The Return to Canoa Quebrada – Hit and Miss!

Beautiful beach at Canoa Quebrada

Beautiful beach at Canoa Quebrada

If you have done some traveling; I think you will get this post. That is because sadly sometimes your very enjoyment of something will eventually lead to the downfall of the very thing you were enamored with.

For 5 years, I have been visiting Canoa Quebrada in Ceara state in Brazil. Not even just one time a year – several times! Our favorite restaurant is on Main Street and we have enjoyed staying at several fine pousadas.

So what changed it on this trip you ask? Well, let me give you the 411!

Some Background

Stores on Broadway

Stores on Broadway

Canoa has always been a tourist town. So you expect some of the downfalls of a town based upon tourism. However, in the past the climate seemed tolerable. Within the past year or so, the changes have ramped up quickly.

Like any tourist area, there will always be people coming in to cash in on the tourists. This has lead to the expansion of the town itself. Our pousada had a friendly atmosphere but it was far from Broadway and we had to drive into town which we have never done before. The scary thing is that construction could be seen in the distance meaning more and more growth.

Our pousada was at the end of civilization.

Our pousada was at the end of civilization.

Building and building.

Building and building.

Life at the Beach!

To me, you visit the beach to relax. I love sitting at the table, eating some crabs and going for a swim. I am not crazy about telling a vendor every 5 minutes that I do not want a fine painting or some cheap sunglasses. There hardly seems to be a break in the assault and when it does happen, it is because they are assembling a large group to sweep through the tourists like a swarm of bees.

You can also meet another annoying person. He would be the toll collector of a public parking area. Instead of doing something more worthy such as selling an actual product; this local wino spends his day flagging in cars to spots that they can pull into themselves. The man also says that he is watching the cars but any gang of 10 year old kids could quickly over power him.

The Other Side

On my first draft of this post, I basically just spilled out all of the negatives about Canoa Quebrada. I then decided to just really think about the entire aspect of the town from the perspective of someone has not spent 5 years there.

Many privately owned restaurants line the main strip. Great food and atmosphere!

Many privately owned restaurants line the main strip. Great food and atmosphere!

The town still has wonderful restaurants to eat in and a good atmosphere. If you avoid the barracas and find a nice quiet area, I am sure you can enjoy the beach. The beach is beautiful and scenic and the famous sand dunes are still intact amazingly since they are assaulted daily by dune buggies riding tourists around.

This is why one comes to Canoa Quebrada!

This is why one comes to Canoa Quebrada!

Moving onwards!

For my next series of non-surfing related articles, I am going to pass along some new places that we found in Ceara that are worthy of praise.

We found 2 pousadas that are opposites in some respects yet both focus on creating a great experience. These two made a great trip excellent!

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Eric Geiselman has Lots of Friends!

I always enjoy posting vids and adding my thoughts about the subject, the break, or the performance. This video is no exception.

The star is Eric Geiselman. Eric is an excellent surfer with a progressive bag of tricks. He seems to fare reasonably well in contests too.

For whatever reason, our area seems to a bad trend. We have excellent surfers but they never seem to reach the pedestal they deserve. In the long run, you tend to see the Big Fish in the Small Pond mentality set in.

Instead of grinding it out and trying to get into the WCT, the local pros become heroes at winning the small local pro contests.

Beyond Eric and his obvious talent, when you watch the video you will begin to see brown shapes in the water during the drone shots. Those folks are our famous sharks. They litter the lineup like giant toothy piles of seaweed.

So what it is like surfing with sharks all over the place?

Well, you always have to be careful. I mean, they are sharks! And it can be offsetting as well. You are concentrating on surfing and something pops up in front of you and it throws you off. But you get used to it the best you probably can.

For how many sharks migrate to the inlet, it would seem like it would be a blood bath ala some movie from the Sci-Fy Channel. Oddly enough, it does not seem to work out that way. However, the surf will pick up and the water will become murky and the overly excited sharks will bite someone on the foot. You know this. So you try not to do like the other surfers do like walk around in the break or not immediately get back on your board.

So enjoy and please do not adopt our nonchalant attitude if you live in Santa Cruz or Africa!

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The Zoo

I left my home zoo to visit my old zoo and I should have probably stayed at home.

Here is a vid from the real zoo, New Smyrna Beach which is right across the inlet and has a 20 to 1 shark ratio over Ponce Inlet.

Video by Patrick Wieland. Surfers include the Geiselmans, Aaron Cormican, and Eros Exorhou, who is an upcoming talent from Ponce.

Big ups to Patrick for entering the water this time of year!

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Noise to Note! #62

This is a song of wonders…Maybe even more than a Barry White song.

Book of Love – Modigliani

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Add This to the List!

Pre-swell madness!!! Photo from JT Holt.

Pre-swell madness!!! Photo from JT Holt.


Yesterday was an interesting day.

If you judge from the above picture, you can see that most of (or maybe the majority of) the surfers in Florida have seemingly called into work, skipped birthdays and anniversaries, and missed the birth of their children in a foolish pursuit of slightly above average waves. This is a frame grab of the people waiting for the swell to fill in.

If this was a cold front swell in November and the waves were ten times better; the crowd would still have been cut in less than half. The main reason they drive out in droves is the fact that the swell has been generated by a hurricane, it is on the news, and they then remember they have a yellowed surfboard collecting dust in the garage.

I have not surfed in 23 years…Who cares! This is a hurricane swell! Where is my old G&S twin fin!

Fools Gold

I arrived very early and the more popular spots were full by 8:30 a.m. I kept heading north. Then I arrived (along with cars pulling in) to a popular spot that for some reason was skipped by the masses…for now.

I was ready. I paddled out. A few waves came my way but guys took off and made it a short distance only to get clobbered. This happened again. And again. So I paddled around some more. More came out. Then I was in the spot.

Paddling. Paddling. Eying down the line I could see the shaky people paddling out. Then one guy cuts to the left up underneath me. Abort! Abort!

So my day was spent with me riding and then having to avoid the guys on the longboards who abandoned ship to avoid the crushing power of the chest high monster. This left their boards twisting back and forth like tethered missiles looking to hit anything in their range.


My biggest regret was that I just did not get out after 40 minutes and go some place else. I could have found some spot. Even 10 goof balls would have been better than 50. Instead, I kept up hope that it would change and get better. After 4 hours, I was beat and even if I drove up to an empty spot; I would have been to tired to enjoy it anyway.

Lesson learned.

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Noise to Note! #61

There is no progress.

Going straight will get you nowhere.

There is no progress – Evolution killed it all.

I found my place in nowhere.

Green Day. Brain Stew/Jaded.

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Understanding Your Business and a Bar of Wax.

The wave that I could not enjoy.

The wave that I could not enjoy.


A few weeks back, I arrived back in Florida from a trip to Ceara, Brazil. I have been a bit slow to get myself back into the writing game which is not a good thing. During my hiatus, I have been thinking of what to write about (and also taking in a few surf contests as well.) and which story is more important.

This event was kind of profound to me in a few ways.

  1. I was able to see a business fail in a profound way.
  2. I could see how confusing I must be to a retailer in the business of surf products.

The Trip to Lagoinha

We discovered a wonderful new place. It is a little town called Lagoinha and the people were friendly and the place we stayed at was very accommodating.  Opening the window of our pousada, there was a wonderful view of a nice little right handed point break. I did not have my board and I was frothing!

So the next day, we took a long walk to the beach to relax and eat. Between one of the barracas was a small building and a guy was renting surf boards. I decided to rent one to try to catch some waves. The boards were by no means great but just cruising down the line would have made me happy.

So the guy is trying to steer me to ride some old beat up funshape. Over and over, I tell the guy that I like to do tricks and that I ride a short fish.

Why not ride this one…the funshape!

I was a bit frustrated.

Finally I grabbed a beat up 6 foot 4 inch board. I scanned it…it looked off but some wax on it would be good enough to get the session started.

The wax?

A blank stare.

Do you have wax?

You do not need wax for the board. It has a pad.

You need wax buddy. Your feet do not just stay on the pad.

No wax.

So thus began an hour of slipping feet and hands. I was livid.

When I came in and gave the board back with some salty language; my fiance said to calm down because these people are not big on surfing and they do not know any better.

I saw this as a huge failure on the part of this rental shop because they did not understand the concept of what the service was they were even trying to provide. Worse, they were potentially putting the customer in a position that could even cause bodily harm if they happened to hit the board wrong.

Home, Sweet Home!

When I returned to Florida, a good swell was already on the way down. I drove out to Ponce Inlet and the full moon was causing the waves to break close to shore. The line up was occupied by a few older gentleman on longboards.

As I walked out, I could see their disapproval of my choice of surfboards.

How is this middle aged guy going to ride this fat shorebreak on such a miniscule board?

And to the surprise of the others, off I went!


So looking back, I could see how the owner made a second mistake. The customer was plainly telling him what he needed but the owner wanted to only hear his side.

Thus he screwed up twice with me and the service will not be used again.

When I came home, I also saw a new business for surfers that was freshly created. A vending machine to distribute wax after hours.

When there is a problem; thankfully there is someone waiting in the wings to offer a solution.

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