Surfing communities across the world are mourning the loss of one of our own, Ricardo dos Santos. After a 24-hour battle and over 100 bags of blood, Ricardo was unable to recover from three gunshot wounds to his back and abdomen.
Ricardo was a technical and committed tube rider. He trashed any small-wave stigma about Brazilians in waves of consequence. Ricardo was recently featured on the cover of Surfer Magazine’s November issue in a breathtaking barrel. From taking Kelly Slater out in epic Teahupoo, to winning the Andy Irons Award, his legendary lines will live forever.
The details of Ricardo’s death are unclear, with different theories of what exactly happened. It appears that dos Santos was murdered by an off-duty police officer after an altercation during which dos Santos attempted to stop a group of men from openly using drugs in the street.
Social media scrolls are filled with people mourning the loss and sharing the beauty he displayed as both a person and in the water.
Kelly Slater wrote: “Beautiful morning but I was horrified to realize everyone was paddling out to Pipe to form a circle in remembrance of my friend, Ricardo Dos Santos, who passed away in the hospital after being shot three times yesterday in Brasil. Ricardo was truly one of the great barrel riders of his short time (myself and a few others learned that the hard way against him at Teahupoo a couple years back when he won the Andy Irons Award in the event. He also won the Wave Of The Winter in 2012-2013 for a crazy barrel at Pipeline and was a regular standout in any barreling or heavy conditions around the world. This was truly a senseless loss of life. It, unfortunately, brings to light the number of murders yearly in Brazil, officially documented at over 50,000 with many thousands more going unreported. Lack of education, poverty, and drugs, don’t make for a good mix and make life challenging in this country, one of the most beautiful and scariest places I’ve been. Condolences to Ricardo’s friends and family around the world. Our small community has lost another way too soon. R.I.P. RDS.”
Gabriel Medina posted a blank photograph with the message (translated): “Ricardo, you did not deserve it! Not even, ever! Why it happens to good people, I do not understand that! Good people, always helping the next, smile ear-to-ear every day. God comfort your family.”
Billabong has issued a statement remembering, “a team rider and dear friend, and an inspiration to all who knew him.”
More importantly, Ricardo was a loving brother, son, friend and grandson. When not traveling the globe in search of giant barrels, Ricardo spent time at home helping around the house and surfing with local groms. He was also a proud Brazilian who supported his local community. His stoke for his homeland could be felt even as he traveled the globe, telling stories of his time at home with close friends. While we mourn this tragedy, we must remember to celebrate and honor Ricardo’s incredible life, and hope it influences the next generation to live a life full of hard work, enthusiasm, and generosity.”
Our sincerest condolences go to Ricardo’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed. We can only hope that Andy and Ricardo are sharing perfect barrels in heaven.