Leopoldo Neto: The Greatest Wedge Ever Captured?

By now we’re sure you’ve seen the footage below of Leopoldo Neto dropping into this insane wedge filmed by Henrique Pinguim. With the help of the wonders of modern technology we were able to track Leopoldo down and get his personal perspective on this incredible wave.

Firstly, can you give us some background to this session?

 This day was very special, it was on 18th of june, last thursday. By the day before I remember checking the forecast and texting my friends, trying to figure out where it is going to be the best spot. The swell was about 6 to 8 feet with a southeast direction, which is good for some spots in Rio such as São Conrado, Shore and Leme, so we decided to keep in touch very early to decide it. 

In the morning I went to meet Leo Leite and we got the message that São Conrado was not that good and the offshore was good and at Leme the waves were pumping. Reaching Leme we met Henrique Pinguim who is a local and professional photographer from Leme and João Ricardo of Copacabana Posto 5, also a professional photographer. 

Watching the waves breaking I just ran to the water to surf and Pinguim had come too and was in the perfect spot. All credits to him, who has the knowledge to choose the best equipment, set the camera and bring to us the quality imaged and great positioning at a big beach break day in the water.  

Do you surf this wave often?

I am born and raised nearby Leme at Copacabana Posto 3, therefore I used to get this wave often, but currently it is not that common to break this big there, it depends on many variables such as good sand bar formation, direction, wind, tide and power which make it not that often to happen. 

Leopoldo by @gonzolenz

Can you run us through your thoughts when you were paddling into this wave?

When I saw this wave I just remember paddling strong and being aware that nobody else was going. When I noticed that nobody else wanted it, I just went, trying not to lose control and my line, using my legs as much as possible to make it. 

Can you remember the actual wave, or is it all a blur of adrenaline?

For sure, it was an intense adrenaline, I was just thinking I gotta make it no matter what. 

Did you think at any point you weren’t going to make that wave?

Never thought about not making it, I kept my focus on not let the wave push me and control the speed. 

What happened on the rest of the wave after the footage stopped ?

I just saw making it and then the wave just closeout, it was very quick in a glimpse I was under the water. 

Image @Henrique Pinguim

How would you describe the enthusiasm for bodyboarding in your area? 

I see passion in every single bodyboarder’s heart in Brazil, it is not a glamorous sport in Rio, I am very glad to be able to reach out to people with this video and show all how bodyboarding is impressive, wonderful and powerful. Changing the way of perception from people who don’t know as much about the sport and inspiring people and friends through it. 

We know that bodyboarding was a huge sport in Brazil, has the rise of Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Felipe Toledo to dominance in the surfing world had an impact on the amount of people bodyboarding versus surfing in Brazil?

For sure it had a huge impact in surf in general, surf brands, big companies supporting and it is beautiful to see them on ads and the growth on surf lifestyle in Brazil, but in terms of bodyboarding, sadly it still the same low investment, not much support and much less impact for professional bodyboarders. Hopefully the future of bodyboarding is innovative and pursues to thrive by bodyboarders’ passion. 

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