Like, holy moly, it's as if The Right or even shades of Teahupoo have arrived in Brazil?! Last week, we brought you this carnage from Rio's infamous slab Shock. Much 'wow' and 'oh no' and 'yikes' moments. But this is something else entirely – just the next beach over from Shock is Mother Island and if it's not a moniker for the mother of all hell slabs, then it should be, and we're fully digging it.
This session went down towards the tail end of last week, while the eyes of the surfing world were glued to Mexico and Puerto Escondido. And probably like you, the first thing we thought was 'yeah, this is more from Shock'. “Shock is more like a random pile of rocks that gets shallow and deep and then shallow again, while Ilha da Mãe (Mother Island, as pictured here) is an actual island that rises steeply from deep water,” said surfer Ziul Andueza, course correcting that thinking.
The last time Mother Island looked like this was around 10-years-ago, we're told. It is a complex and fickle number. And If the images are anything to go by, this thing's either going to nuzzle you neatly into the safety of the channel, or eat your soul. “Our group was made almost entirely of locals Gabriel Sampaio, Ziul Andueza, Pedro Menezes, Paulo DIego Imbica, Angelo Bittar, Beg Rosemberg, Dudu Pedra (monster local bodyboarder), Daniel Rodrigues, Pericles, Guido the big wave rider Pedro Calado and many more,” says photographer Matheus Couto.
“The barrel itself is so much cleaner at Ilha da Mãe than Shock. It has two well-defined sections. The first section is insanely shallow, to the point that you might actually lose your fins. And will definitely hit the rocks if you wipeout," added Ziul.
“The second is a perfect Indo-like barrel, but, like, to surf that part you've got to take a Chopes-style drop [laughs]. It's terrifying, but we've barely had anyone hit the rocks on the bigger days, I don't know why. Though I was one of the few chosen few to hit it. Cracked my hip (all good though). Well, during this session we had eight different people hit the floor, some people more than once.”
“The biggest difficulty in surfing Mother Island is to hit the line between the first reef and the second,” said Gabriel Sampaio when asked about the nuance of surfing here. “Because it is very shallow at the beginning, we need to place the nose of the board in a straight line, and then get speed for the second part o get a longer tube. That was, by far, our biggest challenge.”
“It's a special wave and it's rare to break,” said Pedro Menezes. “I got the wave of my life at the climax of the swell, around the second session on Thursday last week.
“I was driving the ski for Matheus and waiting for the best moment to jump in the water and get a wave. I knew this would be the biggest moment of the swell and when I saw the waves, I jumped into the water and Diego Imbica towed me into a huge and perfect right.
“It was a felling that I'll never forget, the sun was going down and the wave turned golden. It was a huge barrel and I stood tall and just enjoyed the moment.”
“By the end of dusk, the last wave ridden was by me,” Ziul said. “And it was definitely the biggest barrel I've ever pulled into in my life. It's a day that we'll never forget.”