Floripa, Brazil – Battling the Unexpected
Written by Oswald Smith
Written by Oswald Smith
Tropics… Just that word immediately spurs a vivid image of blue skies, warm waters, and white sand beaches in your subconsciousness. Well this trip was not like that. Instead we got the differ. Dark skies, cold murky waters, grey beaches and lots of havoc. I guess it’s fair to say that things didn’t pan out as planned.
In November 2022, we left for Brazil. Specifically Florianopolis. Now Florianopolis is an island off the mainland connected by one long bridge. Also widely known as Floripa; The island of magic. It’s surrounded by lush green fern and winding roads connecting the beaches. Think of a snakes and ladder board. Somehow any road will lead to a beach somewhere, pretty rad. The thing about sub-tropical destinations though is that the weather is erratic. Rain can pour down at any moment and lightning can crack down next to you. We got it all.
"Think of a snakes and ladder board. Somehow any road will lead to a beach somewhere, pretty rad."
The team linked up at the airport. It was the usual faces with a couple of new ones. Camille, Jop, Vincent, Glen, Michel and myself. Joining us for the first time on a Mystic shoot though was Tom Bridge all the way from UK (I guess he didn’t mind the weather), Sophia Abreu (Brazilian women’s wave champion), Karlie Thoma (Big Air charger from Hawaii), Guilly Brandao (world champion waverider) and Mint (Our Lithuanian cinematographer who lost his camera in customs day 1). A stacked group of individuals, all embellished in their own personalized flare.
Our first hurdle was no wind and waves in Floripa. After a few days we ventured off to another place called Ibiraquira. The road to Ibiraquira is about 2,5hrs long, nothing out of our reach. However when we drove to Ibiraquira there was a massive truck drivers strike. I know what you’re thinking just drive around it, well, it’s not that simple. We were stuck in traffic for about 5hrs plus. People were walking on the highway as if we were in the movie “The Purge.” It was a fuckup. But nonetheless we made it to Ibiraquira where we set up base for the rest of the trip.
"People were walking on the highway as if we were in the movie 'The Purge.' It was a fuckup."
Ibiraquira ended up being our north star for the trip ahead. The wind was a bit more consistent and waves showed face every now and then. Our first session was at Praia do Rosa, Guilly’s local spot. Tom and I went for a little freestyle session whilst the rest sent it on the waves. This day was really tricky, underpowered on 13m’s walking up the beach every time. At least we got some stuff. If this wasn’t unlucky enough my car tire popped on the sand. I mean, since when do your tires pop in the sand. Strange. Every day was a bit of a mission. Either the waves never came or we got lost with the GPS. These were the day-to-day hassles.
In between all the havoc and frustration we did get a few good days though. One of which I vividly remember is our gale wave day. We woke up one morning. Sky completely covered in clouds and nuclear winds blowing in a NW direction. The waves were solid and tide was on point. Everybody went out and scored some waves. Camille being the standout of the day
with Guilly and Tom following and me, well I got the runt of the litter waves. Don’t know why, but it just didn’t go my way. Dropped my kite on the second set, got washed on the rocks, lines wrapped around the barnacles. A kite mare in its finest form.
"Dropped my kite on the second set, got washed on the rocks, lines wrapped around the barnacles. A kite mare in its finest form."
As the days ticked by and wind and waves evaded the forecast we took some time and enjoyed the nature of Ibiraquira. Guilly showed us one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen, took us on a hike with awe-inspiring views, and ended it off with a couple of beers to help decompress the frustrations of kite conditions we were dealt with.
In between the mayhem of tricky conditions, washed up on rocks, stuck in a strike, popped tires, rain consuming us, lost camera gear and sunshine beguiling us, it was still a good trip. I might sound a bit cynical in this write-up, but I want to be real with you. Not every trip goes as planned no matter where you are. Nature has a mind of its own and she decides what happens not you nor me, we are dealt with a hand of cards and you have to play the right ones to keep the game going.
"In between the mayhem of tricky conditions, washed up on rocks, stuck in a strike, popped tires, rain consuming us, lost camera gear and sunshine beguiling us, it was still a good trip."
All and all we still had an epic time. It’s fun to connect with the team, to bond, get a little bit closer, ride new places and learn from experiences. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Actually that’s a lie, maybe a bit more wind and waves. Cheers Brazza, next time you better show your colours!