Brazilian waterman Livio Menelau, has been a charismatic and loyal figurehead for the SUP brand SIC Maui since the launch of their first paddle boards 15 years ago. If surfing is what brought Livio to Maui close to 20 years ago, he has not shyed away from embracing every discipline the Hawaiian brand has ventured into, from SUP surfing to SUP racing, through SUP foiling and now Wing Foiling to the point that all Livio’s been doing in recent months is flying over the Polynesian waters of his home island. We thought a catch-up was in due course with one of the few living legends who wrote the first lines of the Stand Up Paddle history.
Hello Livio, could you please quickly refresh our memory on your waterman deeds until today!
My name is Livio Menelau , I am 42 years old, born and raised in Brazil and I live in Maui, Hawaii. I moved to Hawaii for surfing. I grew up surfing, I started when I was 8 years old. I moved to Maui in 2004 for surf and work. I started stand up paddling in 2006. In 2010 I won the Holokai race and finished in the top 3 overall in the Molokai 2 Oahu race. In 2011, I finished in the top 3 again. I learned and developed my skills for paddling here in Maui, Hawaii, I started with a canoe club before I moved to stand up paddling.
How’s life on Maui? Can you describe your lifestyle on and off the water over there?
I moved to Maui because my sister was living here, she had arrived before me. Before moving here, I used to live in Toronto, Canada, where I was for work. I grew up by the ocean. Here, I work pretty much every day as a contractor painter, Monday through Friday. I wake up early in the morning, work all day and after work, I go paddling, surfing, riding or working out depending on how much free time I have.
You’ve been a strong ally of SIC pretty much from the start, how do you see the evolution of the brand and the gear over the years?
I’ve been with SIC for 14 years, from the beginning of SUP, I started paddling with the initial founder Mark Raaphorst for 6 years until the company was sold to different companies. I am really impressed with how the company is growing right now in different sports, surfing, wing and windsurf. Especially in the wing segment. I am glad SIC moved into the sport and developed its own wing together with CORE Kiteboarding, a sister kite company of SIC within the Tahe Outdoors group, with the feedback of people here in Maui but also in Europe.
So what’s so special about the Raptor wing?
It’s a unique wing. The SIC Raptor wing has been designed and tested by the team on Maui and Europe in collaboration with SIC’s sister company CORE Kiteboarding, a leader in kite design and technology. The SIC Raptor wing is actually part of the Raptor Series including the Raptor wing foil board and Raptor foils.
I am really glad SIC has entered the wing game straight away with one of the best wings on the market. It is an amazing wing with a really strong design and it’s one of the high-performance wings with v3 point-stitches which prevent the wing from ripping.
It’s available in 5 different sizes from 3.0 to 7.0
Can you tell us more about Technology used in the Raptor Wing?
We decided to make the wing super strong and light. That is what most people are interested in, they want a lightweight and strong design. The wing is built with CORETEX TRIPLE RIPSTOP, a high-performance fabric developed by CORE Kiteboarding which is protected and strengthened with a unique coating process. This technology is only available on the SIC Raptor wings.
The Raptor’s leading edge utilizes SIC ultra-rigid, non-stretch, ExoTex Dacron, which incorporates a unique thread structure protective coating process that allows for a higher-pressure airframe and substantially increases tube strength and rigidity. The non-stretch Dacron improves airflow, flight stability and prevents seam bulging on the leading edge.
The low aspect ratio of the wing provides tremendous power and due to a short wingspan, it reduces the chance of your wingtip dragging in the water when powering up, tacking, jibing and board touch-downs.
The Raptor wing uses an in-flow panel connecting the canopy with the control strut, ensuring that the wing maintains the most efficient aerodynamic profile during acceleration and cruising speed.
The web handle loops help maintain control, trim, and comfort. You can switch your hands and put them in different positions easily on the wing.
The RUSH-AIR valve system enables you to quickly inflate the wing to the requested inflation pressure with little effort as well as allows you to deflate the wing in case of pressure adjustment or when you want to pack up the wing.
There’s also a super cool graphic on it. That way, people can see from afar how different the wing is from anybody else’s.
When did you actually start foiling
I started foiling two years ago. Mark pushed me to try and I was reluctant, it looked funny and awkward to me and I wanted to keep to my core sports. But then we went to Hood River for a tradeshow and I tried the Mako 6,5 x 27 and that board is the best to learn because it provides a lot of floatation. I started in June / July 2019, first I was foil surfing with it, then SUP foiling and I thought “wow this is super fast and super fun” but my main goal was to try wingfoiling because I knew that SIC together with Core was going to be able to develop incredible products in the wing segment.
It was a very good process, I learned with a friend of mine, Chris. He taught me how to point the wing. Wind sports have changed my conception of the ocean and opened up new possibilities to be on the ocean for more than surfing and SUPing. The wing gives me more freedom than any other sports.
What’s next with you and SIC ?
I have to say that I’m really excited because the brand splitting up and going into different sports and concepts, the guys go very deep in terms of research, technology and shapes.
I’ve been doing stand up paddling for a long time and I am looking forward to grow into other sports and keep up with how fast they grow. Foiling is going to change people’s mind about wind sports. It’s like riding a motorcycle without a helmet. But you know you’re not gonna crash and get hurt.