by Michelle Michalak August 21, 2017

Slyde recently connected with Steve Cummings aka JacuzziSurfer prior to his epic trip to Rio De Janiero for the Bodysurfing World Cup.

He spent the week in Brazil live streaming the event, and sharing the bodysurfing stoke virtually with everyone across the globe.   We couldn't wait to hear about Steve's trip, he shares all the fun details below...

Welcome back, everybody. It's your favorite YouTuber, JacuzziSurfer.  I made it back from Brazil. I didn't die, but I did get home and I got really frickin' sick.  I just wanted to say thanks to Slyde for making this trip possible. Slyde's asked me to do an event recap for the Itacoa Legends Bodysurfing World Cup, which is what I was doing out in Brazil.

Was this your first trip to Rio, and what inspired this particular trip?

Yeah, it was my first time to Rio. It was my first time to Brazil. What inspired this trip? Me and my friend Mark Drewelow.

We've traveled around, done a bunch of cool trips, even went to Nazare Portugal. We saw an opportunity to go to Brazil. We have a bunch of friends that live down there. It's the first Bodysurfing World Cup, and we thought it was a really great way to bring attention to bodysurfing. 

What were the weather, water, and wave conditions like at the event?

The weather was perfect. The water was super warm too, I think it was like 70 degrees. It was kinda funny because all the Brazilians were saying how cold it was, but coming from California, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I need to just go and trunk it. Forget a wetsuit, this is perfect out here.'

The wave conditions, this time of the year, out in Itacoatiara, which is where the event was held, the waves were supposed to be massive. The qualifications day was pretty good. I'd give it a solid like 6 out of 10. It had good shape, but the size wasn't there, which was a good thing, because there were so many competitors.  When you have gigantic waves, it kinda scares people away.

They were good size waves because everybody participated. Nobody chickened out. Last year, some of the waves were just too big and a lot people didn't participate because, I don't know, they didn't wanna die. During the finals day, it was a little bit crumbly, but, I mean, everybody still had a great time.

Brazilians are known for their vibrant, connected community. Does the same go for bodysurfing out there? What's the vibe like?

Yes. The bodysurfing community is a really tight pack. Everybody seems to know everybody, and there was groups from all over Brazil that showed up. I mean, Sao Paulo had a group. P5 had some people representing. Really good vibes, nobody was down on anything.

I mean, the waves were kinda mushy at points, but you never heard that from anybody, so that was kinda nice. Everyone was super stoked to be there. I mean, even if they didn't win, you never saw anybody getting all grouchy about not winning their heat, or not proceeding on, it was just like, 'Okay, well, I'm gonna go and surf down here at this other break that's, like, 200 yards away, so see you guys.'

I had a lot people offer to drive me around town and go and sight see, or a lot people were like, 'Hey, come stay at my house, you know, I got rooms. This is great, you know, welcome to Brazil.' Everybody's so welcoming. It was a big family out there. Really cool. Love it.

How popular is handboarding down there? How did the handboarding heat go down, how many contestants were there, men versus women?

Yeah, handboarding's pretty big down there. There's entire handboarding heats, men and women. There was handboards, all shapes and sizes, that you can possibly imagine. There was guys that had little miniature surfboards, and we were kinda laughing about the whole thing, but we saw 'em out there in the waves and they're absolutely ripping with them.

I think handboarding's gonna have a big impact in Brazil, and people have a good time handboarding down there, so it's all good.  I would say handboarding is extremely popular in Brazil.

Tell us three highlights from the trip.

The people, hands down, the highlight of the trip. The Sawaya family. Lucas, the guy that put the whole thing together, his mom and dad were there, and they were just so eager to help. I mean, Lucas is a natural producer. The guy did a killer job putting this whole event together. And his mom and dad were out there,  we had technical issues qualification day, and then we had a couple on the finals day ,but they pretty much got worked out the first day.

Man, they were just Johnny-on-the-spot when it came to doing repairs, making sure everybody was happy, bringing lunch to everybody. I mean, I can't say enough good things about those guys. The wholeSawaya family is just...they're on another level. 

The competitors were incredible. They're so welcoming, I felt like a celebrity when I was down there. It wasn't because, you know, I'm JacuzziSurfer, the incredible YouTuber that I am, it was that they did it with everybody. They were that welcoming with anyone.

They didn't discriminate. Another highlight would be the countryside out there. It's amazing. It literally Yosemite, Hawaii, and Tijuana all had a baby and it's Itacoatiara. It's Rio de Janeiro. It's incredible. I highly recommend people to go out there and see it for yourself. There's nowhere else like it on the planet.

Another highlight is just the diversity of waves that are out there. You can go to Leblon and there's a giant wave right there. You can go to P5 and there's this little corner, and you just go like another hundred yards down the beach, and there's another break. You'll never get tired of surfing out there. 

What are two tips you would give someone traveling to Brazil for the first time?

First off, if you're a U.S. citizen, make sure you get your visa well in advance. Literally, the wait period to get a visa for Brazil for U.S. citizens is about 30 days.

Another tip would be make sure you keep your head on a swivel out there. It's not the safest place in the world. There's a lot of crime that goes down in Brazil, in general, not just where I went. I would try to go with a lot people. Safety in numbers. Their government is having some issues. Do some research on where you're going, where you're staying, how you're gonna get there. You know, just keep in mind that you're in a different part of the world and, you know, keep your eyes open. 

Watch the funny video version of this blog below 

view more adventurs from JacuzziSurfer →

Michelle Michalak
Michelle Michalak

Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.


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