacoara lies the remote fishing village of Cumbuco, with its golden beaches and conditions for every type of riding style and any level. 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, you'll also be mixing it with more pro riders than anywhere else as it's such a great training location.
Cumbuco beach is considered to be one of the best and most consistent places in the world for kitesurf training, with mild air and ocean temperatures and strong and consistent southeast trade winds, cross or cross-onshore from the right from June to February. Cumbuco village has a six kilometre long, sandy beach to kitesurf on, so there is always plenty of space. There's a small shorebreak just off the beach and then choppy water behind that and some sandbanks that create some nice waves. Cumbuco can be the start of hundreds of kilometres of downwinders, with sandy beaches and lagoons the whole way. The infamous Cauipe Lagoon is six kilometres downwind of Cumbuco, and is easy to get to via a downwinder or a buggy and there's always a buggy to give you a lift back. The water is shallow and flat, there are no concrete buildings, just sand, coconut trees and a couple of beach restaurants. You'll also find lots of PKRA riders here throughout the season perfecting their skills. Beginners stay on the upwind side, intermediates in the middle and pros downwind.
There are lots more spots in this area, including Icarai beach ten kilometres away with a heavy wave breaking 100 metres from the shore-line, producing clean sections up to 200 metres long. Pecem port can be seen from Cumbuco in the distance, 35 kilometres away with clean, peeling waves. 70 kilometres downwind of Cumbuco, Paracuru is one of the best spots for waves in the northeast of Brazil with a reef 300 metres offshore. Guajiru is 130 kilometres from Fortaleza, a perfect spot for beginners, 70 kilometres south of Fortaleza is Uruau for those is search of less crowds. The list goes on!
Icarai beach is ten kilometres from Cumbuco. Here you can regularly find waves of up to two metres that break one hundred metres from the shore-line. The wave is very heavy but you will find sections and banks that have one hundred or even two hundred metre sections of clean, barrelling waves. There are always surfers out when its working, sometimes up to one hundred. The place to kite from is downwind of the Barrachas (beach bars) where there is more room to launch and land. Don't kite on a Sunday, the beach is packed with locals and the sea is full of surfers and swimmers.
Nine kilometres from Cumbuco is this great lagoon with butter flat water. It can only handle between four and five kites safely, but there is usually no one else there. The lagoon is separated from the sea by a 30 metre strip of sand that can break in during very high tides with big swells. The wind is steady and comes at an angle across the width of the lagoon. Don't bother trying on a Sunday, its packed with locals swimming and fishing.
Just five kilometres downwind from Cumbuco is a large freshwater lagoon fed by a small tributary river. Separated from the sea by 300 metres of beach, the wind blows onto the lagoon very consistently, allowing you to sail easily across its width. It can handle around 20 kites safely, but has been getting very busy, so hitting it in the early mornings (8am) is the key.
The port of Pecem can be seen from Cumbuco in the distance 35 kilometres away. The conditions can be very special indeed, with clean, peeling waves up to 1.5 metres in size when good swells are running and with cross-shore winds from the right. You kite 500 metres downwind from the roadway that juts two kilometres out to sea where there is a container ship dock. It sounds dodgy, but it's not. It's best at low-tide on the push (incoming tide).
70 kilometres downwind of Cumbuco, Paracuru is one of the best spots for waves in the northeast of Brazil. Five kilometres from Paracuru town, it is a little tricky to find, but if you ask people they will direct you. There is a Barraca right on the spot and you can base yourself here for the day. Three hundred metres offshore is a reef that at low tide creates very flat water with lovely waves of up to two metres. It's best at low-tide, or mid-tide, as the inside can be very choppy at high-tide when the reef does not protect the bay. Just watch out for the fishermens' fences four hundred metres downwind of the Barraca that go all the way out to the reef. Beyond the waves you're out in to the ocean where the swell can be very big.
This small fishing village is 130 kilometres from Fortaleza with a huge beach and shallow water for over four hundred metres. You can launch directly in front of the fabulous Rede Beach Resort where there are no rocks around, so this really is a great spot for beginners and intermediates kitesurfers with predominantly easterly, cross-shore winds. You can drive the length of the beach and literally pick your spot, choosing from flat water or small waves.
It's windy here from June through to January 99% of the days, averaging a respectable 20 knots coming in cross- to cross-onshore from the right and very stable. Believe all you hear. It's unreal! Windguru and Windfinder always show 15 ? 30 knots, but that only shows the trade winds that are reinforced by the thermals from the sand dunes, so it's always more. Daytime temperature sits around 29°C / 84°F, dropping to 23°C / 73°F at night. The water temperature sits at a comfy 27°C / 80°F for the majority of the year.
From Fortaleza Pinto Martins (FOR) it's just a 30 kilometres to Cumbuco. Check with your accommodation for transfers.
Cumbuco is a small fishing village so most accommodation is just a short walk from the centre. Otherwise take a taxi for longer distances. There's no need to hire a car.
Currency: Brazilian Reais (R$) - £1 = R$3.3 / €1 = R$2.7 / US$ = R$2 Make sure you always have cash at hand. There are several ATM machines in the airport and two in Cumbuco, but up the coast they are rarely spotted.
Choose between hotels and guesthouses (pousadas), most of which are small and cosy. You can also rent an apartment or house if you're with a group or staying for a longer period. WINDTOWN is a small, trendy Beach Resort nestled within swaying palm trees and is directly on the beach, just 800 metres from the village centre, so close enough to easily get to, but far enough away to feel peaceful. Busiest periods are November and Christmas/New Year, so book well in advance for then. Best periods are September, first weekend in December and last weeks in January, when it's quieter and the wind is still good. Check out whats on offer in the video below:
Most people eat out in Cumbuco as there are over 30 restaurants, serving local fish dishes to European and Asian cuisine. There are also three supermarkets for your essentials. Thirty kilometres back up the road, Fortaleza is a big city with a population of three million. You'll find plenty of fun, frolics and entertainment there!
Cumbuco is the perfect place to relax or be active, with horse riding, sandboarding, buggy tours, yoga, mountain tours and partying. Alternatively head into Fortaleza for an afternoon's shopping, starting at Mercado Central, before strolling to Avenida Mr Tabosa and ending up at the eight kilometre long boulevard, Beira Mar, for the evening. For grown ups, this is the place to party. For kids, there's also a beach park and a waterpark with huge sliders in Fortaleza... although big kids can go here, too!
ANOTHER DAY AT WINDTOWN:
Riders who have included Cumbuco as one of their Top Places to Ride are:Angela Peral, Jalou Langeree, Jo Wilson, Johara Sykes-Davies, Julie Simsar, Mallory De la Villemarqué, Kim Albrecht, Niccolo Porcella, Nick Jacobsen, Sam Light, Sigve Botnen, Sky Solbach, Youri Zoon