By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Marvelous City’s spectacular natural setting and consistent waves make it a destination for surfers around the world. Rio’s waves are appealing for both advanced and beginner level surfing, since they aren’t too big for the rookie, but can still be thrilling for the veterans.
The best season for surfing in Rio is the winter (June to September), as in the summer (December to March) the beaches are often full. During the winter, surfers have plenty of room to make the best of the waves without having to worry about hitting unsuspecting beach-goers.
In Zona Sul, the place to surf is Arpoador beach where waves are usually between 1m and 3m tall, and are very consistent. The downside is that Arpoador beach fills up, the crowds can be avoided though in the early the morning or late afternoon. Surfing at night is another option – as Arpoador has lights in the nighttime – although this is not recommended unless guided by a local.
A very good surfing school is located in Arpoador as well: Escola de Surf Surfrio. They specialize not only in teaching, but also in filming surf action. They have a website in English for visitors and are used to dealing with short and long term students.
You can catch some waves further down Ipanema beach as well, and in Leblon, but only in windy days as usually the waves there are weak. There are some websites with information on the wind and wave conditions for surfers in the area. Also note that Copacabana is not known as a good surfing destination, as waves there are rarely bigger than 1m, in the surfer’s jargon, the Copacabana beach is ‘flat’.
Zona Sul may be where most Gringos are, but local surfers say the best beaches for surfing in Rio are located in the Zona Oeste: Praia da Barra, Grumari and Prainha. Many consider the best surfing schoos in the city is located in Barra da Tijuca: Escola de Surf Rico, owned by Rico de Souza, one of the pioneers of surfing in Brazil. His school is the oldest still operating in the country.
Another good school in Barra is the Escola Carioca de Surf, a mobile school that operates in the Barra da Tijuca/Reserva/Recreio/Macumba/Prainha/Grumari areas. Their van, and the school – goes where the best waves are.
There are also several private instructors and small schools in the Rio de Janeiro shore:
Alexandre Pretão (Arpoador), Phone: (21) 9388-7899
Almir dos Santos (Leblon), Phone: (21) 9676-1667
Dadá Figueiredo (Barra), Phone: (21) 8166-9705
Denílson “Tiola” (Arpoador), Phone: (21) 9774-0042
Hugo Pacheco (Arpoador), Phone: (21) 8192-6230
Jean Carlos, Favela Surf Clube (Arpoador), Phone: (21) 9193-9572
Jerônimo Telles (Recreio), Phone: (21) 8894-5338
Paulo Dolabella (Ipanema), Phone: (21) 9814-9702
Pedro Muller (Barra), Phone:(21) 2428-2271
Rico de Souza (Barra), Phone:(21) 2438-1821
Marcelo Freitas (Macumba), Phone: (21) 2490-7178
Ronnie Martins (Barra), Phone: (21) 8172-2334