Our next rider is from a city that hosted the 2016 summer olympics, it is the city of samba and carnival, a nation full of beautiful people and beaches.
The statue of christ that sits high above the city was elected one of the worlds new seven wonders, it is host to the biggest carnival in the world and it was host to the worlds biggest ever football match.
It is high on my bucket list once we come out the other side of these crazy times we find ourselves in.
My name is Clarissa Barros, I live in Rio de Janeiro Brazil and I'm 37 years old, I am a married mother of Agatha and Bernardo.
I have a doctorate in Labour and Social Policy, I graduated in history and am a teacher. I work at UERJ - State University of Rio de Janeiro, at the Faculty of Pedagogy, training teachers. I am an amateur bodyboarding athlete, currently competing in the Master category.
I love big waves!
In the 1990s, Bodyboarding was in fashion! The Brazilians did not leave the podium! Mariana Nogueira, Daniela Freitas, Stephany Pettersen were the bodyboarders of the moment! In 1998, I was 15 years old and got a yellow BZ bodyboard for my birthday, which matched my fins and lycra.
I lived in Macaé (RJ), a coastal region in the state of Rio de Janeiro and the bodyboarding movement was very strong in the city. All bodyboarders rode together and were friends! In the whole city there were only three girls riding a bodyboard wave counting me.
We faced machoism head on! Roberta Blitzer and Jessica Becker became professional and ran the World Circuit. I came to compete, but my greatest passion has always been freesurfing and big waves.
In 2000, at the age of 17, I left Macaé, went to live alone and study in RJ, where I started the History Faculty at PUC RIO. I went to college on a bike and carried my bodyboard with me, studying and surfing during college were part of my daily life.
Teachers always questioned the fact that I was a surfer in a prejudiced way, but sport was, throughout my life, the fuel to reach my goals as a woman and as a professional with great courage, determination and joy.
When I graduated from History in 2005, I met my husband. I started working hard teaching in schools, at the same time that I did my master's and doctorate. I started surfing less and started to dedicate myself to another passion: ballroom dancing, there were seven intense years of dancing bolero, samba, forró, and many dance performances.
I thought I would never surf again. I remember that I almost gave my dance teacher my BSD board and my Kpaloa duckfoot. My husband interfered at the time saying: “Cla you will want to surf! Leave the board there!”
And that's what happened! We left the South Zone of the city, and went to our home in the West Zone, where the best beaches in Rio and high waves are! I got pregnant. I had two children in a row, after the birth of my 2nd child, I started to follow through social networks the championships of the Master Bodyboard category that happened monthly in group competitions.
I was very motivated. They were athletes my age, with children, who saw fun, friendship, joviality in sports. I thought, "I'm going to sign up and run the circuit!" And in that instant, bodyboarding resurfaced in my life. Like a seed that, upon finding fertile soil, developed strong roots and grew.
In 2017, with the children at the daycare, I gained my own time.
I went back to exercising regularly and surfing. I remember the first day I surfed after years away. I arrived at Barra da Tijuca beach, the sea was big, and on the first attempt I couldn't get in. Sitting on the sand watching the waves, a film of all the places and great seas I had surfed.
I believed in m myself and I did not give up. I'll break the surf! And on the outside I surfed the wave of the set and left very happy! After this day I never stopped surfing!
That same year, I started training for the Master stage, reconciling bodyboarding, work, home and children. In the 1st Stage that I participated in Praia Brava in Arraial do Cabo (RJ) I was not able to compete, because I was with my daughter at 1 and a half years old still breastfeeding. The championship organisation had put my heat in the afternoon. It was raining, and I couldn't wait.
I thought that I would not compete again, and that the competition was not for me. In 2018 I was invited to participate in the Macanese Master Stage, in Macaé (RJ), in the city where I grew up and learned to surf. I met friends again, I had fun. It was very cool. This moment marked my return to competitions.
In RJ, while surfing during the weekend in Barra da Tijuca, I met the world champion, Soraia Rocha, in the sea. In Female Bodyboarding I have always been a fan and I was inspired by Mariana Nogueira and Soraia Rocha. We were surfing, and Soraia, smiling and very humble, came to talk to me, I couldn't believe it! She asked me to surf together, we exchanged phones, and the sea brought us together! From that moment on we became great friends and inseparable surfing partners!
Soraia motivated me to participate in competitions as a way to support women's bodyboarding.
In 2019, I competed the Rio Delas, a championship held only for women, which was part of the stage of the Brazilian Circuit.
This event brought together girls from all regions of the country, who competed in the amateur, and in the professional. In a special heat of past champions were Gica Vargas - pioneer of bodyboarding in Brazil, Isabela Nogueira and Mariana Nogueira. In this event I met all the women who inspired me when I started bodyboarding. It was unforgettable!
That same year, the Legends competed, a Master Championship organised in teams that included former professionals and amateur athletes. In a different and fun model, where athletes surf to add the best waves for the team. The group with the highest score goes to the podium, and the athletes with the highest scores are awarded individually. This is an annual event for socialising and celebrating the sport. After Legends, I competed in the women's Open in the last Stage of the Bodyboard Circuit of Recreio, and I was champion!
As a teacher and athlete I have always believed in the importance of Education and Sport as the foundation of a better society. I also believe that all this energy of love that we feel for the sport is the necessary movement to spread and boost Female Bodyboarding.
In August 2020, the Lives project called “Bate & Rebate” on Instagram, conceived jointly by me and Lyse Kitz, appeared, whose objective was to discuss the importance of Bodyboarding for women.
The project has a weekly table of interviews with amateur athletes and sports professionals in Brazil, and the table “Por onde Anda?” in order to recall the history of women's bodyboarding with the great Brazilian champions who popularised the sport worldwide. The motto of our project is: “Together we are stronger!”
About my passion for big waves...
I monitor the swells and I love to face Neptune's fury! In 2020, I went to the end of the Brazilian Big Wave Award and finished in 5th place. I was very happy with this result, as this was my first participation in an event of this size, this motivates me to focus on this category to obtain better results and who knows how to surf big waves outside Brazil. I would love to surf in Hawaii, Mexico, Indonesia and Portugal.
I have always enjoyed traveling to surf, I have traveled to Ilha Grande, Trindade, Itacaré, Fernando de Noronha, Regência and most of the beaches in the State of RJ, where I live. Brazil has incredible places and wonderful waves.
My style within the sport is classic, I consider myself an “Old School” bodyboarder. My favourite manoeuvres are: 360, inverts and tube riding. I love to combine the turns on the waves! While surfing I like to draw the waves performing as many tricks as I can.
Bodyboarding is part of my routine as a dose of joy and daily motivation. I wake up early, surf and feel ready to perform all tasks and responsibilities. Sport gives me courage, quality of life, joviality and energy to face everything that comes! Regardless of the entire trajectory, bodyboarding has always been in my life and is here to stay! I'll keep surfing until I'm really old!
Long live Bodyboarding!
Photo credits include:
Jose Carlos C. Inocêncio
Patricia barros Iadeira
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