For those who weren’t present at this year’s Pacific Paddle games, the event had some remarkable moments and stories. One of them was that of 20 year old Brazilian rider Guilherme dos Reis. The (relatively) unknown rider announced himself on the world stage by putting in a performance that ranked him 2nd overall of the PRO event (just 25 points short of winning it!!!), and catapulted him amongst the best elite riders of the planet overnight! Not only was his achievement one of the greatest, but Guilherme, who is STILL UNSIGNED WITH ANY BOARD SPONSOR as we publish these lines, had nowhere to stay during the event and showed up at the PPG without a board… Yes, he did all of this on a board kindly lent by SIC at the very last minute!
(Photo credits: Onit Pro and Kristin Thomas)
Guilherme, you showed up 2 weeks ago in Dana Point without a board nor a place to stay and ended up 2nd in one of the biggest races in the world? How did that happen?
It is true that my brother David and I had a few logistical difficulties on this trip, but we’re used to it hehe. But in the face of all the hardships we found on our way during the Pacific Paddle Games, I am very grateful to have been able to achieve what I did. You can be sure if I had been offered everything on a platter, it would have been much harder to get to that result. I have to say that in order to prepare for this event, I had a specific period of training with my father, who is also my coach.
So, hold on… where did you end up staying and what equipment did you use?
The first 2 days we stayed at a friend’s house, but then some unexpected events happened, and we had to look for somewhere else to stay. We slept in a car once (Itzel’s) and were planning to sleep on the beach when we were offered accommodation. As soon as we arrived on the beach we approached Mike Eisert from The Paddle Academy who is close to the SIC team, explained our situation and humbly asked for boards to use during the event. They were very receptive and agreed to help us. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the entire SIC team for all their equipment and support during the PPG.
You ranked 3rd in the Long Distance and 2nd in the Technical Race, how did you manage to beat many of the best paddlers in the world?
It honestly has not been easy to get to that result and there has been many days of focused training specifically for this event before the event. I knew I would face the best athletes of the planet but I also knew where I was getting myself. And despite a lot of difficulties getting sponsorship to cover my travel expenses, I came to California with 1 goal: to be top 3 in the event. When I got 3rd in the long race, I saw that I had a chance to improve my result and I went into the technical race totally focused on the victory. A couple of unforeseen events happened during the race. I had a chance to catch a wave that no one caught and I was in front for a while, and perhaps I could have won the Technical Race and potentially the whole event, but unfortunately I fell in that same wave and finished in 2nd place in the TR which gave me the 2nd position in the overall ranking just behind Lincoln Dews.
WOW. Can you tell us about you, your SUP and sport background and achievements so far?
I have been a stand up paddler since the age of 14 years old. I started competing in Brazil in the junior category and after that within the Pro one. My first national title in SUP race was at 18 years old, I was the youngest athlete to win a national circuit. Before SUP racing, I was a windsurf athlete and took part in many competitions, getting 3rd at the South American Junior Championship. In the past two years I won 4 national titles, 2 in the national circuit, 1 in the Brazilian sprint Olympic 200 meters and another in the marathon format 35 km.
My main goal is to be world champion and I’m going to chase my dream. Will I go through a lot of difficulty? Most likely, but I will never give up on my goals. I am determined to overcome every obstacle that attempts to make me stop believing.
Is it true that you don’t have a board sponsor?
It is. I do not have any board sponsor whatsoever. It’s hard to live from your athletic abilities in a country like Brazil, where you have zero incentive to do so. I fight for this sport because I love it and I will not stop paddling just because I do not have a board sponsorship. I am trying to get sponsored showing my results, my potential, my humility, my personality and hopefully it will all happen. A champion is not only made of wins!
Aloha and thank you to everyone who is cheering for me.
(ed. get that check book out SUP brands!)