f Interview with ocean athlete João Daniel Edde

Interview with ocean athlete João Daniel Edde

2024 COUP
Still image João Daniel Edde in short film Home Ocean

Interview with ocean athlete João Daniel Edde

João Daniel Edde is the ocean athlete who is the subject of the short film Home Ocean, filmed in his home country Brazil. It is the story of a kid raised by the ocean, creating a unique connection and developing skills, whether under the water or gliding over it.

The Extreme Kite presenter has sailed on frozen lakes in Iceland, in the snow of Norway, in the Sahara desert and where the Tapajós and Amazon rivers meet, among other unusual peaks. 

Your parents were sailors who instilled a love for the sea in you. Can you elaborate on some early experiences that shaped your passion for water sports?

João: My parents were ocean lovers, Since I was in my moms belly they where always spending their freetime in an archipelago away from Rio. They spend all the weekend there, with my dad spearfishing and my mom spending time on the beach or even driving the boat. My early memories were already in that scene, with Dad leaving us on the beach while he went look for fishing. My mom always had everything ready, food for the entire day, fresh water for baby showers and mosquito net. It was an amazing childhood and that led me to feel at home close to the sea.

What is surfing for you - a social activity or a meditative experience? How do you decide whether to surf alone and focus on a technique or enjoy your surfing time with the company?

João: Surfing was my first love. In the childhood my parents introduced me to many sports activity, but the first time I stand up on a surfboard I knew that I wanted to do that forever. Personally i always like to surf with friends and share good moments in the water with my related. Its so good when you catch a good wave and you have someone cheering for you or just a witness to that magic barrel.

Apart from surfing, you are kitesurfing enthusiast and you’ve kitesurfed in some incredible and unexpected locations. What motivates you to seek out these unique challenges, and how do you prepare for such diverse environments?

João: Me and my best friend always had these crazy ideas using the kite and doing some crazy things. With that we were invited from the biggest sports channel in Latin America to create a TV show, a series with multiple episodes and for 5 years we traveled the entire world challenging ourselves in perfect and crazy conditions creating content for the TV series. I would not say is something we were always prepared, because it was always new places, but you start to get used to that feeling, to control that fear and it becomes fun.

You've openly discussed your kite accident in the Atacama Desert. While safety is paramount, can you share how you approach risk assessment when exploring new locations or attempting advanced maneuvers?

João: That accident was something we were not prepared, we were traveling for many years with no major accidents and that thing hit me as a atomic bomb. Imagine ripping your shoulder appart in the middle of desert with the closest hospital being 2 hours away. We always think we were in control, that we had everything dialed and suddenly a desert gust hit me in a middle of a jump and threw me straight to the rocks. Something impossible to predict, But that made me scared for life.We had our film crew, we had insurance but you never think that those things can happen because when you need to perfom in order to make the job done, this could stop, you head kind guide the whole thing. So in the end we were just going for it.

Given your adventurous spirit, have you ever come face-to-face with any potentially dangerous marine animals during your water activities, like sharks or venomous fish?

João: I have dived with white sharks in South Africa, and I have been in contact with almost every marine life animal, for a spear fisherman sharks are just a big fish, So I have seen them a lot all over the world, have dived with them and always being respectful to them, because I know the risk of not entering their comfort zone.

We know kitesurfing is a central passion, but have you tried any other extreme sports that complement your water-based activities?

João: Since my early ages I have been involved in water activities, I started spearfishing, then started Wakeboarding and surfing pretty much at the same age. The wind that was my enemy became my ally, and now they are all integrated on my life. When there is no wave and no wind, I go spearfishing, when there is waves and no wind, I go surfing, because waves normally makes the water condition worse for diving. And when the wind comes in, that is not good for spearfishing and either for surfing I go Kitesurfing.

Your experiences range from the Atacama to Norway. Do you have favorite spots you return to frequently, or is the thrill of discovery a bigger motivator? Is there a particular destination that stands out for you?

João: With the TV Show we were pleased to travel where we wanted at the time we wanted. So we got to know some amazing places on earth, from Venezuela, many countries in Europe, Iceland, Mongolia, Asia, South America, Caribbean Islands, So many amazing places that is hard to choose in between a new one or something I already know how it works. So it ended up being the right match, in between the time I want to travel and what part of the world is going to be working good, like good waves, or better winds.

Hard to name ONE, but I would say LOS ROQUES, VENEZUELA, is just unreal.

You have participated in several competitions. One of them was The World Cup of Clubs Rio in 2024 with underwater fishing. How did you find this mix of disciplines and did it present you with any particular difficulties?

João: When I was younger competition was my life, I would chase amateurs surfing & wakeboard competitions all over the country. I had one goal in my life, make a podium result in all the boards sports I practised. So I started with surfing, then wakeboard, then snowboard and the last one was Kitesurfing. After that something changed for me, those contests I used to love became a burden, I did not want to be sitted in the contest area waiting for my hear, my turn, I wanted to have time to do whatever I wanted, specially in competition that always seams to happen in terrible conditions. After years, the world cup of clubs was going to happen in my backyard and being a team competition has thrilled me again to pursue results and train for that. In the end we made a few mistakes that cost us one spot on the podium and we ended up being 7th in the world.

What's the appeal of spear fishing as an underwater challenge?

João: Spearfishing was where it all started, an activity I used to do with my dad, who is my Hero. For some time of my life I was surfing so much that I got disconnected to spearfishing, to get good at it you need to practise and with no practice it becomes dangerous.
But few years later after that "break" I became friends with some of the best spearos of Brazil and they started to invite me to go with them, with that they started teaching me so many things that my game changed. And it was like I was learning it all again, but with a lot of baggage on my pocket. With that I started to evolve a lot this changed my day. I love eating fish and there is not more pleasurable than catch your own fish and cook it for family and friends. The ocean is a mystery box, you NEVER know what you are going to find out until you get your head underwater, so this keeps pushing people all over the world with the unknown. like, Today could be the day I will see that fish of my life…. You never know and because of that, you are always looking for the next day …

You created and are a coach at the Moréias Kite Experience. Can you share your insights on the location and the learning opportunities it offers to kitesurfers of various skill levels?

João: Those Kite experience trips are a project I created with the intention of showing people places I have traveled and while doing that, teaching them how to Kite, how to evolve in the sport, how to do tricks. It’s basically a clinic, but with an travel experience on it. So this group that join us on those experiences around return from the trip with memories they will never forget.

With all you've accomplished, what are some water-based dreams or goals you're still striving to achieve?

João: Always, every single day I woke up rather looking to surf the wave of my life, to see and catch the fish of my life or just to land the biggest kite trick of my life.

There is always a bigger and better barrel than the last one, there is always a world record fish out there in the ocean for you to catch, in nature you never know whats next.

Thank you!