We interviewed Robertney Barros, a surfer and bodyboarder from Cape Verde, who has recently joined the Wildsuits team.
Hi Robertney, YOU ARE A PRO SURFER FROM CAPE VERDE - HOW DID IT ALL START?
When I was younger I started playing football. But after a while, at 13, I discovered the joys of the ocean and that's where my journey began.
My first surfboard was made up of five broken pieces that I found. I shaped these 5 separate pieces by hand into my first surfboard. This is how it all started. I surfed this board for a few years and I was happy to share it with my friends. The board was a total disaster - after surfing (sometimes even during the session) you had to hold the board upside down to try and drain the water out of it.
But, despite all the difficulties, I never gave up on surfing and surfing never gave up on me. I am very happy with who I have become thanks to surfing...
AWESOME STORY, YOU’VE COME FROM SURFING A BROKEN BOARD TO NOW REPRESENTING CAPE VERDE INTERNATIONALLY!
I am very proud to represent Cape Verde. In our country there are not many opportunities and It's very important to me to represent Cape Verde on a worldwide level. I feel it gives hope and dreams to our young surfers.
I want to show everyone that if you believe in your dreams, anything is possible! For me competing in the WQS is a dream come true. It has opened many doors for me and given me the opportunity to inspire others!
On our island, we must never give up.
WHY HAVE YOU ONLY NOW BEGUN COMPETING IN THE WQS?
I started competing now because I had never had a sponsorship before and I come from a country where it is really difficult to travel. Our local currency is weak and I needed help from sponsors to be able to travel and pay the WQS expenses.
However, I have always believed in myself and have fought hard to get to where I am today. I hope to continue competing for a long time, and hopefully I’ll reach my goal of winning a WQS stage. It would be a great reward for all my hard work.
AMAZING. BUT YOU’RE MORE THAN A JUST SURFER - YOU ARE ALSO KITESURFING AT AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, RIGHT?
Yes, I also kite surf - mostly when there are no waves. I've even participated in world championships, but it's a difficult sport and I'd like to take it more seriously, however without a main kitesurfing sponsor it's a bit difficult.
I keep my focus mainly on surfing, but I’ll continue kitesurfing because I find it impossible to stand still and my love for the ocean is too strong!
You're traveling the world thanks to your passion. How does that make you feel?
For me, traveling the world is a dream. Traveling is meeting new places and people and experiencing different cultures. I hope to be able to travel and continue to meet good people, make good memories and surf in many places, either in warm or cold waters with my Wildsuits wetsuits - haha!
What are your favourite spots?
I've always dreamed of surfing Pipeline and I know I'll make that dream come true - just like Skeleton Bay in Namibia.
WHICH ARE YOUR BEST KITESURFING SPOTS?
My favourite kitesurfing wave is at home on my island. It’s a perfect, clean, bright blue, warm water left called Beating. The location of the spot it secret though, I’m afraid.
AT WILDSUITS, WE'RE VERY PROUD TO HAVE YOU ON THE TEAM. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE THE SUPPORT OF WILDSUITS?
To be part of your team is a great feeling. I've always dreamed of having a surfing sponsorship, and now I’m fulfilling this dream by being part of the Wildsuits’ family. It’s a beautiful family and I’m grateful to be part of such a unified team.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE FROM CAPE VERDE WHO WANTS TO MAKE A LIVING FROM SURFING OR KITESURFING?
Living off surfing or kitesurfing is not easy. It's very important to have private lessons and practice a lot, without ever giving up!
We live on a very touristic island and we have to work in tourism to earn our bread. Surfing and kitesurfing will always give you an opportunity to work in the tourism business.