Cascading waves crash, froth and collide majestically on the coastline of Rio de Janeiro, beckoning the city’s surfers to catch a break.
Though Cariocas may be well acquainted with surfing, the sport was initially introduced to Brazil only 40-odd years ago in the 1970s by tourists and settlers from the USA and Australia, where the sport is prevalent. However, these settlers were not the founders of the pastime.
Surfing has been an integral part of Polynesian culture for centuries, with Polynesian natives riding the waves as both a mode of transport and recreationally. It was observed and adopted by British explorers and eventually became a mainstay in the Australian and Californian way of life, before being acquired by the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil is now one of the sports most notable landmarks, being branded ‘Brazilian Storm’, and Rio is authoritative in this; Rio Pro is one of the events in the eminent ASP World Surfing Tour. The tropical savanna climate, varied wave formations and divergent breakpoints make Rio de Janeiro’s coastlines ideal for surfers of all abilities.
Arpoador beach is often tipped to be one of the best surfing spots in the city – the scenic views and clear waters furnish a stunning backdrop to the rolling waves and strong currents that are a surfer's delight. While Prainha and Itacoatiara cater to the more experienced surfer, as the waves are constantly towering, curling and breaking for an invigorating experience that’s not quite suitable for the unskilled. Though for the highly seasoned surfer seeking a challenge, Barra da Tijuca is the place to venture to – bold and brazen waves are endlessly thrown back and forth.
Though the spirit of Rio is social and inviting, surfers seeking a more exclusive and secluded experience may prefer Joatinga Beach. It’s another apt pick for the more accustomed surfer, though at particular hours of the day the waves become more placid and welcoming to learners and beginners.
Rio’s surf culture is another potent example of the city’s multifaceted qualities, conceived through openness to assume dimensions of alternative cultures and high biodiversity.