So you want to surf in Rio? To start with I must inform you that I may not be the best guy to tell you about surfing. I go body surfing here and then but I have never really gotten into the part with boards. I guess I never really got over my first serious try to become a surfer; It was in Saquarema and a decision of not wearing a rash shirt (sissy stuff) resulted in me and my good friend Matti having bleeding very sore nipples. We became the laughing stock of the surfers in our hostel. I have met many surfers so I have picked up a little here and there and with their help I have been able to put these pages together.

Surf in Rio - Arpoador

View from Arpoador. Photo by Andreas Lönngren.

Like a glove

To surf in Rio is something well integrated in the culture, it fits really well into the whole obsession with the beach and people with surf boards is a common sight on the streets. Unfortunately there is not a consistant break in the city, my mate Rob stayed her for a few years and put this Surf Guide Rio together. It not only includes the breaks in the city, he also gives some good info about the whole state.

Surf in Rio – The History

The first surfers in Brazil started out on the beaches in Santos in the 1930’s but it was in Rio it really took off. People started to surf the waves in Rio de Janeiro during the 1940’s, it was mainly around Arpoador and the now removed Pier. In the beginning you couldn’t really talk about a pure surf culture, it was more part of a rising beach culture. In the 1960’s, like all over the world, surfing established itself as a culture on its own. Long hair, freedom, rock and pop all fit into the new ideas of the time. The persecution by the Police then controlled by a dictatorship rule also gave surfing an air of belonging to the free Brazil.

Crowded Waves

With an increasing number of surfers and better boards more and more beaches became part of the repertoir and nowadays if there is something to surf you have surfers. As a consequence of the high density of surfers on every wave the attitude can be quite hostile, especially towards outsiders and fights are not to uncommon. Around Arpoador, reputation has it that there is a connection to the drug trade going on in the favela nearby, it is really tense and it is not a place for beginners.


I have put together a Carioca Surf Slang Dictionary where you can find some common gírias.

Waves and Forecasts

Go to my Rio Surf Report page, it has the best updated information for most of the breaks. There you also have lots of other info including links to some useful sites.

Buying Boards

Rio is pretty cheap for boards (as long as they are not imported) and there are some shapers around that can make your custom board for a good deal, read more about it on my Board Shops in Rio – Buying and Renting Boards page.

Kite Surfing

This recently new sport has grown a lot in popularity, in Rio you have some good opportunities both to learn and to practice this. Just go to Kite Surfing in Rio to find out more.

Getting There

Go to Getting Around Surfing to get som valuable info on how to get to the best breaks in the city and around the state.