Stab Magazine | Ricardo Dos Santos, Rest in Peace.
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Ricardo Dos Santos, Rest in Peace.

By Lucas Townsend Ricardo dos Santos is dead, aged 24. After a 24-hour battle and over 100 bags of blood, Ricardo was unable to recover from three gunshot wounds to his back and abdomen and died in the early hours of this morning at the Regional Hospital of Saint Joseph in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Ricardo was […]

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

By Lucas Townsend

Ricardo dos Santos is dead, aged 24. After a 24-hour battle and over 100 bags of blood, Ricardo was unable to recover from three gunshot wounds to his back and abdomen and died in the early hours of this morning at the Regional Hospital of Saint Joseph in Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Ricardo was allegedly shot three times by off-duty soldier, Luiz Paulo Mota Brentano, 25, outside his home. The details are grey, with two theories of what happened. One version of events tells that Ricardo confronted Brentano and two others over their blatant use of drugs on the streets of Embaú Guard (translated). The second, based on what family members believe, is Brentano and his brother, 17, had parked their car over building materials outside Dos Santos’ home which was under construction, and he asked them to move on. The response was gunfire at 8:40am local time, and according to Hardcore’s International Editor Steve Allain, Dos Santos was shot once in the back, turned, and was shot twice more in the abdomen.

The gunman and his brother were apprehended by military police following the attack and it’s understood Brentano has a heavy history of brutality. The soldier, stationed in Joinville, had previously had two complaints brought before the Public Prosector’s Office in Santa Catarina over alleged crimes of abuse of authority, bodily injury, threat and home invasion. In both cases he was acquitted over a lack of evidence.

Brentano claimed he acted in self defence, meanwhile Hardcore report the younger brother said Ricardo and another man “would have come at them with a machete” (translated) over the car’s location.

After the gunfire, Dos Santos was quickly airlifted to hospital. He underwent four surgeries to repair a perforated lung and kidney, and severed arteries. He lost litres of blood in the attack and an unprecedented amount of donations flowed into the Hemosc blood bank in downtown São José after Adriano De Souza, Filipe Toledo, Alejo Muniz and Gabriel Medina all turned to social media calling for the blood drive. As Brazilians realised the severity of the situation facing one of their own, people even queued to offer their blood. 40 litres was used in transfusions to save his life and he was induced into a coma with the hope that, over the next 36 hours, his body would react positively to the new blood. Sadly, it wasn’t the case.

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In mourning. Ricardo and his girlfriend, Karol Esser. (@karolineesser)

“Our Ricardo is gone,” said his family moments after his passing. “He lived so much in his 24 years. It is a very hard time for us right now. We believe that there are better barrels where Ricardo is going and that he will be there getting barrels with Andy Irons. We want to say thank you to everyone for all of the support. Thanks for all of the opportunity for his life and career. Ricardo was so grateful for everything and for everyone.”

The social feed was a saddened scroll this morning; a sign of how wide respect reached for Dos Santos.

Kelly Slater wrote: “Beautiful morning but I was horrified to realize everyone was paddling out to Pipe to form a circle in remembrance of my friend, Ricardo Dos Santos, who passed away in hospital after being shot three times yesterday in Brasil. Ricardo was truly one of the great barrel riders of his short time (myself and a few others learned that the hard way against him at Teahupo’o a couple years back when he won the Andy Irons Award in the event. He also won the Wave Of The Winter in 2012-2013 for a crazy barrel at Pipeline and was a regular standout in any barreling or heavy conditions around the world. This was truly a senseless loss of life. It unfortunately brings to light the number of murders yearly in Brazil, officially documented at over 50,000 with many thousands more going unreported. Lack of education, poverty, and drugs don’t make for a good mix and make life challenging in this country, one of the most beautiful and scariest places I’ve been. Condolences to Ricardo’s friends and family around the world. Our small community has lost another way too soon. R.I.P. RDS.”

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A technical and committed tube rider. RIP RDS. Photo: Macfarlane.

Gabriel Medina posted a blank photograph with the message (translated): “Ricardo, you did not deserve it! Not even, ever! Why it happens to good people, I do not understand that! Good people, always helping the next, smile ear-to-ear every day. God comfort your family.”

Billabong have issued a statement remembering “a team rider and dear friend, and an inspiration to all who knew him.”

More importantly, Ricardo was a loving brother, son, friend, and grandson. When not traveling the globe in search of giant barrels, Ricardo spent time at home helping around the house and surfing with local groms. He was also a proud Brazilian who supported his local community. His stoke for his homeland could be felt even as he traveled the globe, telling stories of his time at home with close friends. While we mourn this tragedy, we must remember to celebrate and honor Ricardo’s incredible life, and hope it influences the next generation to live a life full of hard work, enthusiasm, and generosity.”

Dos Santos had fought hard to clean up his local streets, publicly declaring the town’s reputation for a relaxed, hippie vibe had given way to a boom in the presence of violent street thugs: “Today it seems that this piece of “heaven” is losing its charm, it seems that people no longer value the fact that they are in a beautiful and pure place… It is with an immense feeling of sadness that I write this, but the Guard is being destroyed.”

Anybody who’s followed professional surfing over the last few years has no doubt seen the exploits of Dos Santos. From taking Kelly Slater out in maxed Teahupoo to winning the Andy Irons Award, he was one of the key surfers responsible for reshaping public perception of Brazilian surfing in waves of consequence.

He will be sorely missed by the surfing community and beyond. Rest in Peace.

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Has always, and will always be charging. Photo: Macfarlane

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