About me

My story, my mission: never give up

THE KID FROM THE OCEAN

I am from Sal Island, Cabo Verde. I grew up in Santa Maria, a small fishing village. I was born on a summer night, in a small room, with no electricity. My mother raised me alone. She was young, with very little income, and even as a baby I stayed at home alone while she was working. It was all good for the first few months – the trouble only began when I learned to walk. As soon as she was gone to work, I’d leave the cradle with my bottle of milk, and prowl around the house. I can remember one time I put a stick in the electrical outlet and it literally threw me a few meters across the room. I fell asleep on the floor shaking with a fever after the shock, and my mother found me in the same state hours later when she returned from work. … In that respect, I sometimes think that somebody from above must be looking out for me….

As I grew up, there were only more worries for my mother to endure. When she’d take me to school I’d run away as soon as she was gone. And it was around that time that my passion for the ocean began. I spent most of my days on the beach watching the fishermen boats, fascinated by the way their sails powered them forward. And after a while, I started to make my own model boats with wood and garbage bags, and putting them in the water is how I learned the basics of wind direction. When I first started with my model boats, the problem was getting them to sail upwind; the boat would turn around because it didn’t have enough weight on the bottom. So one day I swam really close to a real boat, had a look around underneath and had a light bulb moment, “Ahh it needs more weight underneath.” I remember times that fishermen took me home to my mother after rescuing me from almost drowning. At the time I had assumed that I was already able to swim long distances .. The pure innocence of a kid’s mind! And I can remember my mother crying about it. I knew it was my fault that she was crying, but it was just impossible for me to stay away from the sea. I just couldn’t help it!

And then I discovered the waves… My first bodyboard was a sack filled with old water bottles packed inside for flotation and I learned to ride the waves with my friends. One day we discovered an old windsurfing board in the garbage outside a windsurfing station at our beach. We were really small, but we all tried to surf with this huge board, learning to drag our foot in the water for a fin and to turn it in the waves. I began to use a plastic sack as a sail, sit on top of the board to try to windsurf, but I could only go downwind. And then one day a guy saw me and says “Ahh Mitu come on, I’m gonna show you how to windsurf.” So he cut the sail and the mast, and made the sail smaller for me. It wasn’t easy, but in one day I’d learned how to go, come back, and stay upwind. All day I spent on the water just playing with my little sail and I learned really fast.

Mitu black white

After that, I would windsurf to keep up with my sailboat models, turn them around and send them back. I was 11 at the time. Then I got another board and started using the harness and footstraps and learned how to jump. But the mindset about surfing and windsurfing was different back then. When I told my mama I wanted to go surfing, she would say “Surfing for what? What’s the wave gonna give you? If you go fishing then we can eat dinner.” For several years I tried hard to keep studying, but at the age of 16 I decided to leave school and dedicate myself to my real passion. I went spear fishing so I could bring some food home, and I started working as a windsurf instructor. I had a dream. I had a goal. My entire existence was dedicated to the sea. And the passion I had for it helped me to stay away from the wrong paths in life. The sea has always been my salvation

AND THEN I SAW A KITE IN THE AIR…

A friend of mine came to Sal with a Kite and a theory book and he asked me to do the practice part while he was reading. It was fun. To be honest I found it easy. Compared to windsurfing, where every step takes weeks and weeks of practice, kitesurfing was way too easy to learn. And that was the reason I gave up after a couple of weeks. But then, I remember seeing a tourist doing board off and I understood that it wasn’t just all about jumping. So I borrowed the kite again from the guy I was working with, and after three months I had enough money to buy my first kite. My first board came from a fisherman who had found it in the sea and sold it to me for €150. At that time, I was the only Cape Verdean who knew how to kitesurf, but a few tourists were already coming to Sal to train. I remember when Marc Shinn landed here and saw me riding strapless. He was so surprised. There was no internet in those days.
Actually, I started like everyone else, on a twin tip board – I didn’t know yet that I could have been kitesurfing with my simple wave board. I had learned to land most of the old style tricks pretty quickly. Then board off, handle pass and everything changed

Let’s just say that when I first started riding strapless it wasn’t because it was in vogue at the time, it was more to do with the fact that I didn’t have any other board. So I used my surfboard for kiting as well as surfing. When I look back and see how far strapless has come, I couldn’t be happier or more proud. Here in Cape Verde we used to say “Strapless is religion”. Most of the guys here ride strapless, and I can safely say that the level of strapless riders here in Cape Verde is the best in the world.
I must say, I’m filled with pride when I see young Cape Verdeans, who used to watch me practicing my tricks, now pushing the level higher, becoming champions themselves, and spreading their skills all over the world under our country’s flag. Also, thanks to the first strapless tour, I had the chance to realize that every year there are new talents rising from all over the world, and this gives me more motivation to keep doing my job. I’m still in the top 5 in the world, so I’m not gonna pass the torch just yet. I’m gonna work hard and do my best to help this amazing sport to grow even more.

…and then i started flying

Freestyle strapless was not a goal actually , I was passing a big wave in ponta sino and I find myself jumping it . On that jump I realized that the board were stuck on my feet thanks to the wind and something just got to my mind …. let’s have a bit more fun , let’s try some tricks 😉 I started with adapting some of the windsurfing tricks and then I mixed it with some skate freestyle maneuvers too. From this combination , after few years of practice and most of all , thanks to the innovation of material … a new discipline was Arising. I can still remember the first time I hit the water of Como lake with my surfboard : people was literally staring at me like I was completely mad !!!
Then they saw me having fun , doing tricks in flat water …and in few hours everybody was asking how and wanted to try !
Strapless freestyle gave me the motivation to go on with kitesurfing. It was a completely new discipline to be invented and spread , and I do proud and I so glad and proud to see where it is now !

 

It always makes me glad to receive compliments and recognitions. It has not been simple for me the path till where I am now. I had nobody to teach me, nobody to watch to take inspiration . All I have learned come from my ambition, my passion and from a lots of beating !!! Maybe that’s why now I’m so keen to spread my knowledge to the others, I love to pass my passion to people who share it. During my wave camps and coaching I ‘m so proud when I see somebody who manages to do a trick for the first time or the happy faces after having ride ponta preta… Sometime I ‘m just walk on the beach and stop give some tips to a rider… or I spend my lunch time explaining to somebody who asked how to do a backroll. I love what I do, and I want the others love too!

…since STRAPLESS has become MY RELIGION

 

 

 

 

Career highlights:

KPWT WAVE MASTER WORLD CHAMPION 2008

4x VICE WORLD CHAMP 2010,2011,2012.

story telling

AS my world has changed

I am filled with pride by seeing the young cape verdians that one day were watching me to learn all my tricks , now pushing the level always further becoming champions able to spread all over the world their skills , and the name of our country.
Also, thanks to the first strapless tour, I had the chance to realize that every year there are new talents come from all over the world, and this is just giving me always more motivation to keep on doing my job.
I’m still on the top 5 , so I’m not gonna pass the torch yet , and I’m gonna work hard and do my best to help this amazing sport grow even more.

If you weren’t riding on the GKA tour what would you be doing?
SURFING WITH MY KIDS

I have been competing in 4 different tours and I must admit that the vibe we have in the GKA is the best ever . All competitors are there to give their best in competition but most of all to share our passion . We talk about sessions, tricks , the future of the sport and we all work together as a team . Another thing I like of this tour is the fact to mix two disciplines , wave and strapless freestyle . I know is a penalty for somebody , but in the same time is a challange for everybody . I was astonished to see how much the riders have progressed from year to year.

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My life has changed immensly in the last years . I’m no more the Mitu Monteiro of 10 years ago , Now I’m a father and a Husband . I have so many responsabilities compared to before . Actually I can definitely say that be a father also change my vision of riding . No unnecessary risks , no nonsense just to give show , no more challenging myself till the limit . I’m much more settled . In competition for ex. I know what I have to do to try to pass my heat and I go for those manouvres , that’s it . For istance , rarely I partecipate to the big air now, to avoid possibly injury . Let’s say that I go compete ’cause I feel it is still my job, but I do it with responsability . Also during the trip or the trainings abroad, I fell like I have to do what I have to do the quickest possible in order to come back home .
About my kids , well the hardest part is when I have to stay away from them for long time , sometimes 3 , 4 weeks. I want to be involved in their education , and this means a daily work . I do love share my passion with them , we spend so many hours in the water together , mostly with Michael the biggest one, but now we are initiating also Matthew of 2 . I think that us , as parents , we do have such a responsability to from them as kids , to allow them to be good man one day …

THE gALLERY

MY LIFE BEHIND THE LENS

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