Best young bloods take off

An interview with Nino Liboni and Afonso Fernandes

Afonso, you are only 14 y old but slice waves like a veteran. Where did you learn to kite like that and when did you start?
I started to kite 8 years ago. I think part of my skills came naturally from my passion for the sea. For the last two years I mixed my training in the water with a hard workout on land.
Riding safely in waves particularly with big sea requires a lot of experience. Guincho is my home spot and you shouldn't be so casual about it... This spot is really tricky and you have to know a lot about its characteristic.

You’re still in school... Is it easy to combine school and surfing? Did you ever skip lessons for a session? (Be aware that your parents or even teachers might read this... ;) )
Like all other kids of my age, I'm at school and I might say that I like it very much. Sometimes a few teachers don't understand that my life is bit different. For me this is probably my most difficult challenge, combine high performance training and trips without breaking high performance at school. To be honest: Like other athletes I have to skip lessons and my parents and teachers know that. Comparing wave riding to freestyle, it's less frequent to get the conditions you need because you have to combine the wind with the waves. So I can't waist too many good days and not train.

What about girls? Do they dig kiteboarding and how would you chose: Date or Session?
Haha well, when I'm among friends and class mates I try to keep my profile like everyone else and don't take advantage of skills for kiting to impress girls. Of course there are always some girls that know me from the sport or check my Facebook and tell everybody. Date or a good session? Hmm, if I really like the girl, the date. Nevertheless, I try to put the dates on no wind days or after kiting. So no worries on this. Laugh

What can we expect from you in the future?
Ride stronger, ride harder, ride better! This combined with surfing perfection will be sure on my ride for the future. It's very difficult for me to reach top rankings in contests because I feel that I still don't have the muscular strength the older guys have I am competing against. So I need to keep working. I'm focused on the seniors because there's no Waves Junior world circuit. It would be great to travel to seek different waves and go to competitions with big athletes like Nuno Stru and Pedro Henrique. I wish that next year the PKRA opens a Junior wave competition like Freestyle has. For sure there are other young wave riders in the world and it would be very nice to know of each other, share experiences and make friends.

So for the future I promise to be in the Ocean surfing waves every day. I will share my passion with you by photos, videos on my website, social networks and Best Kiteboarding media.

Afonso Fernandes; 14 ; Portugal; Facebook

Afonso's latest video: Best West


Hey Nino, how are you and how is it going?
Hi guys, I’m fine, thanks! I just came back from Brazil and I am missing the wind and sunshine pretty badly!

Kite legend Youri Zoon just shared your latest video, how does that feel?
Oh yes, I’m so happy about that. He is one of the best athletes of our time... that means a lot to me. Currently there are more than 10 000 play on my video, it’s just amazing.

What do you teachers and classmates think about your lunatic jumps?
Of course they are happy for me and even proud! On the other hand I have to meet the expectations of school. I don’t want a bad school graduation only because I have spent every day on the water.

How often are you able to kite and with whom are you hitting the water?
Usually two times a week if the conditions fit. The cool thing in Kiteboarding is you know almost everyone at your home-spot so I go shredding with all my friends and sometimes with my father.

2014 is almost over, what are your goals for the next season ?
In mid of December I will go to the South of California. For the next year I haven’t got a master plan yet. Maybe South Africa or Island of Maurice in February, but be sure, you will hear from me.

Nino Liboni; 14 ; South France; Facebook

Nino Brazilian Style: