Memories of the RIO PRO

Words by SANDY ORDILLE

This image is shot from the lanai of our room in The Rio Sheraton Hotel in 1977. I was traveling with everyone on Randy Rarrick's International Pro Surfer tour in the inaugural years. We had just finished covering the coast of South Africa, which included a  pro contest in Durban called The Gunston 500. The next contest was slated to run in Rio de Janeiro during June/July and we were all looking forward to surfing warmer water and meeting up with friends who would join us there for the next leg of the Pro Tour. There had been some more media coverage in print magazines and surf film from the Pro Tour ventures in South Africa. The IPS was growing as a result of this media coverage and from the non stop effort that Randy Rarrick and Fred Hemmings were put into it. They were forging a new path for surfing that would forever change the way not only the general public looked at surfing but, also, how surfers viewed surfing as well.  The movement was gaining momentum and those of us on Tour began to sense that we were a part of something that would forever change the little beach towns and Burroughs that had raised us. It was an exciting time to be on Tour and what we lacked in financial acquisition we gained in unique perspective as it became clear that we were all a part of a new age for surfing. The welcome received when we hit Rio was spectacular as it was aligned with some sort of Martigraue that had been embedded in Rio cultural history since antiquity. Brazil was a completely different destination then South Africa and the change included a few more left hand breaks on the menu. The right points and reefs had been stellar in South Africa but full length wetsuits and worn out booties were shipped home to the States or, allocated to well deserving locals who had shared their favorite surf spots with the ever growing entourage of the IPS.

Always ALOHA!