The surfing family that became a children tale
Which surfing parent can honestly say that they don’t like the idea of their children getting into surfing!? Not many I’d say. Filipa Leandro from Portugal is a surfer and mom of three, and she has published a series of books for children based on the surfing experiences of her own family. We loved this idea and reached out to her for a chat.
Hi Filipa, congrats on your books! How did you come up with this idea?
Hello, Thank you! The idea came when I was giving summer surf clinics to lots of kids. For the last years I was also a surf teacher, so there was many kids around me with diverse backgrounds, and I had such rich experiences surfing all over the world, and a passion for writing, that I thought that would be nice to do something about it! Then I couldnt find a illustrator, and I didnt know very well how to start the all project, how to do it. Almost 3 years went by and one day of summer 2015 I was surf teaching again and Sofia Oliveira (the illustrator) was teaching with me. At lunch break I told her about my idea and she said: I´ll help you, just write! During this 3 years, my own kids grew up and started surfing a lot. At 2015 my daughter, Kika Veselko, was already a full competitor, so I thought would be nice to write about my own family, how kids started surfing, and all our family surf adventures, our values, passions. So far there are 8 books:
1 – Kika starts Surfing
2 – Kika in Surfing School: the Competitions and the Maldives… Jaime enters the Scene!
3 – Jaime, the Family´s Mascot!
4 – The Gigantic Waves of Nazaré! (where kids live the adventure, wile they learn about the local culture, get to know a big wave rider and feel the adrenaline of watching surfing this waves)
5 – In Peniche during the Surfing World Championship… Super Tubos! – I launched this book during the WSL contest at Peniche 2016, and John John Florence that is one of the characters, wone this competition at Super Tubos, and came to be World Champ
6 – Cascais, Capital of Portuguese Surfing and it´s all down to King D. Luís and his Love os Swimming in the Sea! – Here’s Sally Fitzgibbons is part of it.
7 – The Resanos Sisters! – This is a special edition (International Groms Series). We connected at the ISA World Surfing Games at Azores 2016, with this 3 sisters from Nicarágua and I decided I should write about this experience and their lifes that are amazing.
8 – Nazaré, a Wave to go down in History. Now it´s the children´s turn! – This one came out after I was invited to write about one special day at Nazaré. A documentary was going to be filmed and made from that day experience, and I was the one in charge to put the experience on paper. “Nazaré, uma Onda para a História” (Nazaré, a Wave to go down in History). The documentary just came out at the Lisbon Surf Fest 2017!
What do you hope to convey to the children reading your books?
As a surfer mum, I always wanted a healthy lifestyle for my family, always wanted my kids to eat well, enjoy life, get to know different people and cultures and respect the planet we live on. I thought that it would be great for the surfing community around the world to have a surf book collection, with real characters, based on real adventures; a way to engage children and get them hooked up to reading, something that is, sadly, being lost. Whilst reading they could learn about different cultures, traditions, countries, special places, surfers grom´s lives, and potential future surfers may also catch the bug to start or keep going with this marvelous sport!
What is your own background within surfing?
I started late, around 17 years old, I was one of the first portuguese females surfers (1989). Helped to open the eyes and the portuguese sea to the surfer girls from the next generations :) I competed for 10 years and was always at the podium. Travelled around the world just for free surfing and improving myself. I used to compete just the nationals and the europeans, the EPSA´s. At 1997 I integrated the National Surf Team (Open division), for the European Surf contest in Irland (Bundoran) and for the first time Portugal was EUROPEAN CHAMP. Today my daughter is part of the National Surf Team (Júnior division). Last year at Marroco, she got 3rd with 13 years old, what was great, and Portugal that wasnt Champ at Juniors division since 1996, was the European Champ 2016! And guess what? My younger brother, Duarte Leandro a bb, was part of that júnior team at 1996!
A true surfing family! And now you surf together with your kids, how’s that?
It´s just amazing to surf with my kids and to do surf trips with them. It´s just such a joy to share waves, talk the same language, emotions, feelings… It´s already so much to manage our lifes, work, kids, house, schools, etc… that to do the same sport (whatever it is), or liking to do the same things whatever they are, it´s a real blessing!
The surfing family.
How do we get a hold of your books?
Thanks Filipa and we wish all the best for the future!