The Brazilian surfing capital blooms in the shade of the rainforest – archyde

When most of Brazil watched two local clubs battle for the continent’s soccer championship last month, 14-year-old Luana Reis was far from a television.

She surfed blue-green waves against the backdrop of a towering rainforest and competed against dozens of other teenagers in the annual city tournament at one of the best surfing beaches in the country, Maresias.

She used snaps, cutbacks and aerials to win the U18 women’s title, then emerged from the water on the shoulders of four female friends and mimicked her idol Gabriel Medina – a world champion who grew up in Maresias and did so has contributed to the fact that Brazil’s surfers are as admired as its football stars worldwide.

In the next year, said Reis, she wants to fight for the national U18 women’s championship.

Luana Reis (14) is carried on friends’ shoulders after winning the U18 category of a local surfing tournament on the beach in Maresias, Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on November 26th, 2021.

“Everyone here dreams of being the next great surfer from Brazil,” Reis told The Associated Press. “There is a lot of competition, especially here in Maresias. It’s hard to make it here. “

The beach in the city of Sao Sebastiao is the ground zero for surfing in a nation that unleashed the “Brazilian storm” on the world – a generation of professional surfers who have won five of the last seven men’s world championships.

Many came to their own strength along a 200-kilometer coastline in the state of Sao Paulo. Most of Reis’ parents moved here so she could exercise every day.

Surfers enjoy the waves during a local tournament on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, November 27, 2021.

Medina, 28, led this crusade and won three world championships – an accomplishment only four others have accomplished since the modern surfing league began in 1983.

At one point in this year’s championship heat in San Clemente, California, Medina caught a small, clean peak and turned his board left as he got to his feet. He patiently watched the wave wall up, then made a couple of turns while throwing in a couple of air blows.

He “turns a mediocre wave into something substantial,” said television commentator Mick Fanning, himself a three-time champion. “That first air was amazing.”

As the buzzer sounded that sealed Medina’s victory, runner-up Filipe Toledo paddled over to offer a congratulatory hug. The two grew up surfing the same waves, with Toledo’s home right on the coast in Ubatuba. Third place went to another Brazilian, 2019 world champion and gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Italo Ferreira.

The North Shore beaches of the state of Sao Paulo were relatively unknown before Medina Maresias put his first world title on the professional surf map in 2014 and took the trophy up again in 2018.

Speaking on the phone with the AP, Medina said Maresias’ simple lifestyle is an asset to surfers.

“We don’t have tall buildings here. It’s just houses, beaches and a lot of nature, ”said Medina. “I travel all over the world, but I still appreciate the place where I live, where I come from. I feel complete here. This place gives me peace and ease to do whatever I can do. “

View of Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, November 27th, 2021. Maresias Beach is the hometown of three-time surfing world champion Gabriel Medina and one of the most popular beaches for surfers in Brazil due to its great and varied waves all year round .
View of Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, November 27th, 2021. Maresias Beach is the hometown of three-time surfing world champion Gabriel Medina and one of the most popular beaches for surfers in Brazil due to its great and varied waves all year round .

The surf towns along the coast are located in Serra do Mar Park, which, according to the state of Brazil, is the largest contiguous protected area of ​​the Atlantic rainforest. It acts as a barrier to the urban sprawl in the metropolis of Sao Paulo. Thick forest covers rugged mountains and valleys where waterfall pools drain into streams that meander through mangroves before flowing into an emerald green sea.

The area’s waves were virtually unbroken until a coastal road was built in the 1970s, which surfers explored.

“In the 1980s we were few, this was an isolated coastal region,” says 58-year-old Adriano Garcia, a Sao Sebastiao-born fisherman who has been surfing for four decades. “The championships started, the surfers from here became dominant and – boom!”

When Frank Constâncio started organizing competitions in 1985, he had to fill many roles himself – from security guard to referee to commentator.

“Years ago only açai and surfwear brands sponsored events here. Now there are real estate developers and banks, ”said Constâncio, President of the Sao Sebastiao Surfers’ Association.

Today, hotels and restaurants are littered with images of local legends, particularly Medina, which is also featured on billboards for a television manufacturer, telephone operator, dental service provider, and automaker.

“Medina is just one of the surfers who came from this (communal) tournament,” said Constâncio, looking at the competitors in the water. “The next medina could be here today.”

Henrique Tricca, a surf photographer from Ubatuba, competed on the North Shore in the 1990s and 2000s and subsequently won competitions in Europe. He said the Sao Paulo surf federations helped develop local professionals. They were the first in Brazil to organize competitions with live electronic scoring and a running clock that surfers could see from the water.

The waves were another factor.

Ravi Hadad, 11, rides a wave during a local surfing tournament on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on Nov. 27, 2021.
Ravi Hadad, 11, rides a wave during a local surfing tournament on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on Nov. 27, 2021.

“They’re far from perfect,” Tricca stated as he pulled his head back from his camera and grinned, pointing at a man who tried to break into a wave barrel but was instead swallowed by an explosion of white water.

“Since it is mostly beach breaks, the waves break faster and more hollow here. It’s hard to know which waves to choose and where to paddle in. The swells come from the south, southeast, east, and sometimes all three directions at once.In addition, the tides change and the sandbars move, so every day and even every hour it is like surfing a completely different wave. “

This irregularity, coupled with constant waves during the high season, from May to November, makes the coast a sacred practice site.

While most waves break only 1 to 3 meters high, they offer all kinds of conditions. Hence, the world-class waves of international competitions – usually more perfect, predictable reef and point breaks – are easier to read and ride for locals from Sao Sebastiao and the surrounding cities.

Medina said his early days at the city championship were key to his success.

“The truth is, I had more losses than wins in my childhood,” said Medina. “In the beginning I just had fun surfing. Then I fell in love with the sport and only then did I start competing. Every time I’ve lost here I’ve been very excited. At the beginning you dream of winning, becoming professional, being world champion. But it didn’t just happen. “

Several other North Shore cities have representatives in the Brazilian Storm, from Guarujas Adriano de Souza and Caio Ibele to Ubatuba’s Toledo and Wiggolly Dantas.

Eduardo Tanimoto teaches his five-year-old granddaughter Eloa to surf on November 27, 2021 on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil.
Eduardo Tanimoto teaches his five-year-old granddaughter Eloa to surf on November 27, 2021 on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil.

Eduardo Tanimoto, 52, is one of the originals. Born in the Sao Paulo countryside, he started surfing in Sao Sebastiao when the sport was more about lifestyle than competition. His daughter Rayana Tanimoto caught the surf bug with him

Together they opened a small hotel on Maresias Beach so they could raise their 5-year-old twin daughters, make a living, and get into the water as often as possible.

“There are other places where surfers and the Atlantic rainforest merge, but there is something special here,” she said

Rayana Tanimoto has a glass of passion fruit juice at the front desk and looks at the surfboards resting at the entrance to her hotel and says that Maresias and surfing have strengthened her family’s bonds. Earlier in the day she and her twins were making waves, and the girls took turns standing on the board with their mother. One day their girls hope to be able to participate in competitions.

Rayana Tanimoto teaches her five-year-old twin daughters Eloa (left) and Ayla to surf on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on November 27, 2021.
Rayana Tanimoto teaches her five-year-old twin daughters Eloa (left) and Ayla to surf on Maresias Beach in Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on November 27, 2021.

It was early evening and the moon was showing over the lush mountainside. The surfers would be back early the next morning before the wind got stronger.

“There aren’t many places where you can connect with anything bigger than yourself,” she said. “For me it is.”

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Reference-www.nach-welt.com

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