Watch: The Heart-Melting Return of João Chianca in ‘SIMEULUE’ - Stab Mag

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Watch: The Heart-Melting Return of João Chianca in ‘SIMEULUE’

Yet another reason to normalise full-time Gath donning. 

elsewhere // May 29, 2024
Words by Jack O'Neill Paterson
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Homo Sapiens are remarkable creatures. We have built cities, visited the stars, outsmarted death and time, and assembled a terrifying cyber-intelligence that transcends our own comprehension of the universe.  

We’re a global superorganism, but it has taken us 200,000 years and the world’s greatest minds to notice that head trauma, especially the type that renders a human skull all soft and doughy like a bruised apple, is no joke. 

On the 3rd of December, 2023, just months after finishing number four in the world, João Chianca was pulled from the water, lifeless and limp, following a blow to the back of the head whilst surfing solid Backdoor. 

It took João about four days to regain consciousness, after which he spent two weeks in hospital making sense of what had happened. 

“There was a lot of brain bleeding. Not just on the back of my head, near where the cut was, but around my whole head. And there was a fracture on the right side — which was made from the shock of hitting the bottom,” João told Stab in a recent interview

Remarkably, João returned to the Changa this month to compete at Snapper Rocks, a location that, based on Owright’s heroic win in 2017, appears to be the field of reckoning for those returning from severe head trauma. 

João made it to finals day before being upended by a rampaging Josh Burke. Still, a quarter-final finish is a momentous effort by someone who had discovered, only months ago and upon returning to the world after a four-day consciousness hiatus, that he had lost all feeling in his left foot. 

If you need any additional convincing that João is back, watch his latest clip, ‘SIMEULUE’ above. The four-minute short is warm and moving, and documents João banging it up on a recent trip through Sumatra. 

João received the WSL injury wildcard for the 2025 season, and will make his return to full-time competition on the CT next year. Right where he belongs. 

To read our full interview with Joáo post injury, click here

And, for an alternative method of recovery, read Stab’s interview with Koa Smith here. His saving grace? A hero-dose of highly potent psilocybin mushrooms. 

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