About Prainha

Prainha ("Little Beach") is the center of serious surfing in Rio de Janeiro. At the far end of Barra and around two headlands the road will drop you into a small cove-like beach surrounded by high hills covered in tropical jungle. It's a beautiful beach and it picks up the most swell of anywhere around. Even on the flattest days you can find decent surf at Prainha, and it can be good to epic on various swells. The downside is that it is a 45-minute to an hour drive from Ipanema, or worse if it's a hot weekend.

There are several peaks along the beach, all having their day. The paddle out can be a bit tough, as the waves break on outer sandbars and reform. The crowd can be tough but not always, and the surroundings are picturesque. The most consistent spot on the coast, and a great place to surf and hang out.

Source: Prainha Surf Guide

Ability Level

All Abilities

Beg Int Adv

All levels -- Depends on size of course.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Competitive to serious. Could be aggro if it's going off. Be cool and low-key.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Weekends can be packed; weekdays are not so bad.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Very consistent. Holds bigger swells and also maximizes smaller swells (except from the SW). Furthermore, it is better protected from the prevailing winds.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Usually an easy paddle, even if it is not short. Can be long and hard on bigger days.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Fairly clean for the most part.

Additional Information


Losing your board next to the rocks in both corners of the beach can be dangerous. Localism on classic days, especially next to the corners.


Easy and safe and pretty.

Bring Your




Best Season

Fall and winter are best, but breaks year-round.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos