Freedom loves a good underdog story and Carlos Mario has been one since Mauricio Abreu and the Slingshot team headed to Carlos’ home town and documented his freakish talent and signed him onto the global Slingshot team. Since then it’s been inevitable that Mario would top the world in freestyle, the better part is that a humble kid from a fishing village in Brazil has been able to handle the travel and pressures of global competition so quickly capturing his first world title in New Caledonia.

2017 WKL champion Carlos Mario from Slingshot Kite on Vimeo.

The full press release direct from (the justifiably proud) Slingshot –

Carlos Mario’s dream of becoming a world champion has finally come true!
With a final win in New Caledonia Dec. 14-20, the humble Brazilian prodigy and Slingshot team rider secured the inaugural World Kiteboarding League championship over a packed field of the best freestyle kiteboarders on the planet.

Although a lifetime achievement for Mario, the win didn’t come as much of a surprise for the rest of the field, or anyone who had witnessed him compete throughout the series. Mario’s jaw-dropping amplitude and technical ability went unmatched by any other rider, and as the series went on, it became obvious that Mario was setting a new standard for the future of competitive freestyle kiteboarding.

“When we talk about Carlos Mario, the reaction is always the same- a shake of the head and an utter disbelief for his savage talent,” said Alex Fox, Slingshot Kiteboarding brand manager. “Mario’s pursuit for the title hasn’t been easy. He comes from the humblest of origins and has faced a plethora of challenges on his road to victory. The fact that he overcame such adversity makes his victory even sweeter.”

Over the last few years Mario has shown an uncanny ability to not only progress technically, but to evolve as a competitor and manage the often unseen challenges of traveling the world tour. He joined the tour three years ago, as a wide-eyed teenager who had hardly traveled outside of his home village of Cauipe Lagoon.

“The challenge for a young rider like Mario is not limited to simply learning more tricks,” Fox said. “It’s also learning how to compete on a world stage. He has gone from an inexperienced rookie to the future of competitive freestyle kiteboarding. It has long been his dream to win the world title, and the fulfillment of that dream has made everyone at Slingshot proud.”

Mario competes with the Slingshot RPM kite and Vision board. Slingshot teammate Youri Zoon, who has two world titles under his belt, finished runner-up in the series and was on Mario’s heels at each contest. Zoon also uses the RPM.