In one word, Rio is “intense”. There’s no better way of describing it. Surfing there is a different experience because it’s very urban yet still connected to nature, the water and it’s beaches are astonishing and the landscapes one drives to go from one spot to the other are jaw dropping (if you’ve ever drove back from Prainha you know what I’m talking about). 

Waves are far from excellent and the easier access beaches like Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon are essentially close-outs that have their days. Barra is much more consistent but can also be tricky and Prainha tends to be the best option 90% of the time, with the drive and the beach itself being a spectacle on it’s own right.

The birthplace of Brazilian culture, Rio has a very rich history as the country’s former capital, home to the emperor and its entourage, later developing generation after generation of artists in all fields, the list of notables that come from the city is probably as tall as the Sugar Loaf. 

Soccer of course is the passion for 10 out of 10 cariocas (people from Rio) and not a game goes by without music, screaming, cheering, suffering and joy all simultaneously.

Rio de Janeiro became a World Heritage Site in 2012.

 

GIG - Galeão International Airport

SDU - Santos Dumont Airport

 

AUTUMN - March to May is the best surf season, when there’s plenty of swell combined with mild winds and good sandbars.

SUMMER - December to February offers less swell and colder water due to local underwater current patterns, yet very hot sunny days with typical late afternoon summer rains.

WINTER - June to August is when the biggest swells, especially S/SE hit the coast, but also stronger wind and after several swells the sandbars tend to shift a lot.

SPRING - September to November is when the sandbars are improving, still a lot of swell and less wind.

 

BELMOND COPACABANA PALACE - Best for families, visiting downtown, Copacabana, Urca and Flamengo. A Belle-Epoque grand Hotel.

FASANO RIO DE JANEIRO - Best for the social ambiance, in and out of the hotel. Contemporary look & feel.

 

THE SURF

AREA SPOT QUALITY TYPE SEASON CONSISTENCY R/L SWELL WIND TIDE
Zona Sul Forte de Copacabana / Expresso Escorpião ★★★★ Rock Slab Mar-Jun ★★★ R SW-S S Mid-Low
Zona Sul Arpoador ★★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★ L S-SE-E E-NE All
Zona Sul Ipanema ★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★ L S-SE-E SE Low
Zona Sul Leblon ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ L S-SE-E N-NE Mid-High
Zona Sul Laje do Sheraton ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★ R SW-S SW-S Mid
Zona Sul São Conrado ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★ R/L S-SE-E N-NE Low
Barra Joatinga ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ R/L SW-SE N-NW-S Mid-Low
Barra Barra da Tijuca ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ R/L S-SW-SE-E N-NW-NE All
Barra Recreio ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ R/L S-SE-E SW-SSW-SE-SSE All
Zona Oeste Macumba ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ R/L S-SSW-SE-SSE N-NE-E Low
Zona Oeste Prainha ★★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★★ R/L SW-S-SE N-NW Mid-High
Zona Oeste Grumari ★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ R/L SW-S SW All
Niteroi Itacoatiara ★★★★ Sand Mar-Jun ★★★★ R/L S-SW-SE N-NE Low
Niteroi Shock ★★★★ Rock Slab Mar-Jun ★★ R N/A N/A Mid

YOUR LOCAL GUIDES:

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José Roberto

Rio de Janeiro

“Zé Roberto” has been a teacher at Rico Surf School for over 25 years, with international experiences in Hawaii and Peru. He is alo and expert in weather and swell forecast and closely involved with several beach preservation efforts in Rio. Surfing for him is a lifestyle, not a sport.

Zé Roberto is graduated in Physical Education.

 
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Fabio Cardoso

Fabio is graduated in architecture at UFRJ and has worked with Brazilian icons such as Claudio and Thiago Bernardes (who btw is also a fellow surfer).

Fabio has been surfing for 20 years and teaching at Escola de Surf Rico, Brazil’s pioneering surf school, currently serving over 200 students, whose classes are taught at Macumba beach, a very versatile spot that offers waves for both beginners and experts.