Stab Magazine | Remembering Ricardo Dos Santos
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Remembering Ricardo Dos Santos

Interviews by Theo Lewitt / Photos by Henrique Punguim Yesterday the surfing world woke to news that Brazilian surfer Ricardo Dos Santos was dead. Following a confrontation near his home, Ricardo was shot three times. And despite multiple surgeries and 40L of donated blood, Ricardo could not recover from his injuries. Social Media, as it does […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Interviews by Theo Lewitt / Photos by Henrique Punguim

Yesterday the surfing world woke to news that Brazilian surfer Ricardo Dos Santos was dead. Following a confrontation near his home, Ricardo was shot three times. And despite multiple surgeries and 40L of donated blood, Ricardo could not recover from his injuries.

Social Media, as it does in 2015, came alive with tributes from those who knew Ricardo, and many who didn’t. Emotional messages were tapped out to the world through the fingers of everyone from Kelly Slater, to Gabriel Medina, to locals from Ricardo’s hometown and well beyond.

As part of remembering Ricardo at his best, Stab spoke with two people who mightn’t seem at first like the most obvious choices. But, Luke Egan knew Ricardo through Billabong for a very long time, both as a team rider and via Luke’s role as contest director at Teahupoo, where Ricardo took down the world’s best as a wildcard. And Reef McIntosh, one of the North Shore’s finest, is in the top five best tuberiders in the world – so, he gifts us some words that perfectly capture Ricardo’s aplomb in huge tubes…

“That day was one of the first swells that hit Tahiti that season,” says photographer Henrik Pinguim. “Ricardo took the first plane from Brazil to surf Teahupoo for just two days during the Billabong Pro, Rio’s laydays (in which he was a wildcard).” A photo that perfectly echoes Luke Egan's sentiment:

“That day was one of the first swells that hit Tahiti that season,” says photographer Henrique Pinguim. “Ricardo took the first plane from Brazil to surf Teahupoo for just two days during the Billabong Pro, Rio’s laydays (in which he was a wildcard).” A photo that perfectly echoes Luke Egan’s sentiment: “I never saw him, in my time, say no to a wave, wherever it was.”

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Luke Egan:

“This is the biggest shock to the surfing world since the passing of Andy Irons.

“That kid was amazing. He was so focused. I never saw him, in my time, say no to a wave wherever it was. It didn’t matter whether it was a right-hand slab, left-hand slab, Teahupoo, Pipeline, the kid just took whatever came in front of him, and I think that’s how he gained the respect of the surfing world so fast.

“I never saw him look at a wave in the ocean and go, “nah, that’s not for me.” For him it was just turn around, head down, ass up and paddle! That was his approach, and not only that, but he was in that last wave of Brazilian guys who really proved that Brazilians could surf gnarly waves with style and flow. There a few of them around these days, but he was one of the pioneers of young talented guys coming through from Brazil.

“At Chopes, he beat all the best guys at that event, and then he got the Andy Irons award. Its just Ironic that he got that award (the Andy Irons award), and then this happens.

Photo 4 - “This is my favorite angle to shoot, the barrel vision,” says photographer Henrik Pinguim. “I felt very comfortable with Ricardo because I always trusted in his ability inside the barrel.”

“This is my favorite angle to shoot, the barrel vision,” says Henrique. “I felt very comfortable with Ricardo because I always trusted in his ability inside the barrel.”

“And on top of that, one of the most respectful guys I’ve ever met. He was always well mannered, well respected, gave everyone praise for anything good they’d ever done, very polite, very open to helping anybody. I know within the Billabong team, it didn’t matter whether he had someone in his heat, he’d make sure that they were solid – he brought everyone together and made sure they’d all be sorted.

“I feel for the whole country. They’ve just come off the highest of highs they’ve ever achieved in surfing, and now to come to this nearly exactly a month to the date. To the lose such a talented guy at such a young age who had so much more to offer for himself and for Brazil, and for everyone else, its just Tragic.

“There are some big social problems in Brazil like this. I read this morning that 50k people die a year in that country of this same kind of thing. The odds of that happening to you are pretty big. After this, it’d be great to see those guys (Gabriel, Alejo, etc) use their identity as Sportsmen of their country to help prevent things like this. I think with Medina winning the world title, right now he’s got a lot of exposure, and presence, and respect from everyone in the country, and I think it’d be a great time to work with authorities or whoever to try and campaign against this senseless stuff that’s happening. Nothing is too far gone to let go, and I think right now is the time to those guys to educate kids at a young age against drugs, guns, whatever they need to do.”

“We were in Hawaii checking the forecasts, when we saw a perfect scenario forming in Micronesia, or specifically, P Pass,” says Henrik. “Not thinking about the time, we abandoned Oahu despite the fact it would also be working perfectly, and went instead to get the best and most perfect waves of our lives.” Ricardo, standing hands-free in bombing P Pass, where he belonged.

“We were in Hawaii checking the forecasts, when we saw a perfect scenario forming in Micronesia, or specifically, P Pass,” says Henrique. “Not thinking about the time, we abandoned Oahu despite the fact it would also be working perfectly, and went instead to get the best and most perfect waves of our lives.” Ricardo, standing hands-free in bombing P Pass, where he belonged.

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Reef McIntosh

“Its hard to narrow it down to one story. On the north shore you see every Tom, Dick, and Harry come here, but after years and years, some start to stick out. He was definitely on his way to being a standout when I first noticed him. I think it was 2011 or 2012 when I won wave of the winter, he had an entry that was pretty sick. It’s hard to get waves out at Pipeline in general, and for a Brazilian to get that wave I saw him get was pretty difficult. I thought maybe he was just lucky, but he wasn’t lucky – the next winter, obviously, he won the wave of the winter. He had a lot of entries that year. That was a big season for him. But even before that season, when you travel around the world you always see the same faces, so I would always see him in Tahiti, Hawaii, P Pass, or Puerto. He was the type of person who liked those obviously big, scary, crazy barrels and everything in between, so we were kind of on the same wavelength. He would be everywhere I would be, so you kind of just get to know a person after that.

“That day was just me and Ricardinho in the water,” says Henrik. “The waves were bad with lots of closeouts, but the day was beautiful with clear blue water. After a whole lot of closeouts and a lot of laughter, we linked up nicely on this one.” Ricardo, Off The Wall. Few non-Hawaiians ever get as comfortable in Hawaiian juice as Ricardo did.

“That day was just me and Ricardinho in the water,” says Henrique. “The waves were bad with lots of closeouts, but the day was beautiful with clear blue water. After a whole lot of closeouts and a lot of laughter, we linked up nicely on this one.” Ricardo, Off The Wall. Few non-Hawaiians ever get as comfortable in Hawaiian juice as Ricardo did.

“I feel like he did his research by watching guys surf out at Pipeline. There are certain things you can learn out there by watching other people that surf it well, but he was pretty smart and picked up on a lot of things. He really paid attention, and that reflected in the waves he caught. He wasn’t out there being a “typical Brazilian,” but he was out there getting good waves without getting himself in trouble. There’s always some guy, every winter, that’s not from here and is in the zone every time, just clicking with Pipeline. He was one of those guys. Maybe it was just the way he lived his life reflected in his surfing. I feel like if you live a clean life, you get rewarded wherever you’re surfing. You always seem to be in the right spot wherever it may be. Whether Tahiti, No Kanduis, P Pass, or Pipeline, or Puerto, he had good rhythm with the Ocean wherever he was.”

How the world will remember Ricardo. Photo: Henrik Pinguim

How the world will remember Ricardo. Photo: Henrique Pinguim

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