A surfer's surfer. Photo: WSL
Former CT Surfer, Leonardo Neves, Dies While Competing In Local Surf Event
Pardon the cliché, but the man left this world doing what he loved most.
According to those who knew him, surfed with him, and competed against him, the Brazilian Tour vet Leonardo Neves was a man who commanded attention.
He was a beast in the lineup, with equal parts talent, dedication, and power defining his approach. On land, Leo was friendly and charismatic but had little time for bullshit. More on that later.
Today, in his early 40s, Neves suffered a heart attack while competing in a local surf event. He drowned and was unable to be resuscitated. His family, friends, and surf fans around the world mourn Leo's loss.
Neves was on the Championship Tour in 2007 and 2008 and the QS long thereafter. For the past few years, he's run a surf-coaching business on the side of his competitive pursuits. His knowledge and ability of the sport were undeniable.
Watch as Leo dominates one of Brazil's best days, below.
When we first heard of Leo's death, we were with the ex-QS circuiter and current business mogul Doom Fahrenfort. After expressing sadness and contemplating the surprise death for a moment, Dooma said he had an epic story about Leo.
Dooma explained a contest that both he and Leo were surfing in the Maldives. Wanting to get away from the congestion of Pasta Point, a few surfers, Leo and Doom included, stayed at a different nearby wave and spent one afternoon sharing two-foot reef runners.
Said wave broke exceptionally close to their hotel's balcony, which allowed Leo's female companion to film them from the barrier. As the story goes, Leo's female companion was bending over said barrier to "get the clip," which enthused a group of male revelers, who took great pleasure in capturing digital photos of her backside.
When Leo's female companion figured out what was happening, she called Leo in (remember the wave was quite close to the hotel balcony) and explained the situation. Leo put down his board, walked straight up to the perv cluster, and demanded to see their camera.
"We were just shooting photos of the sharks!" they proclaimed, pointing to the tiny black tips swimming in the shallows.
"Oh, yeah? Let's see," Leo said, grabbing the camera and with one turn of the wrist, folding the metal between his hands and calmly returning it to its owner. Completely twisted.
Leo then returned to the lineup as if nothing had happened.