Shining a spotlight on Brazilian supergrom Socrates Santana.
Above: The P5 connection – Socrates with his idol/mentor/sponsor and six-time World Champ, Guilherme Tamega. Photo: Flavio Brito
Written by Steve “Action” Jackson (read more from the author here)
During the 2014 Itacoatiara Pro in Brazil a small group of next generation bodyboarders made a deep run through the competition that caught the attention of not only veteran riders like nine-time World Champion Mike Stewart, but APB Tour General Manager Alex Leon as well. One of these young riders was Brazilian Supergrom Socrates Santana. Only 15 years old at the time, “Doutorzinho” (“Little Doctor”) as he’s known, advanced all the way through to Round Six before being eliminated by his idol and mentor, six-time World Champion Guilherme Tâmega, and Brazilian veteran Eder Luciano. The 9.0 that Socrates scored on the way to a Round Five heat win would stand as one of the top 10 scoring waves of the entire event.
Above: Socrates flips out close to home. Photo: Flavio Brito
To gain a better understanding of Socrates Santana, you need to look at where he comes from. Living in Favela Pavão-Pavãozinho, overlooking Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, his father, Luciano Santana, passed away when Socrates was still very young, leaving behind a wife and three sons. Doutorzinho is the youngest of the three brothers (Felipe is the oldest, with Igor in the middle). Felipe runs the family business, Barraca Dr. Socrates, on the beach in Copacabana near Posto 5 where they sell cold drinks and rent beach chairs and umbrellas. When Socrates is not in school or bodyboarding, he is helping at the barraca.
Above: The family business – Barraca Dr. Socrates at Copacabana – where Socrates works when he’s not at school or on the boog. Photo: Flavio Brito
Doutorzinho began bodyboarding at age seven, and quickly became a recognisable face out in the water at Guilherme Tâmega’s home break of Posto 5 in Copacabana. P5, as the locals call it, is a tricky wave that varies in form, depending on the size and direction of any given swell. It can range from small and punchy beachbreak to thick mutant closeout to reeling perfection similar to Puerto Escondido. Tâmega has even gone so far as to say, in the past, “If you can learn to ride Posto 5, you can ride any wave in the world.” Given that kind of training ground, it’s no great surprise that Socrates was able to develop his skills at such a young age. His waveriding abilities progressed quickly coming up through the EBC (Escola de Bodyboard de Copacabana), a bodyboarding school founded by Guilherme Tâmega and Brazilian promoter Flavio Brito back in 2003. Local talents like Francirley Ferreira and Diego Roberto took Socrates under their wing and served as bodyboarding mentors, helping him to develop his competitive abilities through training with the P5 bodyboarding team.
Above: Driving hard at P5. Photo: Flavio Brito
It did not take long for Doutorzinho to start acquiring competitive results, making finals appearance and winning events by the time he was 10 years old. By 2012, at the age of 13, Socrates became Sub-14 Champion of Circuito Carioca, the Rio city tour. He would claim another Circuito Carioca tour championship the following year, along with a UBCS regional tour Sub-16 title and the first of two CBRASB Sub-16 Brazilian national titles. In December 2014, just a couple of weeks after his 16th birthday, Socrates traveled to Iquique, Chile for his first international competition outside of his home country. As a member of Team Brazil, Doutorzinho competed at the ISA World Bodyboard Championship, where he won all three of his heats on his way to the U18 Boys Final and came away with the Bronze medal. He, also, scored a second Bronze medal as part of Team Brazil in the Aloha Cup Challenge.
Above: Socrates inverts en route to a strong finish at the 2014 Itacoatiara Pro. Photo: Wonderland Prod.
Now, the 16-year-old Brazilian Supergrom is looking at a busy year ahead. When discussing his plans for 2015, Socrates emphasized the importance of maintaining his good grades in school, and his desire to start taking English lessons this year. As for his bodyboarding plans, he said, “I want to compete on the national and state circuits and would like to return to the ISA World Bodyboard Championship to fight for the Gold medal. I might participate on some pro junior events of the APB World Tour.” On top of all that, there are plans in the works for Doutorzinho to spend the 2015/16 North Shore season with Guilherme Tâmega, his sponsor through GT Boards. As for long-term plans, Socrates thought quietly for a while about this question before responding, “After I finish my studies I dream of living outside Brazil for a while. I want to learn different cultures and surf new kinds of waves. There is a lot of talent in the favela. What we need is more support. I want to continue to be seen as an example for them. I’ll continue to work hard to keep the dream alive of being world champion.”
Above: Socrates and his two Bronze medals from the 2014 ISA World Bodyboard Champs. Photo: Flavio Brito
Name: Socrates Santana
Nickname: Doutorzinho (“Little Doctor”)
DOB: 22 November 1998
Number of Years Bodyboarding: 9
Favorite Maneuver: Backflip
Favorite Waves: Posto 5 (home break), São Conrado, Joatinga, Itacoatiara
Bodyboarding Idol: Guilherme Tâmega
Hobbies: Flying Kites
Best Competitive Results: 2014 ISA WBC U18 Boys Bronze Medalist, 2014 ISA WBC Aloha Cup Challenge Team Brazil Bronze Medalist, 2x CBRASB Sub-16 Brazilian National Champion (2013, 2014), 2013 UBCS Regional Tour Sub-16 Champion, 2013 Circuito Carioca Sub-16 Champion, 2012 Circuito Carioca Sub-14 Champion
Above: The view of Copacabana from the top of Favela Pavão-Pavãonzinho. The sheer bodyboarding talent in this part of the world is frightening. Photo: Flavio Brito