Rio de Janeiro is famed for its beautiful beaches and the beautiful people who like to lounge on them. Beach life for many Cariocas is strictly a dry land affair with only the occasional delicate dip of the toe in the ocean to cool down, but just 50 metres out to sea there is another crowd that rules the waves and it’s about to get just a little bit busier as the Billabong Rio Pro Surf competition is coming to town. Rio’s natural geography lends itself perfectly to surfing and some of the best spots are located right in Zona Sul meaning that you can jump out of bed and be in the water within 10 minutes.
The Billabong Rio Pro is the third stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour and it will see 12 days of competition from some of the world’s top competitive surfers. The main event site is located in Barra da Tijuca where the best waves are to be found and with over 18 km of prime beachfront, there’s plenty of opportunity to watch all the action. Last year’s champion, JJ Florence, from Hawaii is unable to compete due to injury so all eyes are now on Brazilian favourite Adriano de Souza.
If all this surfing is making you itch to get in the water yourself but don’t know where to get started then let Dehouche hook you up with our local surf expert to help you find your feet. Or if you fancy taking more of a back seat, then instead make the most of the many beachfront bars offering fresh fruit caipirinhas and tasty beach snacks whilst kicking back and leaving the surfing to the pros.
Here are some insider tips to help you navigate your way around this year’s competition:
Know the Lingo
If you want to chat with the pros and not be outed as a surf newbie then here are the basic rules behind the judging: All surfers are scored on a scale of 0.1 – 10.0 and the scores are broken into increments of one tenth. To relate these scores to a description, if a surfer scores in the realms of 0.1 – 1.9 then you can expect them to spend more time off their board then on, at the other end of the scale if someone is scoring 8.0 – 10.0 then you’re likely to next see them on top of the winner’s podium. Surfers are judged on a number of elements ranging from commitment and degree of difficulty to speed, power and flow.
What to say: I’ve heard he’s the next Kelly Slater…
What not say: Look, men in grey suits!!! (in surfing lingo this refers to sharks)
Apres-Surf and Re-fueling
The sun is beginning to set and the surfers are migrating onto to solid ground, to mingle with the best of them head to the Quiosque Maialina between Postos 1 and 2 on Barra beach front. It may look like little more than a humble beach shack, but the Italo-Brazilian couple behind this kiosk cook up some of the best Italian inspired seafood to be had within a stone’s throw of the ocean. Alternatively closer to another surfing hotspot is Astor in Arpoador where you have a perfect viewing point from which to admire the last waves of the day while enjoying a sundowner or two. For some of the freshest sushi in town make your way to Bar da Praia where food is dished up on mini surfboards.
Where to Rest Your Weary Head
Surfing is a full body workout and even if you’re not participating yourself, just watching can make you feel tired so we recommend checking into the Fasano as its prime beachside location makes it perfect for checking the morning’s surf conditions before heading down to the beach. With one of Rio’s best spas as well there is a whole range of treatments on offer to help ease those ocean-pummelled muscles.
What to Wear
You’d have thought a surf competition would be relatively easy to navigate style wise – surely it’s just boardshorts for guys and bikinis for girls, right? Think again; in Rio, the global epicentre of beachwear there are a million different options to choose from, do you go local with bare-it-all sungas and ‘fio dental’ or do you opt to preserve your modesty with something a little baggier or a floaty beach dress. Dehouche recommends a trip to Brazilian favourite Osklen to kit yourself out in the latest beach fashion – our favourite branch (and owner Oskar Metsavaht agrees) is located on surf shop central Rua Francisco Otaviano, and afterwards check out the shops in the Galeria River on the same street for the latest surf fashions and the biggest range of boards in Brazil. Luckily of course havaianas are de rigeur for any outfit.