See the ocean open up and attempt to swallow Brazilian big-wave surfer.
There are rock jumps and there are rock jumps, wouldn’t y’say? Some require a sort of heroism, a fifty-metre run across a bare rock shelf as sets bear down, while others aren’t much more than a skip-skip-jump.
Snapper Rocks is unsympathetic and liable to humiliate. A few of those joints in Chile will entangle you with gigantic rock formations and collapse your nervous system.
And then there’s something like this, starring the Brazilian surfer Daniel Rangel. Now Dan, who is thirty four years old, ain’t no kook. He’s been surfing competitively since he was nine, lived on Oahu’s North Shore for ten years, tries to self-immolate at big Teahupoo every summer and currently lives on Kauai.
For kicks, he surfs a joint called Gardenal Slab, two clicks off Barra da Tijuca in Rio, and which he says is “the most dangerous wave in Brazil, if not one of the most dangerous in the world. Everyone who knows the place knows this.”
So when you see Dan in a situation of utter despair, a rock jump where, for a moment the ocean opens up and tries to swallow him, you know it’s sorta treacherous. This rock jump is at a slab called, appropriately enough, Shock near the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi, Rio.
Was Dan worried when the ocean swallowed him whole?
“I was super embarrassed more than worried,” he says. “There were about 150 people watching and filming the rocks. So I was thinking to myself, what a kook move. Just trying to keep the calm face on and paddle away like nothing happened. But, yeah, when I realised I fucked up the timing I was pretty worried. Right after that, I borrowed my friend’s board ’cause mine was all fucked with no fins and caught this wave.”
Which popped Dan’s shoulder.
“I was pretty pissed,” he says. “Popped it back in and in the heat of the moment caught another one half an hour later. After that I decided to go in ’cause I was in extreme pain.”