Article courtesy of Mimi LaMontagnees | May 18, 2015 | Surfing Life | Shared as educational material
This morning Surfing Life woke up to Filipe Toledo and Courtney Conlogue winning the 2015 Oi Rio Pro and a bunch of photos from what was, without a doubt, the most crowded beach in the world. Which was awesome! But a few hours later, it turned a bit sour.
Before the event started we ran a story on the pollution at Sao Conrado, the WSL’s original backup site that had to be cancelled, due to the vast quantities of raw sewage runoff. In the article a specialist said that there was a high chance of contamination in the water at Barra da Tijuca as well, especially on low tide, and that safety was in no way guaranteed.
Turns out, he was right.
“This is disgusting!” read a post on a CT surfer’s Facebook page. “There was so much hype over the #OiRioPro but most people don’t know that we had to go and surf the contest in the water at Barra da Tijuca that contains raw sewage. I became sick today but so many of the other athletes became sick during the event. Please share to raise more awareness!”
So we decided it would be best to give the surfer a call, and find out how bad it really was/is.
“Yeah, I wanted to share something about the water quality because I, along with a lot of the other surfers, have been sick during the event,” they said.
“On low tide here it’s really bad. The water stinks and it’s a yucky brown colour. Everyone is out surfing trying to practice for the event, but also they’re just trying their best to keep their heads out of the filthy water!
“Where I come from, when it rains heavily, the brown dirty water flows out onto the beach, but the brown colour is just mud and natural run-off – not human poo! It’s pretty sad to see such a beautiful place so contaminated.
“I was super lucky because I only just got sick after the event. I know Sage Erickson was really sick for two days during the event, but luckily the men’s event was running and not the women’s. I think the WSL was aware of the condition of the water, and because it was so bad they had to cancel the original backup site, Sao Conrado.
“And I mean it’s such a rad comp. There were so many fans on the beach during the event; it was amazing! They are so passionate about the surfing, it would be great if they were aware of what is happening in their oceans and would try to help do something about it!”
And it sucks that the surfers of the World Tour had to compete in water that had human poo mixed into it! And it sucks even more that the people who live in Rio have to deal with that every time they want to go to the beach. But you know what sucks the most? The fact that no one seems to be doing anything about it.
We don’t want to see the World’s Best in the World’s Dirtiest come 2016, so if you can, lend a hand! Help Rio continue being friggin’ beautiful! All you’ve gotta do is tell people about what’s going on. Raise awareness! Because every little bit of pressure to make changes will help.
People don’t like swimming in poo, and the more people who know it’s happening, the less likely it is to continue. You can bank on that.