Where to begin? - World Class Academy

Where to begin?

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Isabel Lira, or Izzy for short.  I live in the small town of Hood River in northern Oregon.  For my senior year, I decided to forgo the normal experience of an American high school student and instead decided to travel the world with World Class Kiteboard Academy. This year I’ll be kiting in world-renowned kite spots and studying along the way.  As a teenager who doesn’t particularly love the classroom, this was a bundle and a half of an opportunity.

This whole experience started this summer when I was working my butt off with two jobs to buy my ticket to Fortaleza, Brazil.  I’m not going to lie, once I was seated in seat number 22A, I looked out the window and, for the first time, I was scared about the decision I’d made. Was leaving home this young the right thing to do? I listened to the little voice in my head that was saying, “you’re about to go live on the white sandy beaches of Brazil for 7 weeks.   

This is just one of the many lookout hikes in west Hood River.  I took this picture the night before I left for Brazil.
These sunsets occur close to every night here in Brazil.  Featured is Kimo Mahmoud as he effortlessly hangs over the sun during our daily sunset kite session.

Even though Brazil is in the opposite hemisphere from Hood River, the sunsets in both of these unique places are similar in their beauty.

Parajuru, Brazil

Parajuru was an astonishing sight.  To be completely honest, I was expecting all of Brazil to resemble the lush Amazonian forests depicted in the movie Rio.  I was surprised to wake up the first morning to see that the only green plants were the palm fronds and the watered lawn of the hotel we would be staying at for the next 2 weeks.

This is the view from our morning study hall sessions, that would take place five days a week.  As you can see, there aren’t many luscious plants but the white sand makes up for the bareness.


On top of the astonishing bareness, I was surprised by the luxurious accommodations we were granted.  Our three meals a day consisted of a buffet-style selection of rice, beans, and noodles, with one or two rotating toppings. For breakfast, we would have pancakes, eggs, cold cuts, cereal, and tapioca with a huge assortment of fruits.

An assortment of watermelon, mango, pineapple, and bananas make a nutritious and delicious snack.


Our luxurious accommodations and splendid food made the first two weeks fly by.  My daily study spot was the thing that I’ll miss the most about Parajuru: 90-degree weather, the sun shining, and a pool all to myself. 

During these first two weeks, I progressed tremendously in kiting.  I learned how to jump without kickers, do a backroll, do a backroll to toe side, make some grabs, and how to unhook.  My raleys were also on the way to success.  Leaving Parajuru was pretty sad. I hope to get the opportunity to go back sometime in the near future, maybe with my family and friends.

This is the aforementioned study spot that I will be missing very much from here on out.

Well readers, this concludes my first blog post. Stay tuned for more exciting news about my travels with World Class Kiteboard Academy.

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