From humble beginnings to World Champion: “The Wes Side” is the inspiring story of the island kid from Cape Verde to become 2023 GWA Wingfoil Wave World Champion, Wesley Brito. 

This is Wesley Brito's incredible life story, from a modest Kite and Wing Foiling instructor in Cabo Verde to becoming 2023 Wing Foiling World Champion. "The Wes Side" video directed and produced by Tiago Azzi captures Brito's determination, resilience, and passion for the sport in a journey that reminds us all that dreams do soar on the wings of perseverance.

Wesley Brito joined the Duotone Wing & Foiling Team in 2021 with the help of his team mates Jerome Cloetens and Matchu Lopez, coming from pretty much nowhere. In 2023 he became the next Wave World Champion. 

Tiago Azzi:  Videography & Producer 

I got to know Wesley a few years ago in Brazil, right when he signed his first contract with Duotone and was about to participate in his first Wing Foiling competition. I saw him ripping it up and was eager to capture some stills with him as his style was simply amazing! We got some great shots, and that's how we met. That was back in 2021. A few months later, Duotone contacted me to produce a “Welcome to Team Video” with Wesley, which turned out to be a cool project.

In 2023, Wesley became a World Champion. Knowing how he grew up and the dedication he put into training all by himself to reach this pinnacle, I felt compelled to create a presentation for about his journey. I had a storyline in mind, yet I was aware that staying with Wesley in Cabo Verde would reveal even more.

I wanted to spend more time in Cabo Verde than just shooting what was needed in four or five days and then leaving. My plan was to extend my stay to learn more about Wesley, his life, and his background. This approach allowed me to meet all his friends and learn about his surroundings while gain a deeper understanding of his life and past. Ultimately, I stayed almost three weeks, choosing to shoot only on the best days, which made a significant difference in the quality of our work. This project was very special to me. The storyline itself was captivating, and it was a pleasure to take the time to share Wesley's story with the world in a deeper and more intimate way than usual.


Matchu Lopez: Duotone Kiteboarding Athlete and Longtime Friend

When I first met Wesley, he was just another kid working as an instructor at the Surf Center, trying to earn a living from tourism. This was eight years ago. Wesley was 15 years old and living entirely on his own. He had no parents or family around to support him.

While earning money from watersports, he also discovered his passion at the same time. Initially, it was mainly Skimboarding that he did all day in the beginning. Then, Wing Foiling came along, and soon it became his new obsession. He even started teaching this fantastic new sport.

In the beginning he always used the gear from the center, which he frequently broke, and his access to it was limited as it was for customers. Nonetheless, he was always on the water, ambitiously learning new tricks and eager to improve. At that time, our relationship grew close as he constantly sought out my advice. I lent him my Duotone foil, which I had for Kite Foiling and Surf Foiling, telling him he could use it while I was away traveling for events and shoots. He used it in combination with a custom board he kept repairing by himself. The foil was a bit too small for him, and at first, he fell a lot. But he persisted. Wesley was always the kind of guy who improved his skills on his own, without money, without family, without studies, and without a proper diet. He ate cheap food just to stave off hunger, regardless of its nutritional value. I always told him he must change this and he luckily did as soon he had enough income.

When I returned to the island, I was speechless at how much he had progressed with the help of my foil. In the end, I left the foil with him because I could see how much he enjoyed it.

I always tried to be there to support and advise him. To me, he's like my brother, we we are still very close, and I strive to be straightforward with him.

In 2021, my teammate Jerome Cloetens came to visit me on the island. And he recognized the same talent in Wesley that I had seen. Jerome trained together with Wesley and was more than impressed with his skills. He left a wing and a board for him and reached out to Duotone after his stay on Cabo Verde, suggesting they sponsor Wesley because his talent was outstanding. This marked the beginning of Wesley's career.

When Wesley became the GWA Wave World Champion in 2023, I was in Morocco as well, competing at the same event with Kiteboarding. It was very stressful, as the wind direction there differs from Cabo Verde. I watched all the Wing Foiling heats, and it was a dream come true for Cabo Verde to see him win. His victory was the proof of his hard work and a great reward for his sponsors. You must know, in Cabo Verde, the government doesn't provide support, so winning the World Title was entirely the result of Wesley's own efforts - including overcoming injuries, travel complications, and visa issues. The visa situation alone is a nightmare that's hard for others to understand. It's very challenging for all of us. And Wesley made it – I am very, very proud of him!

Jerome Cloetens: Team Mate

Matchu Lopez invited me to his islands in 2021, back when winging was just starting to take off. I originally went there for kiting, but brought my first foil along to shoot some content for Wing Foiling as well and to have fun on the days not suitable for kiting.

A few days into the trip, I met Wesley, and we ended up towing each other into waves with the foil almost every day. It was there that I attempted my very first backflips and decided to let this local kid try out my gear. In just a few hours, he was showing me the best wave action I had ever seen, all without any wing gear of his own. I was incredibly surprised and made him a bet: if he could learn to backflip before I left, he could keep my gear. Astonishingly, he managed some sketchy backflips in no time, but it was impressive enough.

Matchu and I decided to pool our gear and leave him with something to start him off. I then promised that once I got home, I would do whatever I could to get Duotone to sponsor him.

Getting gear to this tiny island was incredibly difficult and getting him off the island to compete was even more challenging. For me, as an athlete who has always been supported and somewhat spoiled by being a rider from Tarifa, the wind sports capital of Europe—where every brand goes to scout for talent—it was incredibly frustrating to see someone with more potential than I had, but without having any opportunities. Watching the video gave me goosebumps.

I still vividly remember my first conversations with Duotone's management, telling them he would be a world champion one day if we gave him what he needed. I'm so proud that Duotone trusted my advice back then, and watching this dream come to fruition is incredibly rewarding.

Congratulations to Wesley, Tiago, and every local in Cabo Verde who has supported Wesley in making his dream a reality.