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Where to Surf in Rio de Janeiro Surf Guide

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Rio de Janeiro is probably the most famous place to surf in Brazil and arguably has some of the best waves.


Either it’s the fact that Rio was where people first really started to surf in the country that makes it so famous or it’s the amazing plethora of waves to choose from… I say it’s both.




There are amazing views all around the city and greenery everywhere near the beaches.


Rocks and mountains line up along the coast which make for beautiful scenery while surfing prestien waves.


Rio de Janeiro Surf Guide


Waves in Rio de Janeiro

The waves in Rio de Janeiro are very consistent to say the least.


There’s always a wave somewhere depending on the swell. I say this because every single surf spot has its ideal condition in which they break the best and they aren’t all the same.


So, if the wind or swell is not working for the spot you wanted it to, don’t worry because somewhere else has a wave.


The best times of the year to surf Rio de Janeiro are during the fall and the winter although it’s definitely consistent to surf year-round.


Waves tend to average around chest high to over head high but Brazil can pick up big swells fast and the waves can escalate to way overhead and massive.


Surf Culture in in Rio de Janeiro

Surf culture in Rio de Janeiro, and all of Brazil, has some of the deepest roots you can find along with places like Hawaii and Indonesia.


Surfing has been around for a very long time here because Rio was one of the first places in the country to be surfed.


Since culture here is large, surf competitions, both professional and local, take place often due to the world class waves and local surfers who know the breaks like the back of their hand.


Surf Gear Needed in Rio de Janeiro

When it comes to deciding what kind of surf gear to wear when taking the waters of Rio, you don’t need to pack heavy because the waters stay pretty consistent year-round although there are definitely colder days in the winter.


Most of the time, you will be just fine in bikinis and board shorts because the average temperature in the summer there is 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


During the winter, sea temperatures can go down to around an average of 69 degrees Fahrenheit and you may need to throw on a 2mm wetsuit top or a spring suit so that you can be more comfortable out in the water for a longer amount of time.


Don't forget reef-safe sunscreen!


Top 5 Surf Spots in Rio de Janeiro


Prainha

This surf spot is a beautiful secluded spot in nature further away from the hustle and bustle of the city and towns.


There is amazing scenery of rainforests, rocks and tropical views to see while you surf some fun waves.


When the waves start going off, the lineup can get very crowded because word travels fast between the locals, but overall the crowd isn’t too bad compared to others.


The waves are easy to catch and if everywhere else is flat, Prainha will have something.


This is a sand-bottomed beach break that works the best with swell from the S, SE, or ESE paired with winds from the NW, WSW, or ENE.


Prainha is the perfect spot to set up on the beach and surf all day.


Praia de Macumba

Praia de Macumba is a great all-around break.


All levels of surfers are welcomed here and you can ride any kind of board although longboards are the popular option at the point break to the right side.


This spot picks up swell very consistently, so there’s always waves breaking here all year around.


The spot itself can get very crowded when it’s good, although once it starts picking up and getting really big, people back off and the crowd is almost non-existent and left to the ones who are brave enough to charge.


The ideal conditions for this spot would be SSW or SE swell paired with NW or NE winds. Praia de Macumba breaks during any tide but ideally, low tide is the best.


Grumari

This surf spot is considered one of the most consistently breaking spots in all of Rio and is a dream for shortboarders.


Grumari actually is not too crowded compared to other spots in Rio and typically stays that way unless the waves are so perfect it’s straight from your dreams.


All levels of surfers are welcomed here just depending on how big the swell is of course.


There’s a beautiful environmental reserve at the break that gives you good views while you’re out in the water.


The ideal conditions for Grumari would be a swell coming from the S, ESE, or SSW paired with winds coming from NW or NE.


Ipanema

Ipanema is one of the most famous breaks in Rio and the crowd could testify to that.


The crowd almost gets as heavy as the waves do.


Overall, the break can be good for surfers of all levels of ability because the spot holds any swell from really small to massive.


You can ride any type of board here although short boarding is usually the go-to choice.


The people who surf here and live in town are extremely friendly and there’s an incredible atmosphere on the beach and out in the water.


The ideal conditions for Ipanema would be SW or SSW swell paired with NW or NE winds at a medium tide going high for a little more of a push to the waves.


I had to save the best for last… “Brazilian Hawaii”. There’s no wonder why some of the world’s greatest surfers are from Brazil.


This spot is famous for two main reasons: The history of locals surfing here dates back to the beginning of surfing in Brazil and; The waves here are arguably the best in Rio.


Saquarema is a regular host of the WSL Championship Tour and it’s clear how deep the surf culture runs here due to the massive crowds that show up cheering for their locals.


The energy is crazy!

Anyways, the waves are great but it can get very competitive out there in the water so be respectful of others and others will respect you as well.


The bottom of the break is sand but there’s also a rock shelf so be mindful of that when it comes to staying safe out there.


Usually the wave at Saquarema is a long left although there can be a right with the point swell.


The ideal conditions for Saquarema would be swell from the S, SE, S, or SW paired with winds from the NW or NE.


What To Do in Rio de Janeiro When The Waves Are Flat

Rio has a plethora of things to do that include its wonderful views, people to meet, culture, history, food, and towns.


If you can think of any activity possible, Rio most likely has it! This city is one of the most beautiful places in Brazil and definitely something everyone needs to experience at some point in their lives.

Rio de Janeiro Surf Guide

Home to some of Brazil’s best and most famous waves to surf, Rio offers so much for every kind of surfer.


The entire vibe of the city is incredible and definitely something a surfer needs to see for themselves.


Grab a few friends and head out to Rio for the best surf trip of your life!

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