Kitesurf Salamansa Cabo Verde (also called Kiteschool Salamansa) put their building right on top of the location for Kitesurf NOW (KSN). This moment was a major setback for KSN to support Salamansa. The launch area in Salamansa is small and infrastructure is limited (e.g. only few direct flights to Sao Vicente). So even when very busy, only at most 1 kitesurf center can survive here. Most noteworthy: supporting that one center with an owner who cannot be trusted and who seems to be driven by self-interest at the expense of local friends is not an option for us.

Not having a trustworthy kite center at Salamansa has put major projects to support Sao Vicente on hold. For example, KSN has taken years to prepare for a major contribution in digital marketing. We were planning to create a co-working and co-living facility for digital entrepreneurs and executives coming from Northern Europe. Most importantly, this facility is co-located with a training center for locals to increase their expertise in digital marketing. Increasing expertise in this area is critical for Cabo Verde to become less reliant on Western companies for tourism. The connection with kitesurfing? More than 2000 digital entrepreneurs and executives in Northern Europe are kitesurfers. A reliable kitesurf center is the "magnet" for them to spend significant time in Sao Vicente and train locals.

Company History

How Kitesurf Salamansa Cabo Verde started

Jair, the owner of Kitesurf Salamansa Cabo Verde, started his company when working for Kitesurf NOW (KSN). He was giving lessons with KSN materials taking the money for himself, was trying to sell KSN kites to clients and applied with local authorities to have his own tent on the beach.

We (Ola & Marc – owners of KSN) nearly found out too late because we were about to give all of KSN (building, materials) to him (and another local, Gogo) for free so they could take 100% of revenues without the main costs (KSN would continue to pay and devote time to all sales, marketing, accounting, insurance and customer support activities).

Just in time, we gave all to Gogo and other locals, Elvis & Junior and started with taking the old building down (May 2015) to prepare for the construction of a new building (September 2015). All had been designed, designs approved by authorities, materials for building had arrived from Europe when…. Jair (with help from Swiss individuals) started building on the KSN spot on the beach for which we had a licence.

That was the start of Kitesurf Salamansa Cabo Verde.

Company owner

Jair

Jair is a soft-spoken person giving an impression of being very kind. He's the type one would easily want to help. Jair worked at Kitesurf NOW and together with Gogo was the star performer. He worked hard, was super helpful, met all his targets and got a raise in his hourly rate twice within a 2-year time span.

We had trust in Jair with only one “little” concern which was that he seemed somewhat greedy.  Nevertheless, his amazing performance did not stop us to put our full confidence in Jair to take the lead (together with Gogo) to take over our kitesurf Center (free of charge, all revenues to Jair, Gogo & team).

So why did we stop supporting Jair?

As described in the paragraph about the start of Kitesurf Salamansa Cabo Verde, it became clear that Jair was dishonest. The situation only got worse as at every occasion more of the KSN materials were missing only to be found to be taken by Jair.

The deciding factor was the fact that Jair was also obviously dishonest with his local colleague Gogo. The actions he took to shut Gogo out of the venture we were about to donate to both were appalling.

Operational excellence

IKO certification

Salamansa can be a dangerous spot, especially for inexperienced kitesurfers. The waves can be brutal with strong rip-currents forming. There are rocks downwind, rocks on the beach and the beach has a hard underground. So kitesurfing mistakes can easily result in injuries. Preventing injuries and having transport is important because it takes a very long time to reach medical care from Salamansa.
Jair has been working for Kitesurf NOW and was training as a kitesurf security staff as a step to become a kitesurf instructor. Training Jair was not easy because he was not particularly safety conscious and was quick to make bad judgements in acute situations. What also did not help was his poor English (virtually none of our clients speak Portuguese and nearly all speak English).
So when a Swiss individual sponsored him to take a 1 week course with written test and practical exam in English to become an IKO certified kitesurf instructor and he passed, we were extremely surprised!