Meet Barbeau's partner Nuno Stru as you never met him before. Despite being a record holder in Guinness World Record 2017, Nuno Figueiredo is much more than that. Determined, focused, and a passionate waterman, he's up to share with us some thoughts and facts.
Q: Who is Nuno Figueiredo besides the record holder?
A: Nuno Stru is primarily a surfer. I started to surf when I was 14 years old, so wave riding is in my blood. And what holds me being on or into the ocean is to get waves and enjoy nature.
And also, of course, a father. I have a little daughter called Vitoria, and of course, she is my motor. My second motor to make me do crazy stuff in this world.
Q: How does the nickname "Stru" come up? Is it a childhood nickname?
A: No. Actually my name Nuno never stick with my friends. In college, I was Figueiras. Actually, when I really was a kid, I was Nuno “Fino” (Thin), because there was another boy that was called Nuno “Gordo” (Chubby) (laughs). So, it was really strange but then, yeah, in college people called me “Figueiras” like a mix of my middle name and “Figueiredo”, and Stru came from “Estrutura” (Structure). It has a big story behind it, but I can say it just went losing words until people just called me “Stru”. I know when people call me "Estrutura", they are surfers from the old times and it’s funny because every time I hear that name, I know is probably an old friend surfer and that all the kite surfers call me Stru so it’s quite, quite funny.
Q: You are connected to the sea and surfing. How did this connection come up?
A: It’s what I already told. I start to surf really young. I have the luck to live in front of Miramar beach, and I could see the ocean from my house so start surfing was a completely natural idea. I start to skate when I was like 8 years old but suddenly when I was 14, me and 2 more friends, childhood friends, we've decided to start to surf, and the connection start from there. When I tried, I became addicted and I never... I feel sick when I’m out of the ocean so, it’s a way of life.
Q: Why did you change from Surf to Kitesurf?
A: I never changed. I still surf every day. The thing is, you can surf when there is no wind or offshore wind, and you can kite when there is wind. That’s why I start to kite. I start to kite so I could enjoy the wind, I could get the advantage of the wind to kite some waves and not leave after being windy. And that was it.
Q: Apart from Kitesurfing, what do you like to do in your free time?
A: My free time is always trying to get some conditions… Usually, I say there are no bad conditions. You just don’t have the correct equipment to enjoy the conditions there is. So, to have free time is hard for me because doing surfing, kitesurfing, SUP, foiling, and now some thow up to wind when the waves are big, there’s not much free time. But of course, I like to spend some time with my friends and enjoy what I say sometimes, “normal life”. But apart from kitesurfing, I have a lot, a lot of sports that keep me going also to the water and the ocean, and that’s it.
Q: Do you consider yourself a person of challenges? What motivates you to accept them?
A: Yes, I like to make goals in my life, I like to never stop, try to do new stuff. I have to say when I made the biggest wave in the world, in the next days I was a little bit depressed. It seems a bit strange but that’s what happened. I was like “Ok. I already made, I think, the biggest thing I could do in my life". But there’s a lot of stuff you can do. And you can push yourself all the time, and do the things that make you go, and make challenges to yourself, and make life interesting.
Q: How would you describe your experience in Nazaré?
A: Ok, Nazaré it’s another world. Here you can see all people, all the pros, I don’t say surfers... The Sports waterman, come here because it’s a place where you can express and take everything to the next level, you know? I meet a guy now here in Nazaré, Lucas. He’s going with skiing board, he’s crazy; I met a guy with a freestyle jet sky,.. people are coming from around the world with several kinds of different sports doing crazy stuff here so, Nazaré it’s the extreme playground for sure.
Q: What does it take to surf the biggest wave in the world?
A: I think it’s commitment, and having goals on your life, and make challenges to yourself. And you gonna face a lot of obstacles for sure, a lot of problems, a lot of things to solve by yourself but then, with help, with a good help, you can make anything. If you just focus on what you have to do, you can be unstoppable, and I think that what you need, is just the right mentality, the right focus and that’s it.
Q: Can you describe to us the sensation you had when you were in the sea of Nazaré? Did you feel you could be making history?
A: Hmm.. my goal was not actually to make history. Sometimes I feel a lit bit selfish because when I saw these guys going in big waves, I could see myself with a kite on it so, my goal was just to make that for me because I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t do it. Because I knew that I could do it. Because I had all the skills to do it. So, if I didn’t do it, I would be feeling really very bad. So, the sensation its pure adrenaline from the beginning, and after doing the wave, was amazing. Was the feeling like you never felt so alive in your life. The feeling that you are truly alive. It’s amazing!
Q: How do you feel about representing Portugal in the Guinness World Records?
A: Of course, it’s very important and I’m super proud to make a Guinness World Record here in Portugal and being the first Portuguese to make a World Record in Nazaré. I will never forget the words of the president of Nazaré saying he was really proud to have a Portuguese waterman doing what I did, so I felt like really honored and accomplished, of course.
Q: After having conquered a world record, what is your next goal?
A: I still have some goals here in Nazaré. I’m spending the season with some guys here, with Marcelo, Jorge Leal and all these guys here, to see what I really want of my life. I think the main goal is to stay on the ocean doing extreme things and I’ve just have done the biggest Tow Up kitesurfing session here, of 82m. Maybe you can check on my social media about that, so I just keep going with some new ideas, new goals and just pushing the limits.
Q: We know you have a Kitesurf school in Vila Nova de Gaia. How did you come up with the idea of opening it? Was it a personal goal?
A: I've started to teach Kitesurfing like almost after I start to kite. Opening the school in Gaia was a personal goal and yeah, with the help of Aguas de Gaia, and with the help of Camara Municipal de Gaia, was really nice to make it happen, and everything was super nice in the summer season. It's working really well, we had a lot of work, and it’s nice because it’s seasonal and in wintertime, I have time to do my stuff.
Q: Is the school getting the adhesion that you expected? Do you feel that more people are practicing Kitesurf?
A: Of course. Now people have more conditions, more opportunities to practice in Vila nova Gaia and it’s super nice to have a place to receive people, a group of instructors, and a good structure doing the best we can.
Q: What does the partnership with Barbeau mean to you? What moved you to accept?
A: Barbeau has the mentality, the goal, and the ambiental aspect that attracted me the most. It goes as my thoughts about what you are doing to our planet. The needs we need to have, the care we need to have for our environment and of course, I think it's in the soul of each surfer. The ocean is our eyes, is our home so you have to treat it well for you and for your siblings, for your family. So yeah. It was super nice to partnership with the Barbeau family as well and keep with the same objective. Trying to make awareness of people is always super good to make our planet a better place!
Nuno, thank you so much for your time. It was great!
We'll keep on riding waves with you or, better saying... through you! (laughs)
We love your guts!