By Scarlet Bringuenti Bennett, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Cidade Maravilhosa is a great destination to discover a love for surfing, and what better way to do so than to book lessons with some of the many surf schools based along the city’s shores this summer.
A lot of the best surf spots in Rio are based on the Zona Oeste (West Zone) beaches, including Barra de Tijuca. Barra has the longest stretch of beach and has many surf schools, however you will find other great option in Ipanema and Copacabana as well.
Arpoador, near Ipanema is a very popular place for surfing and has great surf schools, one of which is Surf Slava Escola de Surf.
Located at Posto Seven (Post Seven), this school provides people of all ages with excellent care from the dedicated instructors that work there.
Because it is the smallest beach on the west side it means that the beaches can be crowded and locals are known to be not the most welcoming when dealing with ‘Gringas.’
The best bet when looking for surf schools in abundance and quality is along the beach of Barra da Tijuca – the longest beach in Rio, which spans an impressive 17km long.
Throughout the beach there are many great surf schools. One which stands out is Yoga Surf founded in 2004 by Yoga teacher and surf instructor Rodrigo Iorio.
This surf school uses Hatha Yoga in order to warm up and prepare the learners minds before entering the water. It also allows the surf instructors to become more aware of the individuals concentration and physical self-knowledge.
Past student, Anselmo Correia said, “I liked it a lot. The professors were good and Barra da Tijuca beach was a great spot to learn.”
Another great surf school in Rio is Escola de Surf Rico (Rico Surf School), which is owned by a famous Brazilian surfer, Rico de Souza, and is known for being one of the best surfing schools in Rio.
Rico Surf School is based in Barra, however the instructors will drive you to the area with the best waves for your groups ability in order to give you the best experience while learning.
It is also a good idea to venture away from Barra and its touristic location and try something that is tried and tested and loved by Carioca’s, then Rocinha Surfe Escola (Rocinha Surf School) is the place to go.
The a project that was born from the vision of José Ricardo Ramos, Bocão, born and raised in Rocinha. In 1987 Bocão received his first surfboard in exchange for a video game and learned to surf alone in the waves of the left corner of São Conrado.
He realized surfing became a way to stay away from illegal activity in the favelas and to help others do the same he created the surf school.
Today the Rocinha Surf School has a headquarters in the sports complex of Rocinha and serves around 300 children annually. To date, more than 3,000 children have passed through the program.
Robson Robgol described it as, “Imagine being in a place where darkness is the only existing point in human vision, and in this darkness comes a speck of light.”
This surf school is not just about technical skills, but it is also about a cultural experience. Even if you don’t surf with the school it is an important visit to make while in Rio.