The new year brought tragedy to the surfing community when 24-year-old professional surfer, Ricardo dos Santos, was allegedly shot by an off-duty police officer in front of his family home in the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina. CNN affiliate Record News reported the officer and dos Santos were arguing, and the altercation ended in the off-duty officer shooting three bullets in dos Santos’ chest. Though doctors performed four surgeries on dos Santos but were unable to stop the bleeding. He passed away on Jan. 20.
Luke Shum, a sophomore majoring in accounting and an avid North Shore surfer from California, said, “He was a role model for me because he was the anomaly. No one expected him to succeed because of where he came from, and then out of the wood works comes Ricardo, consistently riding the craziest tube.”
According to witness reports, the off-duty officer was identified as Luis Paulo Mota Brentano. Brentano has been arrested but claims he shot dos Santos in self-defense, according to Record News.
“He represented all of us very well and was very well recognized for his hard work and also was a very good person,” said Gabriel Medina, Brazil’s first surfing world champion. “There are certain things that we do not understand.”
Surfer Magazine praised dos Santos as “a fearless, world-class tuberider” who “captured the surf world’s attention” at the 2012 Billabong Pro event in Tahiti, for which he took home the Andy Irons Forever Inspiration Award. Dos Santos also broke Kelly Slater’s 11-time winning streak when he won world champion in 2012. In addition, dos Santos won the Surfline Wave of the Winter for riding an “incredibly deep, blue, massive pipeline tube.”
Slater and other surfers in Hawaii paddled out to form a circle in tribute of the late dos Santos this past week. Slater later wrote on his Instagram, “Condolences to Ricardo’s friends and family around the world. Our small community has lost another way too soon.”
Though there have been conflicting reports about the intention of the police officer in the altercation and whether or not dos Santos wielded a weapon, the surf champion will be missed.
When it comes to mourning the loss of such great talent, Paul Kiering, a junior majoring in psychology from the Big Island of Hawaii, said it best: “The surf community shares a bond to each other as strong as the bond we feel to every wave we ride. I never knew Ricardo dos Santos personally, but I know that his legacy will carry on.”
Uploaded Jan. 29 2015