Michael Jorge Monteiro: Born to Surf

There is a gifted young boy with a strong passion. 

Michael Jorge is the son of the former kite-surf Wave World Champion Mitu Monteiro.
He joined the Italian Surfing Federation in 2020 and at the early age of 8. Last October won the Italian Champship Under Twelve.

If you want to learn more about this promising surfer, keep reading. 


“Mitu, what changed after you had your first child?” 

Like mothers, fathers have a maternal instinct.
When you have a son, your life changes, and even if you have a lot of questions at first, becoming a parent comes naturally. 

Michael and I have a special relationship. 

I’ve spent a lot of time with him since he was born, and we both enjoy surfing, so we frequently set aside time to catch some waves together.


“Born to surf: how did Michael approach surfing? It’s natural to believe that, as the son of a waterman, he was pushed by his parents.” 

Michael learned to surf when he was two years old.
From a young age, a strong passion was evident. He was constantly watching surf videos and drawing waves all over the place. He also folds napkins into waves in restaurants. 

As a father, I never pushed him to get close to the surf because I knew it would backfire.

He was born to surf and does everything naturally.
And he’s itching to go surfing. He motivates me to surf.

At the early age of four, Michael surfed at Ponta Preta, the most difficult spot on Sal Island. 

Everyone chastised me, claiming that he was too young and that it could have been dangerous. 

But I understand what it means. 

I used to run away from home as a child to go to the beach and try to surf. I nearly drowned several times, but the fishermen around me saved me. 

I recognised in Michael the same passion and desire to experience the sea, so I preferred to accompany him and be by his side to protect him in case of an emergency. 

I did it to keep him from getting himself into trouble when he was alone.


“When children try something new, it is normal for them to be excited.
What clues led you to believe Michal possessed a genuine innate passion?” 

He preferred cartoons to surfing videos.
He couldn’t wait to get in the water every day to try to replicate what he saw from true surfers.

I remember the first time that, after his session, Michael proudly told me he made a tube.
I mocked him and said it couldn’t be possible, so he tried to persuade me by describing the sensation he felt in minute detail.


“Are you proud of your son? Are you happy that your experience has enabled you to pave his path?” 

Nicole and I simply want our sons to do what makes them happy.

We both live and work in the watersports industry, so we try to help Michael as much as we can.
As any father would, I hope to be able to pass on to Michael everything I’ve learned on my skin in order to avoid some troubles.

However, I believe it is important for him to have his own experiences because this is what allows you to learn and grow.
I will always be by his side to support him, but Michael is not me, and he must make his own decisions and live his own life.

If he wants to be a professional surfer, he will have to work hard to achieve his goal.

If there is one thing me and Nicole have taught our sons, it is to respect the ocean in all of its forms: every time we go to the beach, we bring back the trash we find and we are respectful of the sea creatures.

Michael and his younger brothers Matthew and Malakai know that if everyone does their part, the world can be a better and more caring place.


“Could being surrounded by the kitesurf and surf world have an impact on his passion?” 

We live on a small island in the middle of the Ocean, have a kite school on the beach, and spend our free time near the water. For this reason, he most likely approached surfing for the first time. But I can confidently state that the passion is entirely his.
How do I know this?
I see many other children like Michael who live in the same neighbourhood, whose parents are passionate about watersports but they are not.


“Is your wife Nicole concerned about the large waves?”

My wife and I have an unspoken understanding. 

When Michael was born, we decided that everything related to surf, waves, and the sea would be under my responsibility, so Nicole could trust me and my experience without having to worry about anything. 

I believe that we, the adults, do not have to pass on our concerns to the children.

I trust in Michael because I am not only his father but also his coach. We regularly train together and I’m well aware of his limitations. 

During these years, it created complicity between us.

We don’t need to talk in to comprehend each other. 

Anyways, it happened in the past  that we went checking the spot and found that the conditions were too difficult for him.
Even if I tried to explain why it was best not to enter, Michael was convinced and still wanted to go.

I never force him to give up in these situations. On the contrary, I accompany him in the water.
He will not have the best session of his life but this will make him undoubtedly return home with additional lessons.

The sea teaches. 


“How did Michael join the Italian National Surf Federation?” 

Many surfers visit Sal Island, and among them is a coach from the Italian National Surf Federation who has known Michael since he was a child.

Everyone can see his talent.

Michael, at the tender age of eight, has been invited to Rome for his first official competition in the summer of 2020.


“Manera and Lip Sunglasses are Michael’s main supporters. Does he have other sponsors?”

As is often the case, the collaboration with Manera began almost by chance.
They were considering creating a kids’ wetsuit collection, so they sent us some wetsuits for Michael to test.
For him, it was like a game in which he had to provide feedback after each session.
More than a year later, the kids line for ages 10 to 16 will be launched in winter 2023.

We had the opportunity to shoot for Lip Sunglasses together, which was both funny and emotional.

In addition, Michael has a special price for riders to purchase expensive competition surfboards.
It is very easy to break them while training and performing many aerial manoeuvres.
When competing, you must use the best quality equipment; otherwise, you will be unable to maintain your high level.


“What does Michael’s future hold?”

The first and most important consideration is the school.

I always tell Michael that if he wants to be a professional surfer, he has to fight for it. The standard in the surfing world is extremely high.

His talent gives him an advantage, but the road is long and he must work hard to get it.

Elena Buetto – Copywriter & Kitesurf Instructor

 

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