Monthly Archives: August 2012


Check out the recent publicity for Surfer Grrrls Brazil!

Thanks Balanced Edutainment and Brown Girl Surf for the love!

Balanced Edutainment – an emerging thought-leadership platform for edutainment and transformational entertainment for youth featured Surfer Grrrls Brazil on their blog.

Fellow Surfer Grrrl Farhana Huq follows the adventures of Surfer Grrrls Brazil (and many others) on her super cool website,


Surfer Grrrls Brazil in the spotlight

Urban Alligator!!!

Urban Alligator!!!

While riding my bike along the canal next to the major shopping mall in Florianopolis, I noticed a guy sitting on the banks staring at something below.  I slowed down to see what it was, and HOLD THE LINE!!!  It was an alligator!!!  15 feet away from the mid-day traffic jam.  It seemed unbothered, lying perfectly still on the edge of the canal in reptilian midday torpor.  Only the occasional blinking of its eyes indicated to us that it was still alive   Apparently alligators are not uncommon here, on this island that is mostly ecological preserves, even in the capital city, even right next to the biggest mall.   Jacaré is the word for alligator in Portuguese.  Bom Dia Jacaré!

Buying my Brazilian Surfboard


Pretty soon after arriving in Brazil, I realized I was going to have to buy myself a surfboard.  It worked out for a while to rent one, but the problem is that it’s  winter here, so a lot of the surf shops are closed for the season.  Only College Surf School at Joaqina beach, owned and operated by local surf legend Fabricio Machado, stays open during these chilly days, but even then its somewhat unpredictable.  If the weather is extra lousy, or Fabricio has other business in town, the shop stays closed and I am grounded on land, with no chariot on which to ride the lovely waves.

So… commence Operation Purchase Surfboard.

Self portrait of me on the bus on the first leg of my journey to buy my very own Brazilian surf board!

It just so happened that on my very first day in Brazil, while blindly navigating the bus system (blindly because I had no idea where I was going and my Portuguese comprehension at that point was pretty much nada), I landed in the beautiful seaside fishing town of Acores, so named for the Portuguese islands from which many of its residents immigrated.  To my dismay, all the local surf schools were closed for the season, but I tracked down a small shop which sold surfboards made by a local shaper.  The kindly owner, Marina, after suffering through my abysmal Portuguese, informed me that her shop did not rent boards, but she would be willing to rent me her own personal board so I could go surfing that afternoon.   What hospitality!   The waves in Acores were unusually good that day and after an absolutely perfect first day surfing in Brazil I hung out with Maria, and her cute baby and across the street neighbor.

The bus terminal, where I spend a lot of time transferring buses on my long journeys to the island’s many beaches

Maria had some used boards at her shop, including a locally made 6′ 9 board, in great shape, perfect for me as I transition towards shorter more nimble boards.  After doing some comparison shopping, and deciding I wanted to support Maria’s business, I gave her a call and told her I was coming back down to Acores to buy the board.  Here’s the long  journey that follows (it involves 3 buses!), mostly recorded through photos.

View from the bus as we drive by Morro das Pedras, another cool surfing spot that I’d like to check out some time.

The Lonelines surf shop where I bought my board. The beach is a block away.

Me and my new surfboard. So excited!

Solo shot of my new board, with Acores beach in the background.

And these are the waves I am about to surf! I christened my new board with a very very long left — I think perhaps the longest wave I’ve ever ridden. Many firsts here in Brazil!

Where am I and what am I up to


I always like to know where I am on a map, so here’s a little geographic orientation for Surfer Grrrls Brazil.  I am starting my journey in Brazil on the island of Florianopolis in the State of Santa Catarina in Brazil.  Florianopolis, or Floripa as they call it here,  is the surfing capital of Brazil, and has something like 43 beaches.  No matter what the wind or swell direction, its always breaking somewhere on this island, so its a perfect spot to get my Brazilian surf mojo in order while I work on my Portuguese.  It’s also home to some of Brazil’s best surfer grrrls.  Much of the island is designated as ecological reserve areas (yay!), and there are seemingly endless possibilities for beach exploration.

The idea is to get to know people here, connect with some rad female surfers, surf a ton, create some music and videos, and get some contacts for the later stages of my journey, when I will be traveling up the coast of Brazil.  My partner in grrrl surf adventuring, Miho Aida, should be joining me at some point for that leg of it.

On a side note: upon arriving in Brazil, my computer died.   I depend on it for all my musical and video creations, so I have been a bit stymied in getting started on the multi-media aspect of things.  But I love writing, and I can do that on any old beater PC (which is what I am using now) while my sad little Apple computer travels through the very very very slow purgatory-esque system of Brazilian Apple care.    I’ve been keeping a journal of my travels, so for those who might be interested in hearing about my exciting first dozen days in Brazil “pre blog launch” and pre-camera carrying,  when I decided to just relax and soak up what I encountered around me, you can click below for the full story in the old fashioned format of the written-word.   Read the rest of this entry

Shout out to our supporters!


Its only proper that our first post is a BIG thank you to all our supporters who made this project possible.

Matt Baxter up high in Yosemite. The Baxter Award, which launched me into the Surfer Grrrls Brazil project, was founded in his memory.

First of all a huge thanks to the Matt Baxter III Memorial Fund, the Baxter family, and the Baxter Award committee for giving me the opportunity to dream this journey and for supporting me in living it out.  I encourage everyone to try this exercise that the Baxter family encourages: dream your greatest adventure.  This alone can change you!   It is an honor to be a part of Matt’s legacy and to honor his spirit through my own adventures and work.  I hope that Surfer Grrrls Brazil can ride on that same surging life energy that lived in him: crisp and clear and bright as the heights of Yosemite.

Thank you to NatureBridge and TEEM for sending me off with love.

And an ENORMOUS thank you to all of you who so generously supported Surfer Grrrls Brazil, giving it wings so it can grow into something bigger.

In these past few weeks, I feel like I have been lifted up by many hands and hearts as so many people have reached out to encourage and support this project.  I have reconnected with old friends.  I have met new ones.  And I have been deeply moved by the generosity and enthusiasm you have shown for Surfer Grrrls Brazil.  Thank you!  I must ask you just one more favor, and that is to please share this site, and the media we create here, with others who might find it inspiring.  And if you know of any other groups with whom we should share our message through live visits, please send me their information.

I’d like to send a big shout out to the following supporters:

Krista Comer

Sarah Bridger

Farhana Huq and Brown Girl Surf (holla!!!)

Molly Barry

Trish Jenkins, Jeremy Smith and Cycle Farm in Spearfish

Fang Cai

Natalie Sekowski

Amy Osborne

Doris Ober

Sarah Enders

Nancy Shea

Beverly Cherner

Rachel Loud

Pat Kennelly

Qi Feng Lin

Nancy Bruneau

Tim and Tivani Wong

Rebecca Onion

Xiaoting Hou

Sam Sadin

Mary Rogalski

Josh Cohen

Jamie Laurie

Janardhan Manickam and Ruth Schmid (thanks Mom and Dad!)

Andrey Pfening

Samir Succar

Galen Peterson

James DeGolia

Kyle Williams

Rebecca Offensend

Alvaro Redondo Brenes

Stephanie Somersille (who is awesome and who I met in the airport shuttle!)

Karen Stamieszkin

Kate Boicourt

Colleen Murphy-Dunning

Sarah Charlop-Powers

Amy Brady

Tina Ludescher-Furth

Mira Edmonds

Anna Ruth Pickett

Dan Flanagan

Anastasia Vrachnos

Jaime Carlson

Alison Bridger

Eddie Gonzalez

Kristine Deni and Richard Levandowsi

Adrian Deveny

Ari Bain

Jesse, Bri, and Lucie Langille

Kira Gagne (my amazing sister!)

Patti Moore and P Rhumpa

Todd Gartner

Ed and Linda Schmid

Emily Enderle

Bella Gordon

Dirk Steckhan

Kara DiFrancesco

Natalie Ceperley

Jackie Smith

Laura Alex Frye-Levine

Daniel Steinberg

Elizabeth Kavanagh

Tara Moberg

Tamara Gagnolet

Aimee Danch

Drs. Meera and Bonnie Srivatsa

Brandon Whitney

Michael Deni

Diane Goff

Trisha Shrum

Pahoua Lee

Kristen Graf

Meg Arenberg

Jack Yeh

Steve Abatiell (fellow Baxter award recipient!)

Wenxian Yeo

Maryam Roberts

Julia Turner and Ben Wasserstein

Gary Apter

Emily Zastrow

Mark Zumwalt

Danny O’Grady

Reece McGowen

Pete Schmidt

Luis Montoya

Elizabeth and Jerry

Tim Eakins

Alice and Jim

Cristie Ellis

Fred Strebeigh

Dave Room

Kalila Feineman

Susana Borneo Funck, Hugo Truffel, and Daniel Funck

Also a big shout out to Princeton in Asia!