My last day in Rocinha was my best yet. To start out the day with a bang, I had a surf lesson with the former world tour surfer and Brazilian women’s champion, Andrea Lopes. You can imagine how excited I was for this!
To make it even better, one of the older girls from the surf school Bia had asked to come with me to meet Andrea and surf with her. I was really excited that not just me, but also Bia too, was going to meet a great role model.
Andrea was super cool and fun and friendly, and I learned so much from her in one lesson that I wish I could have stayed and had 5 more. She filmed me a lot, and also surfed with me for a little while. She showed me just a couple times how to get into a better position for waves coming up, and somehow, whatever she did really clicked, and I felt like I finally understood a positioning concept that I had been trying to get for a long time. She pushed me hard and I was exhausted, and I thought our lesson was done when she called me out of the water to do a summary of the things I needed to work on, and then she said, ok 20 more minutes of
going hard. And I though, oh gosh, this is going to be tough. And then she said, you shouldn’t give 100 %, and I thought, oh phew, that’s good, I am really tired. And then she said, you should give 110%. Ha!! So I sucked it up, and went out, and surfed real hard for 20 minutes, and totally put my new positioning skills to work and caught a couple waves just perfect and a bunchmore less perfectly. Yay!!
After my surf lesson, I had a party on the beach with the kids from the surf school. We skimboarded and surfed and played in the white water and polished off many bags of candy and cookies. The surf was too big for the younger kids to surf, but I went in with Bocão. The waves looked exactly like they did on the Gabriel Medina day, and in an awesome marker of my progress, I did not feel afraid at all, and got myself into perfect position to catch 3 really nice
big rights. On the last one, which was the biggest and longest, the peanut gallery of local surf guys standing at the sea wall drinking beers cheered for me. I thought that Andrea Lopes would be proud.
That night was music class at the surf school, and Delão helped the kids write their own rap verses. The kids at the school really like this one hook of one of my surfing raps, which starts “Put your hands up.” For the past few weeks, when I see the kids on the streets in Rocinha or walking to the beach, they will start rapping “Put your hands up!” The only problem is that since the rest of the hook is in English, they have a hard time saying it. So tonight, Delão helped the kids write their own verses in Portuguese about their surfing life in Rocinha and we recorded it as a group. So fun! I rewrote my own verses to be about Rocinha, and I can’t wait to put it all together for
a music video!
After music class was my last samba rehearsal with the Rocinha Samba School. My friends came down to the beach and danced with me, and afterwards we had drinks and slacklined by my favorite beach kiosk in front of the surfing break.
Thank you Rocinha for an amazing stay. It hurts to leave, but this neighborhood will always hold a little piece of my heart, and I know I will come back here someday. Thanks especially to Bocão and the Rocinha Surf School for making me feel so welcome.