Stab Magazine | Four life lessons with Wiggolly Dantas

Four life lessons with Wiggolly Dantas

Interview conducted in Portuguese and translated by Steve Allain 1. Wiggolly is one of the most respected Brazilians in Hawaii; So much so, that he stays at Eddie Rothman’s house every winter. Here’s what he says about acquiring respect on the North Shore: “I don’t believe you simply get respect. Respect is something you build, over many years. With […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Interview conducted in Portuguese and translated by Steve Allain

1. Wiggolly is one of the most respected Brazilians in Hawaii; So much so, that he stays at Eddie Rothman’s house every winter. Here’s what he says about acquiring respect on the North Shore: “I don’t believe you simply get respect. Respect is something you build, over many years. With humility, with the right attitude, knowing your place and understanding the locals, putting yourself in their shoes. It’s a balance between knowing your place and showing respect, and demonstrating your will, of showing you’re there to go for it, that you’re not gonna hold back when the opportunity presents itself. I’ve been going to Hawaii for many years now, and I stay up to five months there each year. So respect didn’t come overnight, that’s for sure. It’s that balance of imposing yourself and showing respect. You gotta know where you are, who the locals are. You gotta wait your turn, specially. That’s how I do it. I wait my turn, patiently. After all the locals had their waves and if it’s my turn, then I’ll turn around and go, no holding back.”


Photo: Quiksilver

2. Jiu Jitsu helps with surfing. “Jiu Jitsu helps me in many different ways. It keeps me calm. I draw a lot of parallels with surfing and for me it helps me mentally, more than anything else. It helps me keep cool under pressure, in an uncomfortable situation. You have to think a lot in Jiu Jitsu, and you can use that very well in surfing, too. For example, if there are only a few minutes to go in your heat and your opponent gets a 9, it’s the same as being caught in a triangle choke. You have to maintain your focus, keep calm and think, even though you’re about to tap. It’s all about how to react when you’re in a place you don’t wanna be. Another thing is the physical part. With Jiu Jitsu you become extremely fight and strong.”


A divine line at the Volcom Pipe Pro. Photo: Volcom/Ben Reed

3. Avoiding problems with Brazilian surfers (in the Ments, for example): “I think the problems are usually caused by the Brazilians, to be quite honest. A lot of us are a little selfish, when it comes to sharing waves. When I’m in a situation where that happens, I try not to stress too much. If you’re in the Mentawais, for example, where those group and tribal dynamics seem to take place more often, I try not to make a big deal of it. If a guy drops in on me a few times, I’ll talk to him and let him know that wasn’t cool, try to explain that it would be unfortunate if we ended up fighting because of waves. Usually if it’s too hectic I’ll just paddle back to the boat and wait a little bit. I mean, I could go out there and fight – but that rarely accomplishes anything. It’s better to wait and forget about it. That’s my advice, if you get in an argument with a Brazzo, in the Mentawais for example, it’s better to just paddle away, relax and not ruin your day. Talking is cool if it happens, but a lot of times there’s a language barrier and both guys won’t understand much of what’s being said, and that sometimes is even more frustrating. Fighting might not be a good idea. A lot of Brazilian surfers are trained in Jiu Jitsu and most know how to fight. I’d wouldn’t advise on it (laughs).”


And the water view, for extra perspective. Photo: Volcom/Bielmann

4. The best and worst things about being a black surfer on Tour: “Look, there aren’t that many negative aspects of being a black surfer on Tour. Many people think I’m the first one, but that’s not true. Way before our generation there were Jojo Olivença and Tinguinha Lima, both from Brazil. So the path was paved for us a few years ago. I think the difficulties for many black surfers might be getting sponsorship, because many times when presented with a black surfer or a blonde, blue eyed surfer, a company will chose to sponsor the latter. There’s still a bit of that, I believe. Luckily for me Quiksilver never saw it that way. But there are many positives, for sure. I use other black athletes as inspiration. I mean, we dominate so many other sports, like basketball, football, track and field, etc. I’d like to be an inspiration to black surfers everywhere. I think people remember you better, too, specially because there are only a few of us in surfing. So when people meet me, they remember me. Kind of like ‘Oh, that black kid who rides for Quik? Yeah I know him.’ And, of course, it doesn’t hurt with the ladies (laughs). Who doesn’t like rhythm and groove? (more laughs)”


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