Caio Teixeira is a longboarder at the forefront of Brazil’s classic surfing tradition. A surfer of considerable talent and enigmatic style both in and out of the water, Caio has also recently been invited to his first (also Brazil’s first) Vans Duct Tape Invitational, the upcoming event in Rio de Janeiro.
A humble man who is full of praise for others rather than himself, Caio’s contribution to Brazilian longboarding shouldn’t be underestimated. He is a talented shaper and passionate surfing historian, coming from a family steeped in surfing pedigree. His father has one of the largest collections of vintage boards anywhere in the world.
With the focus of the longboarding world soon to switch from Mexico and El Salvador to Brazil, I caught up with Caio to talk about the history of Brazilian longboarding and where he might fit into it.
Brazil’s surfing pedigree is well known on the short boarding side, but not as much with longboarding, what is longboarding like in Brazil, and how popular is it?
Surfing in Brazil became very popular in the mid-70s, we had excellent professional surfers at that time.
In the longboard category, big names emerged in the rise of the movement of these boards, Carlos Mundinho, Rico de Souza, Cláudio Pastor, Neco Carbone, Vitorino James, Thiola, Wady and Fuad Mansur, among other excellent surfers, participated in big championships at the time, with the participation of renowned professional surfers like Nat Young.
A younger generation, close to the 90s/2000s, we had Picuruta Salazar, Amaro Matos, Paulo Kid, Jaime Viudes, Olimpinho, Marcelo Freitas and Augusto César Saldanha.
These guys were at that time the biggest references for longboard surfing in Brazil. In the mid-2000s, we had a Brazilian professional circuit that was for a time a saddler of talents, it was the PLC, an event idealized by Rico de Souza.
Many of those who are on the rise in the sport today, went through these events.
Chloé Calmon, Jasmim Avelino, Phil Rajzman, Carlos Bahia, and Jefson Silva stood out at these events and have maintained their work to this day.
Today with the gigantic growth of social networks, cool longboard surfing has grown a lot. The aesthetics of the equipment, the plasticity of the movements and the lightness when surfing, have shown the public a new way of expressing themselves. Without those stigmas created by Hollywood movies, you can only surf big waves and huge tubes.
We are living in a nice moment of growth in the sport in general.
You are known as one of the most stylish longboarders in the world, despite seeming to surf a lot of shifting beachbreaks, does your style come naturally to you or is it something you work at?
Talking about my style and my way of surfing is very funny.
I’m a lucky guy to tell you the truth.
My father was a passionate collector of surfboards.
When I was only 8 years old, my father was starting to collect boards, today this collection is one of the largest in the world with more than 500 pieces, which are models from the 50s to the present day.
I was never interested in modern boards, I liked the old boards, I wanted to watch the movies still on VHS, see Surfer and Surfing magazine and understand who were the guys who were the biggest references for my father.
I started surfing on a longboard very young, at the age of 13 I was already taking risks with boards over 9’0”, I wanted to surf like my father.
On top of surfing you shape your own boards, how is the shaping industry in Brazil and do you have any other business interests?
I’ve always lived inside workshops and surfboard factories because my father was always renovating the old boards in the collection.
Since I was a child I had a lot of contact with this environment and inevitably the curiosity for creating my own boards came from a very early age.
I’ve been working on my brand of boards for 10 years, I’m always very aware of the market and trends, and I always try to be present at the biggest surf festivals in the world to learn and exchange with excellent professionals in our field. I also have equipment such as capes, leashes, fins, T-shirts and other accessories.
The market in Brazil is as big as our country, it is worth mentioning that in the richest regions, factories and businesses are bigger. There are excellent shapers and entrepreneurs around here.
I also develop clinics and workshops with the aim of presenting and perfecting classic surfing manoeuvrers, exchanging ideas and information about the history and culture of the sport, as well as addressing notions about equipment, among other issues that are part of everyday life in and out of water.
Brazil is such a huge country, it seems like you could spend a lifetime exploring the coast, do you still enjoy travelling abroad despite what is on offer in your own country?
I am currently answering these questions approximately 3000km away from my home. And I’m still inside Brazil even with that distance.
I am completely in love with Brazil. One of my collaborators, the Ford brand, accepted my project for us to do two really cool expeditions, one exploring to the northeast and one to the south. There are many kilometres of beaches and incredible places to be explored. Right now I’m in Pipa, home to talented surfers Miguel Ferro, Marina and Miguel Carbonell, Tunico Lopez and other good surfers.
The northeast of the country is a paradise for this type of board, long waves with warm water and a beach more beautiful than any other.
Can you talk to us about where you grew up and what life was like as a young surfer there?
My childhood was full of experimentalism and adventures outside the standards of the time. Everyone wanted to surf high-performance Kelly Slater boards. And I wanted to surf like Nuuhiwa, Nat Young and Carlos Mudinho.
The classic has always attracted me.
And in the region where I grew up, more precisely in Cabo Frio, the waves hardly exceeded 6 feet, I was always a small wave surfer.
Why did you start longboarding? Why do you continue longboarding?
I started surfing on a longboard under the influence of my father and I can’t even imagine if that hadn’t happened in my life. I surf with any type of gear, short, medium or long. But I confess that I have a very special affection for logs.
Surf a crowded perfect pointbreak or a quiet, average beach break?
I think these two options win me over. The exchange of experiences that a peak full of perfect waves with many people can provide you is very intense. And the peace that a peak with very few people in the water (with not-so-good waves) can be something transcendent.
Do you ever use a leash? Why/why not?
I use a leash on my small boards, usually, this happens when the waves go over 6/8 feet and I’m more comfortable that way.
On a longboard, as I always surf with very small waves, I’m always without. I’ve been surfing without a longboard leash since I was 13 years old, because the wave where I learned to surf was very tubular, and the use of the leash cracked and broke my boards in half. When I stopped using it, I never left.
Favourite 1960’s longboarder and why?
I think the Nuuhiwa. Seeing him surfing was really different from the others. The posture, the number of safe manoeuvrers, and the whole approach to the wave with a lot of flow.
Favourite current longboarder?
I like a lot of surfers a lot. Here in Brazil, Wolthers and Chloé (Calmon) are my biggest inspirations.
But overall, CJ and Tudor really made me see longboarding as I liked it.