Kiting – it’s a woman’s thing

Surfin Sem Fim - Kiting is a women's thing!

More and more women are taking up kiteboarding and doing epic downwinders!


Kiteboarding isn’t about brawn and brute force. It’s about finesse and flow and the crew at Surfin Sem Fim, one of the world’s leading downwind kite trip operators, are paving the way for women getting into the sport in Brazil. Last year, a crew of women from different backgrounds who’d entered the sport in different ways came together in Jericoacoara and decided to embark on a women’s only downwinder. This is the story of their adventure and also what brought them together.


Surfin Sem Fim - Kiting is a women's thing!

Words: Luciana Annunziata / Images: Analice Diniz

There are more and more women entering into the world of kiteboarding. We are learning, falling, getting back up, doing downwinders, and charging waves. We are in Australia, Cape Verde, and Ceará. We’re everywhere and, if we stop showing up, it’s because we stopped believing in ourselves.

Last year a group of women who didn’t yet know each other converged at Rancho do Peixe in Prea. They underlined the variety of backgrounds from which women are now entering this sport. At first they were strangers but they soon began to interact. They discussed the long downwind journeys that Surfin Sem Fim take along the coast of Ceará and some of them commented that these challenges seemed almost too ambitious for them.

Among the group was athlete, Marcela Witt, who’d previously done the SSF Iron Man route. She overheard the other girls’ comments and an idea was born. “Let’s do our own downwinder” she said. And it was on.


Surfin Sem Fim - Kiting is a women's thing!


The crew at Surfin Sem Fim were soon involved and then there were seven women, including mother and daughter duo Lu and Eliana, all shredding the Jeri sunset. 

Jalila Paulino, one of the leaders of Surfin Sem Fim, was also along for the ride. Organizer, public relations, and passionate kiter. She started in the sport just like many women start: watching. She spent four years working in a kite club in Rio, organizing events, falling in love with the waves and listening to kite stories. It was only after this period, when she moved to Jericoacoara, that Jalila bought her own board and indulged in a passion for kiting. Last year she managed to surf the waves of Pacasmayo and Cape Verde. A huge evolution!


Surfin Sem Fim - Kiting is a women's thing!


Also taking part was Vanessa Chastinet, a team member at Rancho do Kite, and a pioneer of the sport in Ceará. When she moved there and opened the school in 2006, they only had 8 kites and the predominant equipment was the dreaded 4m C-kite.


“Today we are one of the largest schools in the world, and equipment has evolved a lot, with far more safety features. More and more women are entering the water and about 45% of our clients are now women!”


Surfin Sem Fim - Kiting is a women's thing!


Some women feel they could never undertake something like a multi-day downwind trip. Listen to Milla Ferreira though, a kitewave champion who has taken part in SSF downwinders in the past including the 270 km Delta Poldros route.


“You know when you’re so happy to be doing something and thrilled about it at the same time? Everyone wants to hug everyone, congratulate them and say they’re together! In that group, everyone started out one way and ended with a huge evolution in their abilities”.



Downwinders like these are for every female kiter and every woman has her own rhythm. In Julia Rudge’s case, she was already able to complete the SSF Classic Route with less than three years of kiting under her belt (and she lives in São Paulo, far from the sea). 

Analice Diniz, the photographer for the longest SSF routes, wasn’t on the water herself but she crossed three states – Ceará, Piauí and Maranhão – when covering the adventure and she knows how transformative these downwinders can be. “It’s that kind of experience that’s so hard to explain, one has to experience it themselves. The smell of the sea, smiles every day, and the fatigue and happiness that only an expedition can bring”.


There are many other female kiters doing incredible things too. Kiting was made for us! It is a sport in which your body must communicate with the sea and the wind is constantly passing through the subtle movements of the bar. It is a sport of sensitivity.


Surfin Sem Fim - Kiting is a women's thing!


You can use your strength, of course, and you can do tricks and take on the wave (what woman doesn’t love a challenge?) but all you really need is the courage to go into the water and practice. If you do that then any kiting adventure will one day be open to you.

Who knows, maybe one day soon SSF will have an Iron Woman route.


Find out more about the Surfin Sem Fim downwinders at


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