Hunting, surfing and hell, even shooting slabs is a fickle business. All the elements need to align, swell direction, wind, the tide gauged at max impact to make the most of a heaving chunk of heavy water. Over in Rio, there's one such wave that's risen to prominence recently – Shock, the pics throughout will justify its namesake.
Anyway, a week or so back, this thick-lipped meat grinder unloaded in south east Rio, locals only went toe-to-toe on a tow in day. Some made it our relatively unscathed (and a few insane waves in the bag for bragging rights), some were fleeced beyond anything they've known before.
To get a real sense of what it's like tackling this behemoth, Ziul Andueza, one of the locals who surfs Shock whenever it breaks weighed in (though was absent from this swell after getting fucked up in the last session): “The wave stands up so fast. We usually have to make sure we are in tune with those deadly side and back-washes, as they are what will put us in the right place of the wave to surf the tube. Or, wipe us out – scraped across the uneven, mussel and urchin covered floor, you hit that, and it's gonna dislocate a limb.
“But, supposing that it all goes well, when you’re inside the barrel you still have to deal with at least two pretty big shake ups on the wave until you eventually attempt to get spat out - avoiding the rocks that get exposed precisely at the very end of every ride.
“Well, the good thing is, if you’re not lucky enough, or can’t deal with all the intricacies of Shock, the 50 to 100ish people on the rocks, watching across the bay, will still receive you with heartwarming cheers and whistles to comfort you, but if you’re that lucky guy, as we probably had no more than six insane barrels completed here, the crowd will lose their mind.”
And how about that? With only 6 barrels completed, Shock's still relatively new to the surfing world. Though we've reported on it before (see HERE) it is a notoriously difficult chunk to navigate. Bumps and steps in the wave, rocks littered across that end section. It's no wonder it's home to a select type of local, expert.
Capturing all you see throughout is 20-year-old lensman Matheus Couto, born and raised in Itacoatiara, Brazil. He told MSW: “The wave is really heavy. Yeah, there were injuries, Daniel Rangel and Eric de Souza [no relation to Adriano] got their shoulder fucked up by hitting the rocks and decided to stop the session.
"In the past, only a few local surfers used to ride this wave and it was known as a bodyboard spot, Dudu Pedra and Guilherme Correa always surfed there, even in big days, without the support of jet skis. They were actually heroes [laughs]."
Since the local crew, Bruno Santos, Guilherme Herdy, Gabriel Sampaio and more, plus some other friends from Rio, got jet skis and other stuff to help the session there, the wave started to be more... explored.
“Nowadays, every swell we have we'll be on at Shock," says Matheus. "It's very difficult to surf, you really need the help of the jet ski in those big days, because it's such a powerful and fast wave, that any mistake you make, you will probably hit the rocks. I do really love to be out there shooting, though.”
We ask what it's like shooting in those conditions. Matheus says: “It's always a hard thing, because of the power and the danger element. Even to get in, you need to jump from the rocks and you cannot make any mistakes, because if you do, you're gonna hit the rocks, lose equipment...
“But it's my local spot and I love being there. Even with all that difficulty, I really love this place and to be out there with the boys charging and shooting those moments.”