Professional surfer from Japan, Kanoa Igarashi, does an air while surfing between heats at the 2018 Rio Pro, held in Saquarema, Brazil.

Samba through South America as the world's best surfers go to Rio

© Sebastian Rojas

Brazil just delivered the best event yet of the 2018 world tour surfing season!

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It’s fair to say nobody saw this coming. After a so-so Aussie leg, more notable for sharks than shredding, and with a curtain-raiser of sorts held in Kelly Slater’s chlorinated bathtub, Brazil just delivered the best event yet of the 2018 world tour surfing season. In and out of the water, the Rio Pro – actually held 90 minutes away in the fishing town of Saquarema – was a roaring success. And, as the edit above demonstrates, all of your pre-conceived Brazilian misconceptions can now be well and truly thrown out with the bath water.
We deployed regular No Contest guru Jacob Wooden to the land of acai, soccer and samba to cover all the action, and here’s what he uncovered from behind his tripod, buried deep in the sands of Saquarema. Alongside Woody on motion picture duties, we also enlisted local lensman Sebastian Rojas to provide the photos you see below.
First and by no means least, the surf cooked. A week of solid conditions served surfing’s elite chunky beachbreaks of the highest order. When not getting tubed out of their minds, or digging sand from every orifice, thanks to the backwash, high performance flair and broken boards were the order of the day, all performed in front of a scantily clad audience of appreciative and passionate spectators. Jordy Smith, Sebastian Zietz, and Michel Bourez stood tall in a tough tussle for freesurf domination, while Caroline MarksTainá Hinckle and Tyler Wright threw around their fair share of muscle in the line-up, too. 
To give us the lay of the land, we met up with Brazilian world champ Adriano de Souza to see find out what's delivered him his competitive edge over the years. Big wave lunatic Lucas Chianca checks in to give us the rundown on his beloved Saquarema, and magazine founder and all round debonair man about town Steven Allain explains some of the ins and outs of the Brazilian way of life.
As well as grilling the Top 34 on their knowledge of local clothing (or lack thereof), we hang out with Owen Wright, Matt Wilkinson and Adrian Buchan at an impromptu Cheeseburger Challenge surf-off, and carve big chunks of meat from the bone in celebration afterwards, with contagious smiles the order of the day.
Stop No.5 of the world tour sees the big dogs ready to launch in Bali, but before Keramas kicks off, why not reminisce one last time about the most surprising and satisfying locations we’ve visited this year. Hit play now to join the party, and just see how long you can last without wanting to hop on the next flight to beautiful Brazil. Enjoy.