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luana_forblog1The Brazilian Paradox has got people talking so I thought it would be good to talk back – nothing like a bit of healthy debate. Thanks to Luciano Burin and Drift for giving this topic oxygen…

“About that article on Brazilian feminine surfing, I must say I disagree with some parts of the content, specially that relation with the “latin macho thing”. My perception and experience is that guys really love when they see girls surfing along with them, and they are usually very supportive of helping them out in the water. In my view, besides the dominating “bikini culture”, girls are more and more fond of practicing sports on the beach than just getting a sun tan!

I believe it is an interesting theme, but in my opinion, despite the author not seeing any girls surfing, we have more and more girls surfing in the Brazilian line-ups everyday, and I do see a few girls surfing here in Florianopolis. Of course there’s still no comparison with the amount of guys and what you see in Australia (where basically everyone surfs!!!)

Anyway, some important facts that were not mentioned is that Brazil has got nowadays a strong feminine professional competitive surfing circuit. Not to mention that in the late 80’s and early 90’s the bodyboarding boom attracted thousands of girls to the ocean, and the Brazilian girls still dominate this sport to this day in the world tour. I’ve also seen pictures of some girls surfing in Ipanema back in the sixties…

In the end of the day, I think the article does recognize that, when it states that what happens in Brazil is not much different than surfing in Britain and the USA, for instance… where feminine surfing is improving but still has a long way to grow…” Luciano Burin, Brazil.

brazil1_forblog1Luciano Burin has got me thinking about women surfing in Brazil again. It’s great to see that the feature I wrote for Drift has triggered a spot of debate and he’s got a point – there were a few things I missed out. There wasn’t room to squeeze in more detail about the female competitive surfing circuit even though it was something Luana Prado and the professional female surfers I spoke to were keen to talk about. And I didn’t get a chance to dig deeper into the Brazilian bodyboarding boom of the late 1980s and why it was such a hit with girls.

With the main thrust of the feature, I wanted to raise questions around the relationship between women surfing and the notion of the ‘Body Beautiful’ as well as look at how ‘Latin machao’, as Lorraine Leu put it, has played a role in the development of Brazilian society on different levels. However, as the article points out, neither of these concepts offer a watertight explanation for why Brazilian line-ups seem decidedly oestrogen free.

And that’s because of one key thing. It might have been possible to belligerently convince myself that the theories of university professors about macho attitudes have some bearing on the number of women paddling out, if it weren’t for the many Brazilian men and women I spoke to that vehemently argued otherwise.

From hostel owners and surf school instructors to professional surfers, everyone I spoke to, before and after my trip, was adamant that there are increasing numbers of women surfing in Brazil and that it is a welcoming place to surf. And now I can add Luciano to the list.

brazil2_forblog1Thing is, I don’t disagree. It is a really welcoming place to surf and I am sure there are plenty of women paddling out every day – as Luciano, Luana and everyone else points out; the evidence is certainly stacked high. It’s just I didn’t see them. No matter how much I wanted to look around and see women in the waves, I didn’t. And no matter how often people tell me there are ‘more and more girls surfing in the Brazilian line-ups everyday,’ I only have my own experience to go on and sadly they weren’t there. I wish they were, but they weren’t. For me personally, that has to be the bottom line.

Here’s hoping I get to go back to Brazil really soon and see things differently.  Any offers?

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