A revolution in Rocinha: Another way out for the Rio’s favela kids

Gab Medina is a god. His 2014 WSL world title proved to the world that a Brazilian could be world champ.

Medina, Toledo, de Souza and Lima maybe the vanguard of the Brazilian storm but a second front is brewing in the hills above Rio.

They voraciously tear up the sports world from soccer to surfing

The Brazilians have always been hungry. They voraciously tear up the sports world from soccer to surfing but Medina’s ascension lit the touch paper for everyone and in the poorest favelas in Rio a revolution is taking place.

The shanty towns that cling to the hills around Rio are notoriously savage, particularly for children. Those who survive have little hope of even the most basic quality of life but surfing is offering some who want it a lifeline and an avenue out of the brutality of favela life.

Surf Association of Rocinha (ASR) and the favela surfing community harness the beautifully boundless energy of youth and feed it in positive directions. And the sea is the perfect arena for these stoke vibes.

‘ASR is a family’ Marcio Pereira da Silva says. ‘It breaks down barriers’.

The crew get together to fix boards, surf and enter contests. They even get English classes. If they weren’t surfing? ‘I’d be lost in life’  says Wesley. ‘I’d be out there in the favela doing stupid shit’.

Watch Wesley and the rest of the crew find their place in the world and the waters in this beautiful crafted National Geographic short.

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