Rio isn’t only well known for the Samba, Carnival and beautiful women. For the water sports lover, Rio is a great place to surf along the beaches of Ipanema, Leblon, Arpoador and West zone beaches. Surfing fits in well with the city’s beach culture, where it is a common sight to see people with surf boards on the streets. The city may not have the best waves but the spirited attitude of the locals that love surfing make up for it.

Best Time to Surf

Weekends at all the popular beaches are extremely packed with surfers, which makes it impossible to get a shot at the best waves. However, that does not deter beginners as well as veterans from hitting the waves. For the rookies, there are plenty of surfing schools to be found all over Rio’s shoreline. June to September is the best time for surfing since the winter months are much cooler and there is plenty of room on the waves. During summer, from December to March, the beaches are full and surfers have to be more careful about hitting unsuspecting beach-goers.

Hitting the Waves

Arpoador Beach in Zona Sul, the southern end of Rio, is a surfer’s paradise with consistent waves reaching up to 3 meters (10 feet). Surfing is allowed at night since there are a number of artificial lights fitted along rocks. However, it is prudent to have a local guide along during the night. Ipanema and Leblon are good for surfing on windy days when the waves are stronger. Copacabana isn’t a hot place for surfing since waves are barely bigger than 1 meter.

Zona Oeste for Professional Surfers

While Zona Sul may be packed with visitors looking for a good spot to surf, the locals recommend Zona Oeste, the east side of Rio, at beaches such as Praia da Barra, Grumari and Prainha. Apart from surfing schools, a number of private instructors offer surfing lessons to visitors.